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Spielberg Does Games

EA and Steven Spielberg Team Up to Develop Three Original Videogames the press release announcing the famed director's plans to team up with the game developer and publisher to create some interactive entertainment. Word is:

CHERTSEY, UK, - October 14, 2005 - In a ground-breaking long term agreement, Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that Academy AwardŽ winner Steven Spielberg will be collaborating with the game makers at EA's Los Angeles studio (EALA) to create three new original franchise properties. Beginning this year, with offices located on site at EALA, Spielberg will work directly with EA's development teams to offer his signature style of storytelling to the concept, design, story and artistic visualization of the new games. EA will own the intellectual properties and the game franchises will be developed, published and distributed worldwide by EA. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"I have been playing EA games for years and have watched them master the interactive format." said Steven Spielberg. "Having watched the game industry grow from a niche into a major creative force in entertainment, I have a great deal of respect for EA's understanding of the interactive format. I'm looking forward to working closely with the team in Los Angeles."

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53 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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53. Re: This is an exciting move... Oct 15, 2005, 16:42 G-Man
 
Linear: Of, relating to, or resembling a line; straight. In, of, describing, described by, or related to a straight line. Having only one dimension.

d.fib... I think you're being antagonistic here and really just stirring the pot on slightly different interpretations of details:

"And no, a game does not have to be linear in order to tell a story."

This is an interesting statement considering your next one:

"The technology just isn't there quite yet, and the developers have neither budgets nor schedules to make truly open living worlds where you can make your own story."

So you are asserting that something that does not exist, exists. Strange. (indented/italic)

You're arguing for the sake of arguing here and not really understanding what the poster that wrote those quotes is saying. He's saying that when people talk about non-linear games like Deus ex, they talk about games that enable people to be able to make more then just one decision to accomplish the same goal.

The poster then goes on to say that the ability for developers to make a world so open ended that you can make your own story up completely that takes you to a totally different ending on multiple different occassions just isn't there yet (and I'll argue that we won't ever see this in our lifetimes).

Games that have different paths to take, the ability to decide the order in which you accomplish goals and tasks are by definition not linear. They have more then one dimension.

This comment was edited on Oct 15, 16:43.
 
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52. Re: This is an exciting move... Oct 15, 2005, 01:11 Jensen
 
I don't see what you are getting at. Time is linear, how can a story not be linear? Do you mean non-branching?

Deus Ex, is actually 100% linear.
...
(GTA)
Then go and do the story mission. It will be the same mission. The dialogue will not have changed. Nobody will mention how you look like the guy who killed 100000 of their buddies.

In Deus Ex, the Dialog does change based on your actions. NPCs will mention that you have been brutal. You can kill characters, thus turning other characters against you.
Can you describe what a non-linear story would be? Maybe the developer designs each level based on what you did in the last? That would be pretty expensive.

This comment was edited on Oct 15, 01:13.
 
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51. Re: This is an exciting move... Oct 14, 2005, 23:54 d.fibrillator
 
"The point is now how something is done, but the effect that it has."

The point is the effect the item actually has, not the perceived effect that people want to graft onto it. Just because a marketing team trumpets GTA's 'non-linear gameplay!' doesn't actually make the gameplay non-linear. It's 100% linear!

Don't believe me? Start one of the story missions, then quit. Reload. Then go do as many side-missions as you want - if you'd like, kill 1000000 members of the gang that is asking you to help them in the story mission. Then go and do the story mission. It will be the same mission. The dialogue will not have changed. Nobody will mention how you look like the guy who killed 100000 of their buddies.

"A good non-linear game makes you feel like you, the player, are a part of a larger world, and your actions, your choices, matter. A linear game constricts you, often to the point of a suspension of disbelief, where you can see that the developer stuffed you into a narrow corridor and you can't escape."

Not at all. A good game, like any good form of entertainment, works entirely because you are a willing participant. Just like a person going to see a magic show, you know that the box has a secret back door, there are some mirrors involved, the magician probably had the dove up his sleeve. But if you are willing to enjoy the show and be fooled, then you have fun.

The point is that what makes a good game is not creating some entirely new formula (which, by the way, nobody has done). It is all about how the game is presented. Many people enjoy a good linear game, or a good game that conceals its linearity well. I submit that all of the games you would call non-linear are just games that conceal their linearity with simple tricks. Which is fine. But this doesn't usher in a new era of 'non-linear' storytelling or gameplay. It's just a new coat on the same rack.

