Here's the thing: when developers first attempted to institute realistic emotions into video games, it was amateur-hour for quite some time. We all remember the cheesy and downright painful and although the industry has taken great strides since, I'm wondering if everything is still too one-dimensional…

As advanced as games have become, the writers still haven't managed to really push past the predictable and even cliched. Perhaps the Metal Gear Solid franchise and a few RPGs here and there are the exceptions to the rule, but considering all the technology and voice talent designers have at their disposal, I'd like to think we could explore more of the human condition through video games. At this point, it seems inevitable that games will continue to inch closer to movies in terms of realistic special effects and CGI and all that, but artistic drama will be left far behind. For my part, I expect feeling to be a part of my entertainment experiences; I've long since grown bored with new and flashier ways to blow something up. Unfortunately, this adolescent emphasis seems to have rubbed off on the video game industry.

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for technological advances, but when we have to sacrifice the emotional IQ of the characters we see on screen, the production loses a great deal of appeal in my eyes. When I go to the movie theater (which is rare these days), I want to see some substance, but I'm starting to wonder if I'll have to spend more time at stage theaters. The good news is that I've seen fantastic potential in games and I freely admit to having cried at certain video games in the past. When Aeris died…? The end of MGS3…? C'mon, if you didn't have a few tears in your eyes, you were either braindead or a robot. But how come I haven't had more experiences like this? Given the rapid rate of advancement in the industry, one would assume I would've had many, many more. Perhaps we just need better scripts. Perhaps developers need to realize that the performances are quickly becoming crucially important; almost as important as the gameplay, graphics, sound and other technical categories.

I just hope there are enough gamers out there who will reward someone who eventually produces an intensely emotional game script. Because one day, someone is gonna try and if they're not rewarded, we'll just be stuck with more over-the-top action titles and FPSs. Not that that's a bad thing, per se…I'm just saying.

Subscribe
Notify of
88 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
11 years ago

I would agree with you, but Valkyria Chronicles was amazing. I'll admit, there were a few moments i got a little teary. VC had the perfect amount of everything.
It does seem, though, that only RPGs focus on character development enough to evoke any kind of emotion.
Keep in mind that good feelings count too. Little Big Planet always leaves me with a huge grin when i'm done playing.
And as far as "over-the-top action titles" go, God of War does a good job of bringing Kratos to life during the cut scenes.
A lot of games are emotionless, or are just absolute wrecks (gta4), but the few that get it right do such a good job that i dont care.


Last edited by NoSmokingBandit on 8/14/2009 11:15:29 PM

556pineapple
556pineapple
11 years ago

I have to disagree with you just a tad. Although GTA 4 wasn't as good as it could have been in this respect, it was leaps and bounds better than any of the PS2 GTAs. Even though the gameplay got a bit boring and repetitive, it was the story that kept me going. To be honest, I still haven't finished Vice City because the story really wasn't that engaging for me.

furbiesmustdie
furbiesmustdie
11 years ago

yeah but the whole "emotion" thing needs to be used a little bit more ressponsibly. like in killzone 2 trying to make us give a crap about our generic allies. and gears of war 2 going all "wherz moi wife" on us. it's rubbish!

Nerull
Nerull
11 years ago

Completely agree, except for the MGS part. Only played 4 but the cutscenes were practically torture to sit through, not at all because of their length, but because it was the cheesiest acting I've seen in a game since shaolin monks, and that was supposed to be cheesy. Most overhyped game since Halo.
I'd love another legacy of kain though.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

Legacy of Kain?

Um…you sure you're sober?

Dridion
Dridion
11 years ago

Dude, you've only played MGS4 so I'm going to cut you some slack but this is the reason why you should NEVER jump over every other part and just play the last cause of HYPE. NEVER get caught in the hype bro. It's sad because this game is FAR from cheesy. In fact this game has a better story than most Hollywood movies and better voice acting than animes out there today. By playing the previous 3 it conditions you on what to expect. You should do it. Just saying.


