Dreamfall Chapters Dev Disputes George Lucas' Gaming Views

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Dreamfall Chapters Dev Disputes George Lucas' Gaming Views

Dreamfall Chapters Promo

Ragnar Tornquist believes that gaming already has its own equivalents to Titanic.

Earlier this month, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg took time during a USC panel to discuss the future of videogames. While both directors expressed high hopes for the medium, neither seemed to believe that games have a great deal of emotional depth. Lucas even suggested that when players pick up a controller, "something turns off in the heart, and it becomes a sport", predicting that it will take another five years for gaming discover its own Titanic. These comments have rather annoyed Ragnar Tornquist, director of Dreamfall Chapters and an industry veteran of nearly 20 years. At a Rezzed 2013 panel on game storytelling, Tornquist explained that mainstream titles like Journey and The Last of Us already deliver emotional experiences, and should be recognized alongside mainstream film.

"Games are where storytelling is being experimented on the most," Tornquist explains. "Take Journey, one of the best games I've ever played - it tells an amazing story through pictures and sound that you just wouldn't see in a TV show.

"It made me so angry because I'm currently playing The Last of Us... I'm not going to spoil anything - but the beginning of the game sets up this great emotional connection... The controller turns on and your heart does not turn off. You feel desperate."

While I don't think Lucas meant to disparage gaming, Tornquist isn't wrong. In the past year alone, we've seen several mainstream games succeed as both critical hits and emotional experiences. Sure, we have flops, but between The Last of Us, The Walking Dead, and even BioShock Infinite, games are quickly becoming as capable of connecting with audiences as film. And personally, I enjoyed those games a lot more than sitting through Titanic.

Source: Eurogamer

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Why would any game aspire to emulate Titanic's level of storytelling? It was an excellent film in terms of special effects, but the story was a cliched bore-fest.

Oh look, someone old thinks games aren't art.

Now, can we please just ignore these guys opinons on a medium they've barely acknowleged?

Yeah, film directors really aren't the best people to turn to when talking about games and where they stand on deep stories. We have a lot of quality games with stellar stories that evoke real emotion and we're getting more every week.

I dunno Aliens: Colonial Marines really sunk to new depths
Oh wait you the movie.

Lucas' comments seemed well-intentioned but without a great depth of knowledge about games and the sort of things games do. Apart from anything else, he's clearly got an outsiders perespective, because he has the lack of familiarity with controllers that is a real challenge for newcomers to the medium. For the people who've been playing games their whole lives, we know that when we're playing a game we forget about the controller completely and become completely engrossed in the game.

Just ignore them Ragnar, and keep doing what you do. WE know that videogame storytelling can be great, I don't give a toss about what George Lucas says, or even a good film maker.

Ragnar Tornquist is certainly allowed to say that. He directed Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, after all, which was more or less a less-successful game version of Titanic (in mood and execution, I mean, not in content).

I'm really not sure what Spielberg and Lucas are expecting, frankly. I can't even sympathize with them, because I get way more into games than sorts. Hell, even Uplink, which was an arcadey hacker sim, is one of the most immersive things ever. Every time I get the letter from the bad guy telling me to send them the program I just stole, I yelp and my heart beats faster, and I've played the game ten times (never actually won, tragically). It's not a "sport", by any means... it's a story.

It almost sounds like the only games these directors have been playing were Madden or Bulletstorm.

Didn't George Lucas ever play Knights of the Old Republic or the Dark Forces series? Then again I can understand why not, given how someone was able to take his universe and weave a better story than he ever could via a medium he disreguards.

I'd also have to disagree with Lucas, *cough* one trick hack *cough* it makes me sad every time I play portal 2 and watch Wheatly go mad with power at its midpoint. If feeling sorry for poor delusional Wheatly doesn't count as emotion then I don't know what does.

I think Lucas *cough* hack *cough* is under the impression that the entire gaming industry is made up of CoD clones and Madden releases. Of course I doubt he'd know a good story if it bit him in the ass, judging by the prequels.

Abomination:
Didn't George Lucas ever play Knights of the Old Republic or the Dark Forces series? Then again I can understand why not, given how someone was able to take his universe and weave a better story than he ever could via a medium he disreguards.

Given their ages and that Spielberg's last game was Boom Blox, his current involvement is in Halo and Lucas well, was never overly enthused with Lucasarts, it wouldn't be a stretch to think that neither had ever played games in more than a cursory manner.

Spielberg got involved quite heavily in Medal of Honor, but it's fifteen years since he sold that to EA, I doubt he's even heard of Thomas was alone or Metro 2033, so games with serious emotional responses probably elude him.

I cried 3 times during Mass Effect 3 alone. RIP Mordin, and Legion.

