The cake is a lie. Yes, you know what that’s from: Portal. Incidentally, can you believe Portal’s nearly six years old? But anyway, “The cake is a lie” became a meme and was thus granted immortality, albeit in that fleeting Internetty way. I really wish that I’d written those five words.
Writing and storytelling in games is often seen as a bit of a joke – window-dressing for bigger explosions, or weak justification for increasingly lavish bloodshed. Even indie developers are reluctant to place script at the centre of their games, because it’s tough to sell story in an industry with such disregard for it. One notable exception, however, is Alexis Kennedy from Failbetter Games, the UK studio behind Fallen London.
Novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland has explored genres in his film projects ranging from zombies (28 Days Later) to interstellar sci-fi (Sunshine) to comic book fantasy (Dredd). It shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that he’s also a lifelong gamer. Here, we talk to him about his contribution to the ill-fated Halo movie, the oversaturation of zombie games and the action-RPG that awakened his love of single-player console gaming.
Assassin's Creed III game director Alex Hutchinson has accused western game journalists of "subtle racism" in giving Japanese games an easy critical ride.
One of my favourite podcasts, The Partially Examined Life, features a gang of postgraduate dropouts discussing philosophy in erudite and entertaining fashion, and occasionally swearing. Unfortunately, Apple disapproves of ‘bad words’, and so forces me to look at a bright red ‘EXPLICIT’ tag next to every episode in iTunes.
Greetings, gamers of 2012. My name is Game Designer #9384, although I once had a mother and she called me Bobby. I write to you in secret from the dank, lightless barracks of the High Lord Gamer Melvin Fauntleroy. The year is 2020. Trans-temporal email has just been invented, so you can expect a lot more messages like this, mostly about cybernetic erectile augmentation and desperate princes in the Sovereign Republic Of Texas. Your primitive spam filters will be useless. I pray this message reaches you before Google adds the Block Future Email button.
At most gatherings of games development people, there’s likely to be a writer holding forth annoyingly, wearing the regulation black T-shirt and, increasingly, in this shallow day and age, sporting a ‘haircut’.The writer will be telling everyone how he or she really should be brought in earlier on every project, and how nobody really understands how integral the writing is. This is despite the fact that everyone understands how integral the writing is. And despite the fact that teams usually know exactly the right moment to bring in a writer.
Not too long ago, I was thinking about Mass Effect 3. In fact, it seems we were all thinking about Mass Effect 3, not least in terms of how we wanted to string it up by its eyes and feed it to half-starved crocodiles because of its ending.
Near the end of the presentation for his new game, Beyond: Two Souls, David Cage pauses to reflect on his place in the game industry. “When I come to E3, I feel like I live in a different world. I want to provoke and explore emotions. I believe there is an audience for what I do.”
Movies and TV shows can acknowledge their tropes these days. We’ve gone past smirking at sly winks, and now enjoy watching entire genres get ripped apart and put back together before our eyes.