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Editor's Choice
The Escapist Interview: Jane Jensen

Paul Rice | 25 Sep 2007 12:18
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TE: Do story-based games without an action core have a future?

JJ: At Sierra On-Line, after we did A Beast Within [a FMV game], we thought Hollywood would merge with games and movies would become interactive and you'd be in these virtual reality worlds where you're a detective, etc. I still think that's going to happen someday, but it may be 50 years from now. I think the future is VR.

TE: Wasn't VR dead?

JJ: It'll come back someday. Maybe they'll start with something simple, like game shows where the contestants are only really there virtually. ... I don't know how, but if we get to a point where you can be in an environment to explore, then they're going to need stories that go with that. That was always my vision of where adventure games would end up.

TE: But will players still interact with a story when they're literally placed inside a virtual world?

JJ: I think so. People want to participate with a story. If you have a beautiful girl run up to your character and say, "Oh my God, he tried to kill me," and then run off, most people are going to want to follow. People want to do what's right; that's just a part of our nature. And if people know or sense what they're supposed to do, they're going to go do it. Think about a scene where the bad guy chases you into an alley. There's three doors and a trash can, and you can try and crawl in the trash can or go through one of the doors, and as a writer, you'd want to provide for as many of those options as possible. It's always been my long-term vision to have a feature film that's completely interactive where you're the main character.

TE: So, in a few decades, that's what we'll be playing?

JJ: I don't know, but on the shorter term I think there's a lot of potential for adventure games to do well on the casual market. I've given up predicating any of that. You can't overestimate the stupidity of the mass market. Anything that's going to be popular will have to be really simple and really entertaining, and I'll strive for that in the future. I don't think it's necessary to make things hard. With Beast, I wanted to engage people's minds with questions that weren't "How do I find the code to open the safe?" but "Why did he say that?" and "Who left that note there?" In other words, to be complex, without having to put hard puzzles in.

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