Disclaimer: I've played all the Gears of War games and I've enjoyed them all, even though I think Judgment definitely slipped.

I will also add that most of Cliff Bleszinski's observations on The Order: 1886 as said during his recent Twitch gaming session are perfectly valid.

That all being said, I'm sorry, but someone needs to stand up and admit that as a community and really, as a species, our attention spans have been shot to sh**. It's why camera angles in any given movie can't sit still for more than three consecutive seconds and honestly, one of the reasons we don't really see lengthy cut-scenes anymore. Yes, I get it; advanced technology means we don't necessarily have to tell a story with long non-interactive scenes. But that's hardly the only the reason they've started to disappear, nor is it the only reason people bash them so insistently.

It's simply because most gamers can't seem to sit still for a two-minute break. It's because unless they're pressing buttons, they're bored. It's the instant gratification, everyone staring at a smartphone as if it's a religion, constantly connected lifestyle that I just freakin' despise these days. So, I'm not overly surprised when I hear CliffyB say things like this:

"I just can’t do all the cutscenes guys. Call me jaded. I’ll probably go back to it, give it a go. A lot of people really worked their ass off, and I hope I didn’t offend anybody with my commentary here. I just had a little bit of fun with it, and don’t punch me in the nuts at GDC if you see me."

He also said the QTEs are too much and that while the graphics are great, he thinks the money could've been better spent so the consumer gets more bang for his buck. As I said above, these are perfectly valid. But the fact that you can't do the cut-scenes doesn't mean you're "jaded;" it just means you seem to have zero attention span. Like, none. It tells me that if you had to sit through long, meaningful dialogue scenes in movies, you'd be fidgety or bored.

Nobody's going to punch him in the nuts at GDC. I'd just like someone to admit that a game's so-called flaw might be more of a flaw in the individual, in their inability to simply sit patiently and watch a story unfold. That's what I'd like to see. No big deal; just admit it.

P.S. My review of The Order: 1886 is coming soon. No, it's not a great game. Just putting that out there.

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bigrailer19
bigrailer19
5 years ago

I'd punch "Cliffy B" in the nuts at GDC if I seen him. I cant stand the things the guy says. Makes good games though.


Last edited by bigrailer19 on 2/20/2015 9:58:45 PM

matt99
matt99
5 years ago

While I think you're right about people's attention spans these days I'd just like to point out that shot length in movies has nothing to do with attention spans. The story is told as much through editing as any other element in filmmaking and shot length is just one of the many storytelling tools an editor has.

Edit: I realize that has nothing to do with gaming, but my early impressions with the order are wow that looks amazing! but I am quickly getting the feeling that it's a shiny shell with a hollow centre.


Last edited by matt99 on 2/20/2015 10:06:54 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

"I'd just like to point out that shot length in movies has nothing to do with attention spans."

Absolute baloney. It has everything to do with it. If you're right, it's the ONLY storytelling tool that's being used, and why wasn't it used 60, 70 years ago? Just because they couldn't? No, because people could sit still for two seconds. It's not even a tool for telling a story; it's a tool for keeping people's ATTENTION.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 2/20/2015 10:14:23 PM

matt99
matt99
5 years ago

…It was used, look up a famous documentary called "Berlin: Symphony of a Great City" from 1927 which is considered one of the best examples of editing and cinematography in early cinema, or Sergei Eisenstein's montage theory, or read about how D.W. Griffith revolutionized editing as a storytelling technique in the early 20s using (among many other techniques) fast cuts.
Also shot length ABSOLUTELY is a storytelling tool, any filmmaker will tell you so. Look at Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1960) which is widely considered to be one of the best movies of all time and its most famous scene is also perhaps the most famous example of fast cuts. Filmmakers don't arbitrarily choose when to make a cut, they purposefully choose the exact frame to make a cut. I mean you can write whole essays on shot length and its impact on the story.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
5 years ago

Birdman is a great example of long shots being used to help tell a story. The editing done in this aspect will most likely earn the movie at least one Oscar on Sunday.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

What are you talking about? I'm referring only to the amount of time a shot stays in one spot. Not distance or anything else.

And studies have been done on this constantly. The reason the camera has to keep cutting away and showing something else is the same reason commercials have to keep moving, the same reason a book can't have too much dialogue; everyone trying to sell an entertainment product today knows full well that we are an attention-addled society. There's only one way to sell something to a mass audience right now.

Beamboom
Beamboom
5 years ago

a lenghty, continious shot is called a "long shot", Ben. Listening to you talk about movie is like listening to my grandmother explaining what computer games are. :O)

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
5 years ago

I've seen birdman and played the order so I'd just like to say The Order is birdman.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

Just because I misinterpreted what he was talking about doesn't change the studies that I've read. Ask anyone in film school right now what the directive is to keep a viewer's attention. It's not dissimilar to the directive digital content producers have right now: Shorter and punchier, and the headline matters far more than the text, as the overwhelming majority never even read the text.

matt99
matt99
5 years ago

Ben, I am in film school and that's not what they teach us.

