So should we ever be suspicious when a major video game is announced to be an epic three-parter? Do players of pre-determined trilogies get shortchanged on a full plot, a full offering of game levels, a real ending — a full game?
In the first of a two-parter, I ask these questions to Denis Dyack, president of Silicon Knights and chief architect of the upcoming “Too Human” trilogy.
Multiplayer: Your game is being announced as a trilogy, correct?
Denis Dyack, President, Silicon Knights: That’s correct.
Multiplayer: I hear about a lot of games being announced as trilogies. They don’t always become full trilogies. But “Halo” recently was a trilogy that concluded. [Dyack grins]… I don’t know where you’re going already…
Dyack: I do. [laughing]
Multiplayer: Well you might want to let me finish my question first, because otherwise you might say something bad…
[laughing]. My question, generally, is that when I hear these games announced as trilogies — “Mass Effect” is another one — I wonder: “I hope that they’re not leaving a lot of the good stuff out, because they are hoping — and their marketing team is hoping — to sell me two more sequels and they are arbitrarily cutting this early. And I hope it’s not that the creators just love ’Star Wars’ and ’Lord of the Rings’ and want one of their own, and think they need three parts in order to do it.” What do you make of my wariness of this and what can you say to assuage my concerns, at least regarding “Too Human”?
Dyack: I commend you for your skepticism, first of all. Secondly, I would strongly contest that “Star Wars” was ever meant to be a trilogy. So the only true trilogy in the movie industry that I’m aware of, to date, has been “Lord of the Rings.” It was meant to be a trilogy from beginning to end. And I’m very very leery of these games that are successful and are suddenly called a trilogy when they’re on the third one. Because that’s just marketing.
“I’m very very leery of these games that are successful and are suddenly called a trilogy when they’re on the third one. Because that’s just marketing.”
“Too Human,” from when we started to work on the game for the 360, has been a trilogy. For the first game, the theme is discovery; the second game, the theme is revenge; the third game is enlightenment. We know exactly what’s going to happen from beginning to end. It’s planned out in such a way that there is without question a reason for the three parts. If there would have been a reason for four parts, we wouldn’t call it a trilogy, we would call it a… canto, I guess.
I think there is always the problem you can run into, trying to not do as much. Production values are getting much much higher. So doing things in parallel makes a lot of sense. I not only love “Lord of the Rings;” I think what they did [by making the movies simultaneously] was a smart way of doing things. And certainly I think it’s a good model. To date, you really need confidence in the whole trilogy to do it. And that’s sort of where things stand today. It’s hard to get things off the ground. You have to have big buy-in. Hopefully people will see that with “Too Human.
That’s why “Too Human” is a trilogy.
Next: in part two, the founders of BioWare answer the same questions about the “Mass Effect” trilogy.
Have a hot tip? Need to tell me something? Drop me an e-mail.