"In a movie, you're a spectator. In a video game, you're the protagonist."

Well garsh, Chet, thanks for solving that mystery for me. The fact remains that if there is a structured story to tell, that story must be told via some structured delivery system. The presentation will be linear. The story will be linear.

"And no, a game does not have to be linear in order to tell a story."

This is an interesting statement considering your next one:

"The technology just isn't there quite yet, and the developers have neither budgets nor schedules to make truly open living worlds where you can make your own story."

So you are asserting that something that does not exist, exists. Strange.

"A lot of attempts have been made, and quite a few were very successful in making players feel like they were inside one."

It's obvious that all of these 'attempts' were different methods of concealing the linearity of the story. Not telling 'non-linear' stories.

"But within each map you have quite a bit of freedom on how to solve them. You can also change some things about the characters in the story based on your actions."

But that's irrelevant! The STORY is linear. The PATH has branches. That's not a non-linear story.

 
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50. Re: This is an exciting move... Oct 14, 2005, 23:28 Jensen
 
The critical darling 'non-linear' game, Deus Ex, is actually 100% linear.

The progression of maps is set. The basic framework of the story is set.

But within each map you have quite a bit of freedom on how to solve them. You can also change some things about the characters in the story based on your actions.


This comment was edited on Oct 14, 23:28.
 
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49. Re: This is an exciting move... Oct 14, 2005, 23:13 Luthier
 
d.fibrilator,

You're completely missing the point. The point is now how something is done, but the effect that it has. The difference between a linear, and a non-linerar game game is simple. A good non-linear game makes you feel like you, the player, are a part of a larger world, and your actions, your choices, matter. A linear game constricts you, often to the point of a suspension of disbelief, where you can see that the developer stuffed you into a narrow corridor and you can't escape.

Yes, movies and videogames are similar, but with one key difference. In a movie, you're a spectator. In a video game, you're the protagonist. That's a very important difference. You can of course break everything down and belittle and ridicule, but at least get have some idea of what you're talking about, and try to offer and alternative instead of just raging against the machine.

And no, a game does not have to be linear in order to tell a story. The technology just isn't there quite yet, and the developers have neither budgets nor schedules to make truly open living worlds where you can make your own story. A lot of attempts have been made, and quite a few were very successful in making players feel like they were inside one.

 
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48. Re: This is an exciting move... Oct 14, 2005, 23:00 d.fibrillator
 
In order to tell any story, a game must be linear. Because stories are linear. They are a series of causes and effects, revelations into a character, or developments.

They can be broken up, told in reverse order, and all kinds of tricks. But the whole concept is linear. The flagship of commercial 'non-linear' gaming - GTA - is completely linear with irrelevant side missions. The critical darling 'non-linear' game, Deus Ex, is actually 100% linear.

Which is why I'm sick of hearing faux artistes constantly yammer about the exciting new age of the interactive story. Please. We've had the ability to tell interactive stories for ages and they never evolved past "Choose Your Own Adventure" type constructs (selecting one of a finite set of branching paths) or simple-feedback scenarios like Dragon's Lair and Fahrenheit.

I think the whole thing derives from a constant sense of inferiority wanna-be game designers have. Every game designer I have ever met is secretly working on a screenplay. Frankly I'd prefer that they stop poisoning our well with constant repetitions of stories about 'the One', amnesiatic heroes, and ripped-off plot skeletons and twists and just become part of the Hollywood machine.

Doesn't Ray Romano need someone to write crap material for him?

"Imagine World of WarCraft where each interaction with an NPC or group of NPC's is a well scripted sequence, with great camera angles and stlyized moments? Imagine it's interactive kinda like Half Life 2's scripted sequences a la Kliener's lab?"

Funny. You just described two completely linear scenarios as an attempt to back your position that games don't have to be linear. All you are suggesting is making the presentation more flashy. Which is frankly the only area in which Fahrenheit succeeds - framing its cutscenes in showy director movie fashion. Michael Mann would be proud.

However many of us in the industry are really sick of the constant desire to ape the movie industry.

This comment was edited on Oct 14, 23:03.
 
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47. Re: Bleh Oct 14, 2005, 21:48 D4rkKnight
 
Very fondly, yes. I loved the cinematics at the point where Boston and team venture into the asteroid, finding it to be a spacecraft/transport vehicle of sorts, whisking them away to another galaxy....

