I feel like there's a resistance to stories that are more than just kind of "survive, shoot the bad guys" -- with some new twist on that. Ultimately, that's what they all boil down to. But I don't actually think that's a bad thing... that's what people want, so why not just embrace it?
JP: Well, so my goal in games, as a designer, or a writer, or whoever, whatever role I am, we need to make sure that the player knows who they are, where they are, sometimes when they are -- if it's past or whatever -- and most importantly why they're doing what they're doing.
So if I'm shooting these aliens, I want to know why I'm shooting the aliens. It needs to be satisfying to shoot the aliens, believe me, but if I know why, then the experience itself is going to be so much better, and I think that's what the best games do.
Like, when you play through the best games, you know where you're trying to go, and why you're doing what you're doing, and every action for the player has a meaning.
Context and goals are super important, but they're also very hard to communicate in this medium, without being cheap about it.
Though sometimes you have to be.
JP: Yeah, and you know, you shouldn't shy away from the cheap. If it works, it works.
Like, "X goal, 20 meters ahead." On the one hand, that's kind of a copout, on the other hand it's like, "Well, now I know where I'm supposed to go, so that's good."
JP: Exactly, exactly. If you know where you're supposed to go, and what you're supposed to do, then the experience is going to be better -- and the goal is to have a great experience.
In a game like this, where it's very much about the survival of the human race, is there any room for subtlety? Writers, in general, enjoy inserting that sort of thing. Have you found places where you can do that?
JP: Yes and no. So subtlety, okay, I'm going to go off on tangent here. Have you seen Jerry McGuire?
No, all I know is "show me the money."
JP: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, there's this scene in Jerry McGuire at the start of the movie where he writes this statement, this thing that he brings to his agency, and he's like, "Okay, this is my mission statement. This is how I want to change the world." And of course, he gets booted because of it. You know, whatever -- but I've done that, I think, on every game that I've worked on.
I've had that moment where I've stayed up all night and I've said, "I have a mission statement. I need to write this down and share it with everybody." And on one of the games I wrote about subtlety, and how it doesn't work in games, because the audience doesn't really care at some point. There are moments where you can achieve subtlety, but in a first person shooter, in the middle of action, that's not going to work.
So in Resistance 3, I tried to keep subtlety out of the action as much as possible. But there are moments where you're interfacing with these survivors, these people who are trying to survive against the Chimera, that do have some subtlety in there if the player wants to find it.
That's what I focused on -- those moments where the player isn't actively shooting enemies, that's where you can insert subtlety, but when the player is engaged in gameplay and shooting enemies, you can't get subtlety across to the player because they're just trying to find the next head shot.