While not everyone believes video games should strive to depict complicated issues like deep human emotion and intricate character development, some developers see it as a worthy challenge.

Tomb Raider global brand manager Karl Stewart believes in a similar artistic progression that other designers like Quantic Dream's David Cage embraces. And as Stewart told IncGamers , the gaming industry is "on the cusp of something exciting" and we're inclined to agree.

"I think it’s a challenge [to include emotion], because the player has control of the character. You watch movies and TV shows and you see that range of emotions played out countless times and it’s fine. I think we’re at the cusp of something exciting right now. You’re seeing in lots of videogame franchises really deep narratives and we’re starting to highlight and challenge serious topics. It’s a really exciting time for the medium."

As for the team's upcoming project, the highly anticipated Tomb Raider reboot, Stewart says they want to take players "on a journey of breaking [Lara] down and then building her back up again." It's all about creating and maintaining a bond between the gamer and the character so that when the time comes, after you've "really experienced" that connection, you'll say, "that was amazing."

There are some who believe gaming is the wrong venue for strong emotion and things like that, and the industry should just steer clear of such issues. Personally, I just call that voluntary ignorance and stagnation; it's not like the mindlessly fun games will ever disappear, anyway, so we might as well try to progress in other areas, too.

Related Game(s): Tomb Raider

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TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

Did people like Karl Stewart just never bother to play games with deep characterization and story lines before? I mean seriously, if a game like FFVII with the graphics it has at it's disposal can move people as strongly as it did with the death of Aerith (to name but one example of many); we should not now be talking about portraying deep emotion or connection with character as if it's something brand new.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 8/27/2012 9:59:14 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Aeris > Aerith

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

Aeris = Aerith

😛

duomaxwell007
duomaxwell007
8 years ago

correct me if im wrong but if a game can make you cry then doesnt that already mean its achieved A Singular Player/Character Bond?

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

No correction necessary says the person that cries when Aerith dies and still won't play the rest of the game…and is, strangely, proud of that now.

duomaxwell007
duomaxwell007
8 years ago

umm even now you wont ply the rest of the game? lol.. i had no problem playing the rest.. its called getting revenge on the bastard that killed her lol

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

I know. I don't honestly know why, but I literally lose interest in completing the game after that event. I feel the desire for revenge, but my heart's just not in it.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Boy you really screwed yourself Highlander

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

LOL! so be it.

duomaxwell007
duomaxwell007
8 years ago

its a good thing KOS MOS didnt die then… he probably woulda had a heart attack :p

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Especially if she came back later in a meaninfgul way and he missed it. Hypothetically of course.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

KOS-MOS does get disassembled after being dismembered by T-elos IIRC early in Xenosaga 3, but of course Shion and Allen rebuild her with assistance and the result is more than Winnecot or Wilhelm expected.

Worlds, it's not going to work you know, that ship sailed a long time ago for me, it's just not gonna happen.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

I know, I just like to stick it to people. Hey what if there's a remake?

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
8 years ago

There have already been many emotive pieces within the gaming industry. As already mentioned, this is not something new. Sure, now we have the graphics capability to depict facial animation (L.A. Noire deserves it's recognition for this.) but that doesn't make drama & emotion absent before this gen. Saying that, I will not be opposed to seeing something as powerful as a cinematic moment from lets say Vertigo – Scotty's expression as he watches Madeline walk through the green city light is utterly remarkable.

Highlanders example of FFVII says it all really. That sequence alone clearly struck a chord with gamers around the world. The use of the FMV, the score then the dialogue to where Cloud holds Aerith in his arms is very upsetting. It seems JRPG's captured the narrative far before of gaming genre's even acknowledged it. By the time they did, the graphics became so strong that narrative wasn't enough and the phase of replicating cinematic action took over, which is probably why modern gamers cannot put up with traditional JRPG's.

In any case, I am excited for this new TOMB RAIDER, While I appreciated them for being a Playstation staple in gaming, I never took much interest in them. But the new realistic approach to Lara's condition makes it more appealing to me. It seems like she is really going to struggle in through out this game instead of climbing up ledges doing cartwheels…

Comic Shaman
Comic Shaman
8 years ago

>sigh<

I mean it's lovely and all that graphics are improving, don't get me wrong. I'm all for it.

But good graphics are not, and never have been necessary, for deep emotional engagement. Nor are they needed for good narrative.

Forget talking about older video games for a second. Have you ever been emotionally engaged by a book? You know, those things that have no graphics at all? Yeah.