Still have the CD in one of my binders, but can't play (m)any DOS game(s) on my AthlonXP64 WinXP-32 rig.

Might as well give that one a shot, though I won't hold my breath.

Dosbox is your friend =)

 
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46. Re: Bleh Oct 14, 2005, 20:58 HellSlayer
 
Steven needs to stop being a voice for the left and start doing what he does best and that is Lie to people. Make good movies that you think are real. Instead really lieing to people about politics.

"Sure your smart!!!Your just not letting anyone know!!?!
 
o0
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45. Re: Bleh Oct 14, 2005, 20:42 Jensen
 
Probably another game where the player is on a rail. Yes I am looking at you Mr. Jackson.

The Prince of Persia games are on a rail, and they seem to be quite popular.
This comment was edited on Oct 14, 20:50.
 
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44. Re: This is an exciting move... Oct 14, 2005, 20:37 FourPak
 
G-Man, you're too intelligent to be posting here, with your fancy shmancy Rational Arguments and Common Sense - go away!

j/k, good points.

 
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43. Re: This is an exciting move... Oct 14, 2005, 20:27 Shataan
 
"Who said that in order to tell a great story, the game had to be linear?"

I hope alot of devs these days feel the same way. But games have a long history of being pretty linear, with little replay value.

This comment was edited on Oct 14, 20:28.
 
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42. Re: This news really excited me Oct 14, 2005, 20:26 FourPak
 
Until I saw the words "will team up with Electronic Arts".
Spielberg is one of the few people who can dictate quality and content to EA.

I'm not in love with all his stuff but at the very least his statements are validation that games are now Serious Business for Serious big name big Money producers.

 
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41. Re: This is an exciting move... Oct 14, 2005, 20:23 G-Man
 
Who said that in order to tell a great story, the story had to be linear? Choose your own adventure man!

Imagine World of WarCraft where each interaction with an NPC or group of NPC's is a well scripted sequence, with great camera angles and stlyized moments? Imagine it's interactive kinda like Half Life 2's scripted sequences a la Kliener's lab?

You jumped to the conclusion that someone who makes movies, is only good at telling a story that is completely linear. I don't think this is a good conclusion to jump to.

There are so many possibilities here... not just one.


This comment was edited on Oct 14, 23:00.
 
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40. Re: This is an exciting move... Oct 14, 2005, 20:01 Shataan
 
But I don`t wanna play a movie. Never have. Too tight scripting needs to be used for story telling. Too tight scripting leads to the death of the sp game experience imho.... as far as replay value is concerned.

Take COD. I tried just the demo, and I decided not to buy the game. Why? Cause they led you down a single corridor mouse to cheese. Now add in successive replays. COD 2 looks to change this by offering a much larger hopefully gameplay world, and more than just one way to complete a mission. 4 or even 5 different paths to choose would be a good start.

If game devs wanna do the movie like thing. By all means go right ahead. But keep in mind that what is really immersive is the players ability to move unhindered within the gameworld. And players imho like to DISCOVER mysteries. Not be spoonfed a storyline. At least I do.

Example. AvP on the Jaguar system was heads over heels way more interesting for ME to play compared to AvP 2 on PC. Why? Cause the player was given just enough info, and then had to discover the rest after that. Monolith is great at telling stories, but with AvP 2 they took away player self discovery. Sometimes less is more. It certainly was for me.

This comment was edited on Oct 14, 20:02.
 
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39. This is an exciting move... Oct 14, 2005, 19:46 G-Man
 
I put together this long winded post in an e-mail to my friends, I though I'd share it with you guys as well. I'm usually only contributing to the trolliness of this forum (casue the negative vibes here usually drive me nuts) so I thought this would be a nice contribution for a change:

I think EA's move to bring in a heavy weight like Spielberg is a great move and an exciting one for EA and for the industry. The game industry needs to evolve beyond what it is... beyond the creation of highly derivative games. The industry needs to develop it's ability to tells stories effectively and who better to contribute then someone from hollywood who's been telling stories through a lense for decades?

Take a second to look at the film industry... The art of film making continues to evolve and advance despite there being no new genres created in the last twenty years (or more?) Technology has enabled more people to tell the stories in the way that they want them to be told. Less limitations has enabled film makers to give us a wider variety of unique experiences.

Games are a lot like movies, they are for the most part about telling a story... games have the huge advantage here though, in a game you're a part of the story, you're not just watching it take place. Unfortunately, most game companies, can't tell a story in their games even if their lives depended on it. The game industry has a LONG way to go to refine it's ability to tell a story. Few games have really been able to tell immersive stories that truly tie a game together.

