Plot Devices

The Wolfire Games blog is one that I’ve been reading since preordering Overgrowth, and one of the staff wrote a post on the plot in their previous game (Lugaru), and how they’re generated. It highlighted something that most people suspect, but never actually found out for real. It seems plot is written to justify a game, not the other way around. So, why has this happened? Aren’t we all supposed to love gaming for their story?

That later question is a whole side topic, but the idea that plot is an afterthought is one that scares me. I’m unable to comment on the plot of Lugaru seeing as I haven’t played it, but the plot is detailed in the post* and I wonder how many other games had this sort of idea. Let’s take a game that I honestly love to pieces (cough): CoD.

Sequels are the best example, especially if they happen to be written in the same engine: It tends to limit people into the same genre. Let’s imagine we took the plot out of both of the Modern Warfares. Do that, and we have the same game don’t we? Meaning it’s more than obvious that the plot was written after the gameplay mechanics were created.

I see that as a problem. The whole part and parcel of the gaming experience isn’t just the shooting of mindless clones. Yes, that’s the bit that people tend to remember but we are there for the journey and tacking on a cheap pathetic clichéd filled pile of nonsense just makes me feel kind of sick.

Crysis? Even worse. I nearly threw up when the Koreans appeared and had gotten hold of the suit technology. Oh I’m sure it makes perfect sense, since you needed something like that to throw an extra enemy type at you, but dear mother of hell, think of your poor consumers. Something has got to be done about it.

Think back to when the dinosaurs ruled, and Point and Click adventure games were everywhere. If John Walker ever tried to tell the world anything, it was that adventure games were brilliant for their stories and thus they were better games. Something I’d be interested in knowing is whether they were written before they were created.

Creating a brilliant game takes more than being able to create a nice gimmick. It actually takes a decent team of writers as well as a team of programmers, and it’s time developers realised that.

*Simply put: Rabbit’s family dies, Rabbit goes to kill the murderers. Rabbit discovers murderers are part of conspiracy to kill all rabbits, leading Rabbit to save the rest of the rabbits by killing the conspirators. Rabbit turns from revenge based maniac to hero. Just to justify violence. Return to reading.

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