Fabi
Fabi
5 years ago

Haha, Ben getting wrecked left and right.

Ben, you're a good dude and I enjoy your articles but sometimes you can be a bit of a bully because it's your site.

I know you're on the edge when it comes to people trolling, since I'm sure you've dealt with many of them, but you really need to chill and not treat everyone like only your view is valid.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

I didn't say it's what they taught you. As my nephew said, it wasn't exactly a course. It's what's talked about quite a bit, however, or so I was told.

matt99
matt99
5 years ago

Of course they tell you you need to keep your audience's attention, it's just like any other form of entertainment where you want to create something interesting. However, they teach us to do this by using every element of filmmaking to tell the story. And what they teach us specifically about shot length is the emotional effect it has, and how you can use this to tell your story. That's what they teach us at my school anyways, perhaps your nephew was taught differently.

Also just to clarify, I'm not denying that society's attention span as a whole is getting shorter. It clearly is, and there are loads of examples and studies as you say that prove this. My only point is about movies, and as a film student I wanted to defend the importance of editing.


Last edited by matt99 on 2/21/2015 5:54:51 PM

Caanimal
Caanimal
5 years ago

I have to agree w/ Ben on this one, I know I don't post much but he IS right. Movies, TV show, Video games, commercials, books, EVERYTHING that is designed to keep the attention of it's target audience has gone to quick cut scenes so people don't get "bored" and move onto something else. That IS how it is, PERIOD.

Editing is a tool, one of MANY that is used to tell a story, but it's NOT the ONLY tool like some editors/producers/whatevers THINK it is. I can sit perfectly fine through a 5 minute scene, as long as the ACTUALLY STORY is good, I don't need a new angle every 3 seconds going over the same scene, I actually find it quite annoying when TV shows do that, and I have turned off programs that do that. The attention span of most people is almost nothing anymore, that's why when reviewers or others comment about "cut scenes were too long" I usually ignore their other comments, if you can't sit still for 5 minutes then something is wrong w/ YOU, not w/ the movie/tv show/video game.

Temjin001
Temjin001
5 years ago

It's hard to watch some of them Bourne Identity movies because they're entirely shot with a hand cam.

EDIT: the only reason I really know, is because a friend of mine shoots film for a living. He told me that and so now every time I watch them it drives me nuts because the camera is always moving.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 2/20/2015 10:38:49 PM

SaiyanSenpai
SaiyanSenpai
5 years ago

Couldn't agree more. Never have I wanted to scream at the cameraman more than the second and third Bourne movies. I couldn't tell wtf was going on half the time because the camera was moving around so darn much! That cameraman (and director) should be banned from the industry forever.

JackDillinger89
JackDillinger89
5 years ago

Nothing wrong with lengthy cutscenes if im into the story but should have strong gameplay along with it like the mgs series.

Voyager236
Voyager236
5 years ago

Cutscenes are not a problem, if they are there for a reason, if there is a reasonable context to put them in a game. But, The Order does not permit the player even to cut them while playing the game. Sounds like RaD's knew that the game was short and cut them would make the player to finish it in less than 3 hours. They knew what they were doing.


Last edited by Voyager236 on 2/20/2015 11:23:09 PM

FAREEZ
FAREEZ
5 years ago

The order cutscenes is just plain boring, but it's look amazing almost movie like. Probably they should just make cgi movie rather than video game…

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

You need to stop talking as if you've played it. Everyone does.

And if you're worried about cut-scenes you can't skip the first time you play a game, you're a perfect example for the article here.

DemonNeno
DemonNeno
5 years ago

That's one of the most idiotic thing I've ever read. What the hell is the point of cutting the cutscenes when you're playing the game? The idea is that you're paying attention to what's going on. Not doing so would imply that you don't care about the story of a game that's all about it.

Sounds to me like you need CoD like something fierce.

Voyager236
Voyager236
5 years ago

"What the hell is the point of cutting the cutscenes when you're playing the game?"

Why can't I have this choice, even in my second playthrough? That's my point.

Even Asura's Wrath gave this option.


Last edited by Voyager236 on 2/21/2015 10:57:24 AM

Voyager236
Voyager236
5 years ago

For Ben, yes I played the game.

DemonNeno
DemonNeno
5 years ago

The point of it is the story. Do you skip through a good chunk of movies that you watch because you've seen it before? That's the point. It's meant to be as essential as the game play. Cinematic. Hell, even a book is the same isn't it? Do you skip through a few chapters after your first read just because you read it? The developer didn't exclude the option to torment you. It's their way of saying "hey, this is important! Watch, listen, and understand".