Bringing in talent like Spielberg adds a shit load of credibility to the table and could very well be the catalyst for the inclusion of some cool developments on this front. This of course remains to be seen and I have my doubts... but why would EA spend millions of dollars on Spielberg (I'm guessing they spent that much on him) if they didn't want to make something different or better? Spielberg's name on the box alone isn't worth that amount of money, he has to be able to bring something new to the table otherwise this move won't be worthwhile for EA.

Half life 2 was the best game to date with regards to making me feel like I was truly part of another world where a story was unraveling and the friendly NPC's really gave a shit about me and reacted to what I did in their world. The NPC's eyes and body language would show me that they were following me around the room. If I knocked something over while they were around they'd tell me to be carefull... If I walked away from them while they were talking they would yell at me to come in closer... etc. I think that the likes of Spielberg can add to these types of moments in games, make them more integral to the game play and hopefully bring us better games.

Currently the types of people that play games are very similar in many regards. We're mostly males, we're twenty something, we're typically techies, geeks, jocks or a combination of the above. When we can make games that are capable of getting us to feel emotion, then we'll start seeing people that are attracted to chick flicks, people with more socially oriented skills or desires i.e. women. When we are capable of creating games that develop an ability to get across some form of social progression, something that is able to truly tell the story of the plight of a person, a company, a country, a people (that doesn't involve war) then we will attract people that like documentaries or films on history. i.e. as our industry hones it's skills we'll start being able to create new experiences, different styles and stories but in similar genres to what are available today, as we do that we'll start attracting people that don't fit into the jock, geek or techie groups. This will develop the market by making new market segments available, thus encouraging publishers to make new games from totally different perspectives.

In order to create the games that will attract these different market segments, we need to hone the industries skills on the games that have been proven to attract the current market that is available to it. So we'll continue to see relatively derivative product, but better versions of it that will prove that we can expand beyond yet another WWII FPS.

Bringing in people like the Spielbergs of the world into the equation will hopefully help the industry tell stories better, get gamers to feel more emotion then just fear, anger, aggression... Once the industry has proving we can do that, I think we'll see the industry expand into different areas...

So on the contrary, I think that having brought in Spielberg to EA they are in fact setting up a path that gives EA the opportunity to advance the art of game making.

Let's just hope it happens.

As a side note, I find it funny that there are so many people on this board bitch about the sequelitis that this industry is faced with, but a post or two later, these very same people are begging for a remake of an old game that they used to play... It's fucking hillarious... and painfully ironic.


 
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38. Original...TO THE XTREME!!! Oct 14, 2005, 19:46 Da Stylin' Rastan
 
"EA...to Develop Three Original Videogames"

BWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Oh man, I needed a good laugh. Thanks Blue.

-DSR <---not ashamed to take EA cheap shots

 
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37. Re: Bleh Oct 14, 2005, 19:09 Fantaz
 
Trespasser would be great if they completely fixed up the controls. Need more Dinos in my FPS!

 
Avatar 571
 
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36. Re: Bleh Oct 14, 2005, 18:44 Shataan
 
"Ever heard of Trespasser?"

Trespasser rocked. Even WITH its faults. I have been hoping for years they would or someone would remake it. That was a cool game. Can you imagine how cool a new Trespasser would be with a real engine? ;0)

 
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35. Re: Bleh Oct 14, 2005, 17:26 The Half Elf
 
Crestion I highly agree. I would love to play Tresspasser without the Robotic Arm, and updated to use play on XP/todays hardware.
"How much health do you have left?" "I don't know let me look down at my breasts" LOL


This comment was edited on Oct 14, 17:28.
 
Avatar 12670
 
"I've never seen a feature like this before. It warms your ass. It's wonderful" -Walter Bishop
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34. Re: Bleh Oct 14, 2005, 16:52 Creston
 
One thing I will say about Trespasser and Seamus Blackley is that they did foresee quite well where things would be going. Larger, more open ended levels and a physics engine.

Now, their implementation of it sucked ass, but how many people are currently using garry's mod to just fuck around with the Havok 2 physics engine in HL2, stacking planks and whatever? That's the kind of interactivity that they had planned for Trespasser.

Their biggest problem was that the hardware capable of running this sort of stuff wasn't going to be released until 2003.

Creston


 
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