I haven't played The Last of Us or Journey, and considering that they're PS3 exclusives it's unlikely I'll do it anytime soon. However, I agree with him. The Walking Dead was pretty good. It was easy for me to get emotionally involved in the ME games. The best JRPGs, like Persona 4 and Suikoden almost had me at tears at points. Suikoden V may have succeeded even. Xenosaga has a silly amount of cutscenes, which I doubt would work in a game if it hadn't already managed to make me care about the majority of the characters, and I'm only at the start of Episode 1.

I guess Planescape Torment is being regarded by many as the best RPG ever because it has flashy and long spell cast animations. The unique setting which allows us to explore thoughtful and emotional themes has nothing to do with it!

KeyMaster45:
I'd also have to disagree with Lucas, *cough* one trick hack *cough* it makes me sad every time I play portal 2 and watch Wheatly go mad with power at its midpoint. If feeling sorry for poor delusional Wheatly doesn't count as emotion then I don't know what does.

I think Lucas *cough* hack *cough* is under the impression that the entire gaming industry is made up of CoD clones and Madden releases. Of course I doubt he'd know a good story if it bit him in the ass, judging by the prequels.

I would argue that even games like COD and Madden can be "emotional". For example: when they first showed off the Dog that's going to be in the next game, one of the first things people thought was; "OH! What a cute doggie! :3", then they thought; "x( Crap. They're going to make us love that dog, and then kill it, aren't they?"

As for the "it becomes a sport" thing. Has Lucas ever watched someone who does like sports, watching sports?! They go F@#King crazy! I don't like sports that much, but if the reactions they(and the games about them) get aren't emotional, well then I don't know what is then.

As people have said, there are games that will give you an emotional gut shot like The Last of Us, but even games that aren't made to be "emotional games"(usually meaning sad), I think one could argue that any game you really get into can be emotional.

Heck, even really bad games can at least make someone sad, or mad.

I thought everyone was aiming for Citizen Kane?

http://thecitizenkaneofvideogames.tumblr.com/

Why would you want to emulate an overrated film?

yeah ive got to agree with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg here. ive been playing games all my life, but the most emotional game hasn't compared to the most emotional movie (or book for that matter) i think it might have something to do with seeing your character repeatedly die in a lot of games that makes the emotional connection less engaging

cwmdulais:
yeah ive got to agree with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg here. ive been playing games all my life, but the most emotional game hasn't compared to the most emotional movie (or book for that matter) i think it might have something to do with seeing your character repeatedly die in a lot of games that makes the emotional connection less engaging

I almost would have agreed with you, until The Walking Dead.

I always could get emotionally engaged in games, but i didn't ever experience and didn't know if a video game COULD engage me on the same level as a brilliant book or movie in an emotional sense.

Then The Walking Dead came along and it is THE most emotionally engaging piece of art across all platforms that i have ever experienced. More-so than any book or film i have loved.

So yeah, we are getting better at making games engaging on a different level now, and it's wonderful.

Can't wait to get my hands on the last of us and delve into it.

George Lucas the untalented one trick pony hack and Spielberg a relic of the past have NO PLACE talking about new mediums they aren't actively engaging in, nor even comprehend all that well.
They're old and their vision is as wrinkled as they are.

Meanwhile i have to say that they're wrong, because Dreamfall and The Longest Journey touched me in a much more personal way than shitty film Titanic, that really had to add an incredibly inconsequential love story to an already tragic moment to create petty stupid drama to please the lowest common denominator of filmgoers who can't appreciate quality writting if it slapped them on the face.
I...God. Sorry, but Titanic is shit.

Fanghawk:
Lucas even suggested that when players pick up a controller, "something turns off in the heart, and it becomes a sport."

Lucas sounds like every other person I have spoken to who has never played a video game before. They fail to understand that the popular idea of video games being nothing more than shooting galleries for children is outdated and no longer applies to every game ever made.

Video games have arguably moved on, matured and become more sophisticated far quicker than any other artistic medium I know of. Why are they always dismissed so fully with regards to their ability to convey an emotionally engaging experience?

Fappy:
Why would any game aspire to emulate Titanic's level of storytelling? It was an excellent film in terms of special effects, but the story was a cliched bore-fest.

Keep in mind it was George Lucas talking. A man who once wrote Star Wars Episode II. A man who is best known to the public for creating a bunch of fun samurai westerns for kids. His best works have the emotional depth of a fourth grader. To him, Titanic's love story is probably about fifty steps up.

I would take this point better from Steven, a man whose name has been attached to far more touching moments in film history, but even then....

Regardless, games are going to evolve along a different path because of their time, and this is all kind of ridiculous in the first place. In fact, I wish gaming would stop trying to achieve cinematic parity.

Am I the only one who read the title and thought 'the developer of what now?'

Why the fuck would we want our own equivalent to Titanic? That movie was terrible. If you want to talk about lack of depth, that movie is the embodiment of it. I've played games FROM ITS YEAR that were more emotionally engaging and moving than that shoddy film.

