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January 12th, 2009, 14:53
I think there are two reasons that you see so little in terms of story depth and breadth:

1) I read Swords and Circuitry a while back, and the author (granted this is the guy that made Dungeon Siege, but he also made Betrayal at Krondor as well) made the point that a lot of big game companies tend to view writing as just something you slap in after the engine and graphics are done (reminds me of that sprite commercial where they are doing all the marketing for a Gian Slug movie before they even have a script). He put it that a lot of people in the industry view game writers merely as disgruntled novelists.

2) The amount of time and money it goes into making better and better graphics is staggering. A different medium, but I watched the extras on Revenge of The Sith a while back and I was absolutely amazed at how many people it took to make the all the special effects in the Anikan/Obi-wan duel. We're literally talking HUNDREDS of people over months at the end of the day, for a scene that lasted 10 minutes. With the amount of focus put on graphics in computer games, and the time and resources it takes to achieve them, you don't have much budget left for the story guys.

This is one of the reasons I've become much more interested in games that use legacy or existing technologies. Seems like they cut the corners there so that they have more room in the budget for the story.

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