(Below is part of my latest GameFile column. For the full thing, check out MTVNews.com)
I heard Dave Jones, president of development studio Real Time Worlds and one of the original architects of the "Grand Theft Auto" series, telling an audience: "I like to leave story to books and movies."
David Braben, anther long-tenured game designer, sat with me to talk about his company's upcoming downloadable Wii game "Lost Winds" but veered into a discussion about story and just how bad he thinks most games' tales are. And then he apologized for it: "If you look at stories in films in the '30s, they were sh--." Gaming can get better too.
I met with Denis Dyack, the ever-outspoken president of Silicon Knights to talk about the ambitious and heavily story-driven action game "Too Human," which his company will be releasing on the Xbox 360 this year. And he trashed game stories too. He said the current quality of game stories is "just not acceptable."
Here's what he told GameFile (it's classic Dyack, the kind of commentary that has won him legions of fans and detractors): "I think stories like [the ones in the books] 'Hyperion' or 'Altered Carbon' or very serious science fiction — we need to get stories to that level in the video game industry. ... Bubblegum stories are OK, but there's no reason we can't aspire to do more for those who want to do more. Certainly there's room for everything. If 'Too Human' can say anything, it's that it can be done, and we should at least attempt to try."