Last edited by Dridion on 8/15/2009 1:38:29 AM

phantomMenace
phantomMenace
11 years ago

Sorry but I have to completely disagree with you I understand if MGS wasn't your thing but considering you have almost no backstory to it doesnt help your odds of sitting through the cutscenes. And Unless I just missed it the 5 times I have beaten the game, I don't remember the acting being bad. In fact as Ben said, it was quite good.
Though I do agree with the need for better scripting and more emotion hopefully EA has completely redone the script for Army of Two and fired the old writer who only knew three words aparently. This was one game that I could hardly stand to play.


Last edited by phantomMenace on 8/15/2009 1:44:48 AM

mackid1993
mackid1993
11 years ago

noooo, boss, snake, why????? waaaaaaah!!!!! 🙁

556pineapple
556pineapple
11 years ago

The MGS series, I believe is among the best at conveying this, although on more than one occasion the voice acting left a bit to be desired. But that doesn't matter too much because the storytelling is phenomenal.

The more emotion conveyed, the closer into the story you are drawn. If they add some real human emotion, you began to either relate to them more, or hate them more. That basic aspect of human emotion can do so much for the game. I was talking to an employee at Target when I bought Red Faction: Guerilla, and we got into a discussion about games. I mentioned MGS4, and he said "No way I'd pay that much for a movie." I shook my head and said "Really, you're missing out on a fantastic experience." Without the cut scenes, cheesy though they may be, MGS4 wouldn't have been nearly as good, imho.

Not all people are going to be impressed with character development and emotional depth, but for me, it's what separates a good game from a great game. Let's hope the industry gets better at it.


Last edited by 556pineapple on 8/14/2009 11:56:06 PM

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

Have to agree
As much as I love FFX, Thousand Arms, among others MGS far surpasses them.

Less predictable, and just more perplexing overall. Really deep stuff.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

Rpgs…
Oh how I miss them

Just imagine a REAL next-gen rpg which not only looks good, but uses technology to really show more emotion and substance in their story lines.

It would be great to have ps1-ish rpgs made in ps3 technology. It's weird how I still consider past rpgs more engaging in terms of emotions and overall substance than most current rpgs.

There's nothing like situations where characters actually have a reason to laugh, a reason to feel pain, or even affection.

That's the difference between humans and animals. When media(v-games) push our emotions there's no way you'll ever forget that game<——very important

Where here's the good news: Heavy Rain
Just hope to see more rpgs going forward

556pineapple
556pineapple
11 years ago

I am SO looking forward to Heavy Rain. I'll probably play through it 15 times to try to explore as many outcomes as possible…. well maybe not literally, but I'd like to think I will.


Last edited by 556pineapple on 8/15/2009 12:02:17 AM

The_R0gue_Ninja
The_R0gue_Ninja
11 years ago

I agree that more FPSs and over-the-top action games would give less variety to our gaming choices, but I'm sure some of those titles can pull some emotional heartstrings.

Call of Duty 4 for instance. That game's ending, even though it was simple, really stuck with me. There was a real bonding for me with Gaz and Capt. Price that no other FPS has matched.

The story of Kratos' past in the first God of War really struck me too. It wasn't so much a feeling of sadness, but of true hopelessness. No other action title has achieved that feeling.

Can anyone think of other not well known titles that have deep emotional qualities to them?

The_R0gue_Ninja
The_R0gue_Ninja
11 years ago

…… um, not that CoD4 & GoW aren't well known. 😛

sunspider13
sunspider13
11 years ago

I would have to agree that the first GoW really had that feeling of hopelessness and desperation that had me from when I pressed start.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

GoW is a roller-coaster of emotion. It's what made the game so fantastic. One moment you're grabbing a key and kicking an innocent off a boat, the next you're seeing how he lost his family … it all adds up to one wild ride.

Godslim
Godslim
11 years ago

games that made me feel an emotinal bond to them r

cod4- as rogue ninja said most would just say its only an fps but i found the ending to be emotional as i grown to luv cpt price and gaz 🙁
mgs4- obviously lol just the end of an epic journy and i always had the hope snake didnt die
FFX- absouluty epic story and so emotional
god of war

i luv the adding of a great story and making people connect with it emotionally and wish more games did it

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Yeah things have been a tad shallow so far this gen but hopefully some of the 2010 RPGs will fill in the gap.