Higher fidelity graphics will not make you a better storyteller, game developers. If you didn't know how to tell an emotionally engaging story before you got your mitts on the latest game engine, that's not going to change.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Relax guys, of course it has been done before but with the newest technology I think it's possible to do on levels we never dreamed of before. I agree the former Final Fantasies have been capable of amazing connections but if you add to that some characters on screen that require less suspension of disbelief and also the responsibility that comes with consequences for your own decisions I think it elevates this gaming direction to a whole new level.

It looks like Quantic Dream is starting to have an affect on other studios.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 8/27/2012 12:08:03 PM

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

There's been several games over the years that's featured emotional scenes, but they've almost exclusively taken place during cutscenes.

What he talk about here is how to express emotion during the actual gameplay, hence he's saying "because the player has control over the character".
And it's hard to argue against that. It's quite the challenge to bridge that gap. The only games I can think of from the top of my head where emotion were incorporated into the gameplay on this level is the recent titles Heavy Rain and especially LA Noire, where it was part of the very game mechanics itself.

And it pleases me to no end that the industry now seem to be hellbent on bridging that gap!
There is something unintentionally comical about watching your character slaying enemies in fancy poses like there's no tomorrow and then a cutscene kicks in where he experience an emotional breakdown over a dead bird or something.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/27/2012 12:13:50 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

The specific moment takes place in a cut scene, but the bond with the character develops through the game and dialog and story.

To use another example from FVII, when Aeris and Tifa are infiltrating Don Corneo's hideout, I can't be the only player that felt a certain sense of urgency to save the one chose from the clutches of the Don. Emotional attachments to characters form during game play. The use of a custscene to handle a specific and powerful scene does not change that fact that it's a game conveying a powerful and emotional scene.

You may not control the events in the specific scene, but you controlled everything to that point. Short of complete immersion, the player will sooner or later arrive at a scripted event.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

We abandoned CGI cutscenes far too early. My characters standing around in the game engine doesn't move me.

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

I know what both of you are talking about, and indeed are there many examples of games over the years where the industry has made the best out of it. Personally the last time I experienced something like this via "traditional" means was in Mass Effect 2.

But as far as I can tell this guy here isn't talking about that, he's talking about "the next level" of storytelling, sort to speak. He's talking about using the actual gameplay as the main carrier of emotional expressions, something we do see a glimpse of in those two titles I mention, but they easily drown in the sea of meaningless gameplay (from a story perspective) we are offered in gaming today.

I believe this is what that Heavy Rain dude have in mind too, when he talk about emotional expressions in games.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/27/2012 2:06:18 PM

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
8 years ago

I'm just putting this out there, but how about Act 4 in MGS4, when snake returns to [spoiler]. That was entirely in gameplay, and was extremely emotional. Infact, I'd actually say it was the most emotional part of the game (and it has stuck in my mind ever since).

homura
homura
8 years ago

Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Emotional games.

TheCanadianGuy
TheCanadianGuy
8 years ago

@Liam yes very emotional moment. for me it was when the music first kicked in that really got me. gives chills just thinking about it.

but in all honesty it wasn't the most emotional part of the game. for me it was the final battle with liquid at the end when you're striking eachother back and forth it was breathtaking. videogamd poetry. perfection.

ethird1
ethird1
8 years ago

The original Tomb Raider was NEVER about Lara Croft. It was about the adventure! I had so much fun playing it. We need another game with no drama crap like the new Tomb Raider or even another Uncharted. What we need is just an exploration game of an ancient civilization and all the cool treasures that come with it.

And bouncing boobs.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

That's a tall order. It's hard to find good boobs in a serious game.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
8 years ago

Hmmmm….DoA girls crossed with Survivor?

___________
___________
8 years ago

exactly why im so excited for the new tomb raider!
every time lara cries out in pain you can feel it yourself, especially in the E3 demo they showed lara falling through tree branches and breaking her arm.
reminds me of heavy rain…….
one thing that allot of games have been missing this gen.
not only emotion, but also character customization.
uncharted for instance, drake starts off a cocky little sh*t and ends up a cocky little sh*t!
he evolves, and learns, changes, NOTHING!
lara though you start off the game shes a scared little girl, than you get half way through the game and all of a sudden shes kicking a$$ and taking names!
how often do we get to see characters develop and evolve that much in games!?
NEVER!

berserk
berserk
8 years ago

All i can say is that it s the first tomb raider game since those on ps1 that i ll pay full price for .I really dig the idea of seeing lara slowly becoming the bad ass she was in past games .The survival aspect of the game is a big plus too .