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Gamasutra - Levine on Integrated VS Parallel Storytelling

by Magerette, 2008-04-28 17:08:14

Gamasutra has a quick summary of some thoughts from a larger interview with Bioshock's creator, Ken Levine, on the narrative process in games, and how integrated storytelling does a better job than the cut-scene method of parallel presentation:

"The meta-question on narrative is, are we going toward this parallel model, which is "game, cutscene, game, cutscene, game"? Because it's a bit odd, if you think about it. It's an artifact from when our world was simple.

I talked about wheat and chaff [at Levine's recent GDC talk] -- when we could only render the wheat. The cutscenes take up a lot of chaff space, because of storytelling stuff and little details and subtle emotions."

In the full version  of the article, Levine talks about factors influencing story in Bioshock, with emphasis on what game narrative can take from film other than the cutscene: 

You're talking about how the concept of the unreliable narrator is prevalent in film, but you're talking about how our medium has to have its own forms of storytelling. Rather than taking cinematic techniques from film, do you think that you could take concepts? You're talking about mise en scene as well.

KL: Mise en scene, the unreliable narrator... all these things we take out of film. ... Not direct content, but concepts.

What I'm more saying is, if you don't want to do traditional cinematics, what can you take from film?

KL: Well, storytelling techniques, like the ones I've been describing. The element of mystery. They leverage mystery... games have a very sort of nerdy way of having to explain everything to people. Mystery can be your friend. I've talked about Cloverfield being Godzilla minus information. It reinvented a genre ...


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