Fatcat3788
Fatcat3788
11 years ago

All I have to say is… "The Last Guardian"

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Looking forward to it.

Kai200X
Kai200X
11 years ago

I'm a pretty emotional guy, so if there are emotions in the game, I'll get emotional too. I don't know about you guys, but when I play a game, I always become the character I play. I was pretty emotional when I play games such as MGS4, Ico and SoTC just to name a few.

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
11 years ago

i assume you will again be touched by the music and immense scale of the last guardian 🙂

with u fully on that

sunspider13
sunspider13
11 years ago

I got a small lump in my throat when I saw the trailer for The Last Gaurdian, I must admit. I hope there is a happy ending for the "a boy and his mutant dog-like-thing" story.

Kai200X
Kai200X
11 years ago

I definitely got emotional when Aeris died… you guys probably going to laugh at me, but after she died, I visit her gravesite (the lake) so many times I lost count, and when I heard there's a way you can save her, I tried my best to find out and hoping it was real… but one thing strange did happen. I went to to the church one day and I saw her picking flowers! I was so happy but I can't interact with her, so I just stand there and just watch her.

PS: I am so looking forward to The Last Guardian


Last edited by Kai200X on 8/15/2009 12:08:14 PM

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
11 years ago

i am totally with you on this Ben.

The impact of the sadly beautiful ending of MGS3 will forever stay in my head; likewise, the beatifully written dreams in Lost Odyssey had me in total obsession and ecstasy for months. However, how many these kind of games we have experienced in today's industry or in this gen? Going back, the emotions delivered by the musics and stories of Chrono Trigger, Cross, FF7 etc were never matched in today's gaming world.

Endless FPSs, endless button mashers, and to a even larger scale, the entire gaming and movie industry have gone flashier but shallower and emotionless. Such is the loss of whole generations of gamers including us.

Give 1000 points for bringing this topic up.


Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 8/15/2009 1:49:37 AM

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
11 years ago

I blame the popularity of FPS and the rise of these games with these thick armored bulk brutes like in Gears of War.

Though i do have to say i think its what is ruining Tekken,its having to much plot and in general making the characters look silly. i remember on Tekken 2, Kazuya had such a dominant atmosphere, i never felt that durning T5, in fact i found Jinpanachi or what eve hes called rediculous. i much prefered Tekken with just and intro and ending, the ambiguity left might have left space for me to fill something in or it could just be the style of the 90's being superior to nowadays.

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
11 years ago

"…I blame the popularity of FPS and the rise of these games with these thick armored bulk brutes like in Gears of War." — very well put, there is no more fitting words than wut you just wrote.

Also Tekken 2 is one of the best, so is Soul Calibur 2, GT2 etc.

P.S. If the industry stop making FPSs at all(not even one) in the entire coming year or two, i will still not miss them or beg to see them by then. The entire stock of released FPSs alone is already more than enough for this generation of consoles in my opinion. nothing further to say.


Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 8/15/2009 4:20:46 AM

LowKey
LowKey
11 years ago

I got pretty emotional when Gaz got shot. I welled up like New Orleans. but yeh, most games are really crappy when it comes to trying to catch the the player up in any emotion. I say stop trying so hard to capture emotion and base it off somethig happy or sad from your life. I believe it would come to the Devs if they just remembered how they felt at that one moment, in thier life while trying to get the game to ooze mushyness.

___________
___________
11 years ago

i think im emotional enough thank you.
you dont want to know how many DS3 controllers ive broken, and 1 guitar hero guitar.
in fact the only thing i havent broken is my TV…… im surprised its lasted this long.

ed_winchester
ed_winchester
11 years ago

Ben you my friend are an idiot. It may be hard to beleive but not everybody has completed Final Fantasy 7 and I for one have managed to stay away from any and all spoilers. Thanks for just throwing it out there without a heads up

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Shut it. If someone hasn't played FFVII by NOW, they have no INTENTION Of playing it.