I have to say that I was hugely impressed with the Escapist's threads discussing the plot of The Last of Us.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.819183-The-Last-of-Us-Plot-Ending-Discussion

This thread wasn't about how great the gameplay was or what texture resolution the graphics were, it's about the characters of the main protagonists, and how well their choices at the end of the game reflect the characters they've established over the game, and why the seemingly bad, immoral, or questionable choices were justified in their minds.

It's as in-depth as any book or film discussion will ever be on their artistic themes, and we also had these same discussions on the themes in Bioshock Infinite, and Spec Ops the Line.

These forum threads prove exclusively that videogames have reached their potential as artforms to make the player think about their own actions that they took and how it reflects on them, as well as the actions of other characters and how their beliefs, needs, and struggle to survive shape their choices and actions.

Gaming has reached its potential to be as artful as any movie or book can be, but Spielberg and Lucas couldn't actually know this unless they actually were to take an interest in the medium and play these recent games, instead of what they have most likely done, which is base their opinion on the TV advertisements of COD and Battlefield, and Fox news broadcasts of the latest moral outcry from the last disaster-in-close-proximity-to-a-videogame scenario.

Somebody's never played Final Fantasy VII, or even Mystic Quest/Final Fantasy Adventure* on the original Gameboy.

(*Same game, different names.)

Well somebody doesn't play videogame...
Hmm, George?

Emotionally engaging games aren't even all that new.
Look at Buldur's Gate, Fallout 1&2 and Final Fantasy VII.
Jeez, someone needs to send this guy a copy of Spec Ops just to prove him wrong and to make him feel bad at the same time.

I'm with Tornquist on this. Saying that as soon as an interface is involved all emotion attachment is lost is bullshit.

Although I don't particularly think Titanic is the most moving film either. In fact if gaming's equivalent to Titanic came out I don't think I'd want to play it.

The man's name is Ragnar Tornquist, he wins any argument by default.

Seriously, that name probably eats 'George Lucas'es for breakfast.

because an over-budgeted manipulative romance plot is the pinnacle of storytelling all media should strive to emulate.

add two more self-absorbed ignorant "artists" giving opinions of mediums they know nothing about to the pile.

Wenseph:
I haven't played The Last of Us or Journey, and considering that they're PS3 exclusives it's unlikely I'll do it anytime soon. However, I agree with him. The Walking Dead was pretty good. It was easy for me to get emotionally involved in the ME games. The best JRPGs, like Persona 4 and Suikoden almost had me at tears at points. Suikoden V may have succeeded even. Xenosaga has a silly amount of cutscenes, which I doubt would work in a game if it hadn't already managed to make me care about the majority of the characters, and I'm only at the start of Episode 1.

yea, if you ever play The Last of Us, the prolouge really does hit you if you have some sort of emotion.

Really does set up the later parts and why Joel isn't really too keen on giving Elle a weapon.

OT, this is coming from the guy who admits that The Longest Journey series wont be complete with the Chapters game alone, that it will take one or two more full fledged games to finish it up entirely.

Not to mention also a great writer that can make the most convoluted story seem helpless, but at the end bring everything together.

Also, why do we have to use Titanic as a reference? that movie was horrible, why not Leon the Professional, or Falling Down?

Just the thing folx, let's compare 2-3 hours of story (movie) to 6-12 hours of story mixed in with mechanics/game play and the myriad of other things involved with a game.
Good job.

Lucas and Speilberg owe me 15 minutes of time, each.

I like how Tornquist is so modest to give Journey and The Last of Us as example for emotional games. The Last of Us pulled a few strings and got me welling a bit, but when I was 14 years old Dreamfall: The Longest Journey made me cry all over my Xbox controller. I had empathised with Joel too much and I found the ending of The Last of Us to be a happy one, but by the end of the credits for Dreamfall there were used tissues discarded all on the floor. The only other game I would put even remotely close to Dreamfall would be Spec Ops: The Line, but the fact that it took so long for a sequel to even be announced I had assumed that absolutely everyone had died which haunted me even after the game was done.

If there was any person that has the rights to defend the emotions that games can bring it's Tornquist, but I really would to suggested that if Lucas and Spielberg care, they play Dreamfall: The Longest Journey to get a clue (and give them an FAQ because some of the puzzles are absolutely bonkers).

Haven't people noticed yet that Lucas' voice has been coming out of the back of his pants for years now? The guy does nothing but talk out of his ass. I don't know about you, my fellow Escapists, but I can say with confidence that in the past five years more games have made me misty-eyed (in a couple cases, brought me to full-on tears) than movies have.

Spielberg and Lucas:

Coming from the emotional geniuses that brought you such masterpieces as the Star Wars prequels and .. the Goonies? Dunno, never witnessed any of the movies Spielberg wrote.
Sounds like they are feeling pressured by their audience beginning to favor mediocre multi-hour interactive ways of wasting their time instead of paying 10ish to experience maybe two hours of audiovisual distraction in a small greasy seat and near "people".

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