I'm sure all the complaints about skipping cutscenes will result in RaD patching that option into it. I'm guessing you'll be part of the herd complaining about how short it is after what you originally complained about comes true.

I just can't understand why you WANT to skip the cutscenes. Why not play something that isn't heavily influenced by its story and movies?

SaiyanSenpai
SaiyanSenpai
5 years ago

I really don't understand why people don't like cut scenes. The Fools.

I guess I'll never get that Xenosaga HD remaster…

Voyager236
Voyager236
5 years ago

Xenosaga was my favorite RPG on PS2 and in the game there was exploration, including side quest missions. This is an unfortunate comparison.

xenris
xenris
5 years ago

I played the order for about 2 hours tonight and I am enjoying it.

It is a good game, not a great but it is totally solid.

Don't know how he has such a problem sitting through the cutscenes I find them interesting, I like the world they have created here.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
5 years ago

He is a tool, that's why.

matt99
matt99
5 years ago

Plus the graphics are so incredible I don't get how you could get bored of looking at that.

Jawknee
Jawknee
5 years ago

"He is a tool, that's why."

This.

wambo
wambo
5 years ago

I've also played the order 1886 for a few hours, i'm with xenris, the cut secenes don't bother me either, i quite like games with them, also got to add , ilike the world ready at dawn have created for this game, the graphics are flipping insane aswell, they are just incredible.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
5 years ago

I don't have an issue with cutscenes as long as there is gameplay to back it up. It appears the issue with this game is balance between "non gaming" and "gaming" length.

Temjin001
Temjin001
5 years ago

My take is that if a game is going to make you watch a lot of narrative driven scenes then the narrative needs to be strong. Games like MGS, TLoU, and HR are all really good at story telling. Games like Ninja Gaiden are not good at it. That's okay. The game doesn't force you to watch mediocre story telling for lengthy amounts of time. The story is basically there only to set the stage for why you're now hacking demons in a jungle instead of the city.

But if something like Order has over half of its time spent watching it rather than playing it, the watching had better be damn good or its to its own determent. Especially if the game doesn't present enough game play content to justify several play throughs and its $60 price of admission.

Edit: If a game thinks itself so good that about 6 hours of content is worth $60 it had better be the best dang 6 hours of gaming you've had in a long time. End of story.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 2/21/2015 2:43:08 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
5 years ago

it is strong with this one

Rachet_JC_FTW
Rachet_JC_FTW
5 years ago

well thats a little disappointing coming from you but i'll wait and see what u have to say in more tail. but yeah i have to agree peoples attention spans have curtailed to the point that is well actually almost well not even funny anymore to laugh at it is just stupid. but whatever i just don't know how this is all going over in a general picutre view

happy gaming

deadline
deadline
5 years ago

You mean my iPhone is NOT a religion???

Broady
Broady
5 years ago

would like to see a current reaction to MGS4's cut scenes… longest one is over 25mins – wonder if the idiot mentioned in the article would complain about the game because of that

Beamboom
Beamboom
5 years ago

The way I see it, this is not about attention span at all. It's about how a medium has changed, and the usage changed with it.

When people can sit focused 100% on their task for hours straight in games like DOTA2 or Mindcraft, there's nothing wrong with their attention span at all. Or when people sit down to see The Hobbit movies for 3+ hours straight, they are disappointed when the credits roll that it didn't last longer.

But when gamers start a game today, they do so with the motivation to DO something. They are motivated to participate – it's why they did this instead of turning on Netflix or whatever.
It's the mindset when entering that activity that matters.

Temjin001
Temjin001
5 years ago

There's a definte difference in how the mind functions between reading a book and playing a game like dota2.

xenris
xenris
5 years ago

^ Your mind isn't allowed to stop when you are playing Dota2.

But I get what you are trying to say Beam.

Beamboom
Beamboom
5 years ago

I don't understand your point Temjin? But of course reading require attention span too – all things that require focus do.

I talk about attention span, ie the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted.


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/21/2015 11:00:43 AM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

"When people can sit focused 100% on their task for hours straight in games like DOTA2 or Mindcraft, there's nothing wrong with their attention span at all."

You don't understand what an attention span is. These people are constantly being stimulated. It's actually why those with ADD can sit and play a game for hours; it's because they're not being tasked with doing anything that requires any real brain work. The more cerebral the game is – like a tough puzzler – the less amount of time they can spend with it.

Trust me, Beam, it's an attention problem. The entire world suffers from it right now, as any psychologist will tell you.

Beamboom
Beamboom
5 years ago

Attention span IS the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted. It's the very definition of attention span.