And if that's the only comment you can make based on that entire piece, don't bother next time.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

Yeah, BIG FF fan there just got blindsided by an article about emotion. Hasn't played FF7 and hasn't seen FFAC. Maybe he should spend more time playing games than commenting on a news site?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Yeah, seriously dude that cat is out of the bag, I am skeptical that you didn't know as well, I think you just wanted to be a douche.

ed_winchester
ed_winchester
11 years ago

@Ben, apologies for the name name-calling, I realise it was a bit harsh
@alienange, so Im not a die-hard FF fan, get over yourself
@World, I usually like what you have to say, but do you really find that so hard to believe? I genuinely didnt know. FFX was my first FF game and I like a lot of people I know are currently playing through 7 for the first time since it was released on PSN.
I realise Im speaking to the wrong crowd because I know theres a lot of RPG fans on here but each to their own

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
11 years ago

We need a mix of both. Too much non-stop killing desensitizes the human mind, from what we're actually doing. This is not to say that they don't have their place, however, I do like a game that can make me feel. MGS4 is a GREAT example Ben. That was the first time I'd ever played an MGS game, and I frickin cried at the end. No bullshit. And it's good to get sucked into a storyline like that every once and awhile. No matter how long the game is, having that effect on you, really is a testament to the ability of the designers.

Bugzbunny109
Bugzbunny109
11 years ago

"crying is okay here". Really? I have so much to cry about. Where do I start? XD

Sir Shak
Sir Shak
11 years ago

Go to David Jaffe's blog and read the latest post . It's called " You can't teach a dog to sing " . I agree with him to quite an extent about emotions in gaming .

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I read it. Dave is the MAN but he and I disagree about certain things.

psxmax
psxmax
11 years ago

Games are missing emotion because Sony removed the Emotion Chip. j/k

FFVII was emotional, especially when Sephiroth killed Aeris.

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
11 years ago

"Games are missing emotion because Sony removed the Emotion Chip". LOL thats funny, but maybe there is some truth to it. 😉


Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 8/15/2009 2:12:23 PM

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
11 years ago

Silent Hill 2 is the most emotional game in history. Nothing has come close since.

It is the most geniusly thought out storyline in game history and tops that of most cinema, im sure those who have experienced it will concur.

From music to cam shots to motion capture, Silent Hill 2 is the ultimate in emotional experiences in game.

The only "problem" was that it went over most heads, it was one for the more art-house lovers, not one expecting a straight forward plot.

So, yes, i think we do as it was the emotion in certain games that turned me into a hardcore gamer and will have people looking at "games" in a more mature way.

We peaked a long time ago though, we have yet to deliver a more emotional game than 2001s masterpiece and Heavy Rain has me excited….even though it would be criminal to compare it to Silent Hill 2….i should give Heavy Rain and all following games the benefit of not expecting another ground breaking art piece.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I played SH2 and while it was good for a standard action game in terms of emotion, it really can't touch many RPGs I've played. I'm assuming you don't play RPGs…?

If not, and the story in SH2 really took you, I suggest you start. 😉

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
11 years ago

*MAJOR SPOILERS FOR SILENT HILL 2 IN THIS POST*

RPG is my fave genre.

my most wanted game is WKC.

Ive played all major RPGs from beginning to end.

Not one is on the level of Silent Hill 2. (a none action game btw, it was made as an experience)

Silent Hill 2 is different that's why, but strongest on all points.

It was things like discovering Angela was a victim of incestuous child molestation through symbolic references i.e. her dad being the shape of a bed with a disgusting dark blanket over it and a figure that bobs up and down and the fact that this Angela's dad/creature is found in a room which looks like flesh with holes in the walls…and a cylinder type object going in and out of them (did i just say that?), just before you enter this room, Angela screams for her daddy to stop something, or like the scene on the fiery stairs in her "house" and there's a picture on the wall of a configured female body with blood coming from the crotch section, all the while she's crying and calling you her momma….and she is not the least bit surprised you can see the fire on the stairs surrounding her too…confirming the worst for the player (if you followed the plot to this point).
She then slowly trots up the stairs through the flames.

Here's the video to that scene:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyaLoaUbExk

Look at the way its shot, the character dialogue and how its spoken (almost monotone, dreamy, as if they are drugged, as if darkness doesn't scare them…ala David Lynch), listen to the beautiful and discomforting music, feel the pace and pay attention to the scenery.

One of the most astounding scenes in game history….if you understand it. The game is loaded with it all and i have never seen anything as well thought out and as clever as it.

