Schafer/Wolpaw: Minecraft, DayZ experiences nail the promise of games

Veteran game writers Erik Wolpaw and Tim Schafer believe titles that push player-driven experiences such as Minecraft and DayZ are the future of the general gaming medium.

Speaking at a panel in Seattle over the weekend (and passed on by Kotaku), the pair waxed poetic on what the two titles had accomplished without any trace of a driving narrative; bemoaning their own fate as game story writers in the process.

Can you have an authored story in that situation? It gets tough. I look at stories coming out of Minecraft or something like DayZ, and honestly it makes me just despair,” Wolpaw said. If I had any guts or honor, I’d leave the industry. It seems like it’s the promise of games. It’s like, ‘I have full agency. Total, total agency.’”

After assuring the room that he was kidding about the part about leaving the industry, Wolpaw added that there will always be a place for narrative-driven games–just don’t expect it to be as central as it has been.

At some point, you’re going to go into the kinda ‘artisan cheese-maker’ model. Like Tim. You’re going to be making these games that directly appeal to a [specific audience]. It may not be one of these 20 million dollar massive productions."

Double Fine’s boss was inclined to agree.

I think [player-driven experience] is maybe the promise of games. But not everybody wants the same thing from games. There are definitely people who like something carefully crafted for them, cheese or games,” Schafer said.

While Minecraft has been around longer, thus posting gaudier numbers than DayZ, both have absolutely exploded onto the scene running on the super fuel of player word-of-mouth and viral YouTube clips.

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