Quantic Dream’s David Cage and The Chinese Room’s Dan Pinchbeck have called into question comments made by filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas about games’ capacity to tell stories.
The game developers made their comments on stage at a special Sony-hosted panel on storytelling, which immediately followed the PlayStation outfit’s high profile Gamescom press conference last night.
A member of the audience asked what the panel thought of Lucas and Spielberg’s comments, made during a separate USC School of Cinematic Arts session in June this year this year, where Spielberg in particular claimed player interaction meant games had little to offer in terms of telling stories, saying "The second you get the controller something turns off in the heart, and it becomes a sport."
"I just kind of think, ‘has he ever play a game recently?’. It’s rubbish," said creative director Pinchbeck, after the audience member attributed the perspective to Lucas.
"It’s just blatantly rubbish, and the idea of a filmmaker saying ‘with interactivity you can’t tell stories’ just sounds like he’s feeling threatened. Of course you can tell stories in games. It’s garbage and I don’t know what he’s talking about."
Pinchbeck’s next game Everybody’s Gone to Rapture was confirmed as a PS4 title during the preceding Sony press conference.
A more reserved Cage, creative director and writer on Beyond: Two Souls, added that games may have a more interesting role to play in telling stories, explicitly disagreeing with Lucas.
"I tend to disagree, of course," he said of Lucas and Spielberg’s comments. "You can tell a story through gameplay, and I would even say it is even more powerful for telling stories, […] because the player can decide where he wants the story to go, and so makes the story even more interesting, because there is input, and a say in what is going on, which is not the case with films."
However, Cage did concede that game makers have much to learn about melding narrative and interactivity.
"We do need to learn," he concluded. "We are in a very young medium, and it is difficult to compare it with cinema all the time, because cinema is a century old, when we are just 30 years old or something.
"We still need to learn and discover our own language, and that language is not purely cinematography. It includes cinematography and narrative in many ways, but also we need to discover another language, what kind of words we want to use in that language, and how we want to speak it. It is all just in the making really."