…and don't get me started on the ending and the shocking realisation….again, never been topped.

it was a perfect example of art in game and character development and personal discovery.
The other Silent Hill games (1-4…please ignore the butchered american versions Origins and Homecoming)) were done in similar ways but, 2 was different…a tragic love story told in a unique and beautiful way.

RPGs are the next best thing but, it will mostly be straight forward and generic. Character development is where its strong point is.

Not one other game compared to Silent Hill 2s emotional impact.

As a side note, why this game escaped censorship is beyond me….may be because…well, people may not get it! lol

I understand why some wouldn't get it of course, its just like a David Lynch film…


Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 8/15/2009 12:01:48 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I guess. I think you're reading a lot more into SH2 than what was actually there, but whatever. In no way can SH2 compete with certain scripts I've seen for the best RPGs, although "emotion" is a very subjective thing.

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
11 years ago

Im not. The plot to Silent Hill 2, even though still being analysed to this day, has mostly been figured out with members of the team confirming a lot of it as they frequented the Silent Hill forums.

ive edited the previous post but, the point is very clear, Silent Hill 2 is to me, yet to be topped but, as you said though, it's all subjective.

Btw, look at the comments to the video link i have posted above, anybody, They share my view very strongly.


Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 8/15/2009 12:13:50 PM

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
11 years ago

Oh Silent Hill can definatly match the quality of story/plot and characters from RPGS, Silent Hill 2 was by far one of the best games last gen, probaly one of the only games that terrifies, sometimes i have to stop play because i makes me feel depressed lol.

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
11 years ago

*MAJOR SPOILERS FOR SILENT HILL 2 IN THIS POST*

Absolutely Ultima.

The "game" looks at the darkness of mankind, the darkness in everyone's hearts…the sub-conscious mind.

There are so many points i could make to point out its genius…again on Angela, she is only around 17 in the game but, they made her look much older to symbolise her mentality due to childhood rape. (Im refraining from talking about the main plot of the main character because it really is INCREDIBLE and those who don't know of it should check it out one day).
Silent Hill has the ability to make the grotesque and macabre beautiful.

James has to be the most interesting main character for a game i mean, its entirely plausible that all of the characters in Silent Hill 2 are different aspects of James' personality. Angela is his emotional torment for what he did to Mary, Eddie is his anger and frustration, and Laura is his innocence. Laura was the most vital character for James in the end, because she held the truth of everything.

Its things like this that i have spoken about TOO much in these posts lol that just seal it for me.

Whilst the game is very beautiful, it's also very grotesque and shows the worst of human kind. This is why I absolutely love it though, it is just so emotional.


Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 8/15/2009 12:39:20 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

But that's my point. Because emotion is so subjective, it all depends in how you view SH2. The writing is hardly impressive in the slightest, and that's really the only objective part of a story.

If it gets to you, great. But beyond certain choreography and a mood setting, there isn't much of anything there that I would consider to be professional in terms of plot. The viewer is left with a lot of theories and possibilities, but that's not necessarily a good thing ALL the time. I loved SH2; don't get me wrong. Its theme and attitude is awesome. But I'm not about to say it's memorable because I honestly don't remember what happened.

On the flip side, certain RPGs (and I won't name them) remain forever branded in my brain.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 8/15/2009 12:41:08 PM

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
11 years ago

well ben, thats because simply, you didn't understand it and you prefer the more straight forward (not a bad thing).

But, this does what a David Lynch film does, would you dare say the same about that?

Silent Hill 2 is the most well thought out story in game. Everything else feels a tad lazy compared to it…bar some.

This is backed up by, not only game critics but, many outside have expressed love and admiration for it too such as movie director Del Torro of Panz Labyrinth and Hellboy fame.

For me and many others, its the most memorable game ever and certain scenes will haunt me to this day. Its hugely inspirational.

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
11 years ago

while SH2 is the best in its series, it does not even come close to some of the less emotional RPGs (they are still quite emotional nonetheless), let alone compete with the ending of MGS3 or the script in Lost Odyssey, which are some of the most emotional ones you can find in video games, just to name a few.


Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 8/15/2009 2:19:54 PM