If you are unable to spend longer periods focused on one thing even if you *want* to, you got a problem with your attention span.
If you need to sit on your phone, browse through a magazine and talk with friends while you watch a movie you want to see, you got attention span problems. If you can't keep playing a game without also listening to music, have a buddy on Skype chatting about the weather, all while you eat, then there's a serious problem with attention span.

But you're not suffering from a mental illness just by being bored. If the puzzle don't interest you, you find the movie boring or a book dull, your mind naturally wanders off.
If you feel no motivation for doing it, you don't *want* to do it, there are no reward in it for you, then you're likely to grow tired of it long before you're done with it.
That's not attention span problems – that's natural.

No serious psychologist will tell me the entire world suffers from one thing. You'll need to be a gaming journalist for a small US website to make such categoric and bold claims. :p


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/21/2015 12:55:53 PM

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

"You don't understand what an attention span is."

Yeah, he does, which is why he was able to give you the textbook definition of what an attention span is and then provide a perfect example of it.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

You can think what you want.

Fabi
Fabi
5 years ago

Trust me Beam, I have talked to every psychologist in the world about this.

😀

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

I haven't read any of your comments in entirety, but I will say the one thing I agree with is that any psychologist will tell you there's an attention issue epidemic. Entire conferences are run on the topic every single year basically everywhere. Google search some keywords related to the issue, and you will have no shortage of materials, journals, and special conferences/webinars to sign up for.

We're in an extremely connected, instant entertainment society now. It's an excellent thing in regards to ease of communication, information accessibility, commerce, and lots of other aspects of society. But with what is essentially a new world and unexplored frontier, comes new developing mental health issues.

You can argue about whether or not you think it applies to gaming (hint: it very likely does), but you can't deny that we have new issues related to attention that we didn't used to have.

Beamboom
Beamboom
5 years ago

Oh there's changes in the society indeed, Underdog. I'm just not so sure if it is all negative.

Kids people today are exposed to enormously more information of all kinds than we were just ONE generation ago. We need only go back to when I was a teenager in the 80s, to see an entirely different world.

Things were moving much, much slower just those few decades ago. We had essentially one television channel and two radio channels in the early 80s. There were programs for kids maybe 30 minutes a day. No daytime television at all.

When we wanted to communicate, we had to walk to each others houses and do so. Phone were an expensive thing, we could not just sit on the phone all day, and then only with one person at a time.
That's just three decades ago.

Today, the young ones brains are extremely much more trained to tackle impressions. They got whatever tv show they want to watch available on demand. They can never ever be able to see all the kids programs offered. They got all their buddies a button press away on their phone, via 3-4 different channels, often all at once if they feel like it.

There's also a continuous evolution going on in the different medias, both to reflect this, technological advances and the fact that they get getter at their craft: Better at directing, better at effects, audio, better at making us go "wow" over and over.
It's not like they didn't *try* to do that decades ago, it was only that we, mankind, was so much easier to impress back then. One or two "wow" moments during an entire action movie would make us talk for weeks.

So yes, there's massive changes going on. And of course, there's plenty of doomsday prophets going around as there are with *any* change ever.
I just don't believe it's necessarily all wrong. I don't buy the doomsday prophesies.

When I look at my colleagues at work (I'm the oldest there) I see young people with an massive mental capacity. They are just so drilled on handling massive amounts of input, they do it with ease. And they CAN focus on one task, they have no problem with that at all. They just are able to maintain big theoretical models in their head and do massive logical conclusions (I'm working at a software dev firm) on a scale I dare claim we were not able to when I was a teen. We just had not the pre-requisitions to do so.

So I'm thinking, so what if kids today get bored by the slow paced movies from a hundred years ago? It just means nothing other than that times have changed.


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/22/2015 4:33:52 AM

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

I didn't say it was all negative.

That's why I said, "It's an excellent thing in regards to ease of communication, information accessibility, commerce, and lots of other aspects of society." I then pointed out that with new good, comes new bad that has yet to been effectively dealt with.

That's twice you've been made foolish this week from not reading, but responding. 😉


Last edited by Underdog15 on 2/22/2015 7:31:00 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
5 years ago

No I did read your full text this time Underdog, and did notice your quote there. In my introduction I said I agree with you and then basically just continued from there, sort of. 🙂

I meant the "not so sure it's all negative" as a general comment, not directly as a reply to you. Like, I do agree we've changed (as those who are only negative to those changes insist we have) and I do agree that has some consequences in regards to how we perceive old entertainment today. I just don't see it as a negative.

In fact, I'd see it as straight up irrational to think we should be able to enjoy 100 year old entertainment as they did back when it was new. That's completely unrealistic for a long range of reasons, including social, cultural and linguistic reasons.


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/22/2015 12:25:09 PM