David Cage Discusses Video Games As A Storytelling Medium
Director of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls sounds off.
Say what you will about David Cage (and personally, I rarely have good things to say about him), but at least the man dares to think beyond the conventional bounds of storytelling in video games, and video games as a medium of storytelling in general.
In a new interview, he discussed just that- the potential of video games as a means to tell stories.
At the moment, we use video games as a toy, but they have the potential to be meaningful,” he said, in a statement that flies in the face of how, for example, Nintendo perceives games.
“By far, video games are the most fascinating medium that mankind has ever created. They have the power to make you think in ways that films and books have not achieved,” he added.
“So my goal over the past years has been to develop a new approach to narrative,” he continued. “Instead of thinking of a 2D script, like a film, which moves through just time and space, I’ve tried to develop a 3D script that operates through time, space, and interactivity.”
“I try to provide interesting interactive experiences and at the same time learn how to make them better,” Cage added. “Even if it means being some kind of alien to the game industry. I want to experiment and try new ideas. I have criticisms of myself, things that I wish I could have done differently or better, but I rarely have regrets. I’m trying to understand this new language we have to tell interactive stories.”
“See, our industry has defined interactivity as performing physical actions, like shooting or jumping, in loops. So, for many people, my games are not real video games because they don’t fit into this restrictive idea of interactivity. My characters don’t carry guns or shoot every person they meet,” Cage said. “They lead normal lives and do mundane things. They have emotions and relationships. This, to me, is what interactivity is about–creating real empathy between a player and their character. But games are a conservative industry. It’s hard to convince hardcore players to accept these new kinds of interactivity.”
“My opinion is that we have nothing in games that gets anywhere near to a good film in terms of narrative or characterization. Games focus on simple themes and target a teenage audience,” Cage said. “They could become meaningful. They could have the power to move a larger audience. But it would take new paradigms, a shift to privileging meaning over action and a lot more power given to talented people for that to happen,” he concluded.
Honestly, more power to him for having his own opinions on what games are and should be, and for working towards that ideal, but I honestly cannot say I agree with him or his definitions. But hey, the man is entitled to his opinions, if nothing else. No matter how wrong I may think they might be.