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He Loves Bees: An interview with Xbox's experimental storyteller
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He Loves Bees: An interview with Xbox's experimental storyteller


July 19, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3
 

In addition to moving away from advertising toward these subscription models, then, one thing that will also be interesting to see, that we're already catching sight of on the horizon, is transmedia for noncommercial purposes, such as education and activism. Anything in that sphere that's caught your eye?

EL: Quite a bit. It's something of a personal mission of mine. I don't know exactly where this will overlap with Microsoft yet -- it's something that I'm trying to define as I go.

However, I really believe that the world gets better the more that we talk to each other. I've done projects in the past where I've seen people get married as a result of the experiences gone through in some of these games. I've seen people start activist movements and voting parties, or take part in local elections. Any number of things, based on a game's encouragement for them to talk and seek out others.

You drop two [strangers] in a room, it's hard to get them to connect on any real level. But if you give them a sense of ownership, a sense of purpose, a goal that they're trying to accomplish and by so doing they must rely on each other, suddenly they become friends very quickly. They have these wonderful experiences to share. Their creativity is encouraged and they make progress based on their ability to interact with each other and the world around them. I have only seen good things come of that.

I love using these things for education, for teaching people more about their world, and more importantly, teaching them to create the tools necessary to live better lives and make the world around them better. That has been the underlying theme of almost every project I've ever worked on and I will continue to integrate that substring into everything that I do.

It's so easy to be really cynical about this subject matter, because what we typically see of transmedia in general is this very commercial face. So it's great to hear that attention is being paid to these other spaces, and that it's part of your own mindset.

EL: It's worth saying, I think. All of us at our hearts want to make the world a better place. I believe very strongly that the only way you can do that is with the help of other people. I just don't think anyone accomplishes very much on their own. And so I feel that any experience, no matter how commercial, no matter what kind of experience it is, it can be built in a way that encourages you to interact with others. To make new friends, to work with friends in accomplishing something -- that's a net positive. Even if it seems very subtle.

I've seen video games change people's lives. I've built games that have changed people's lives. And it's really exciting for me to continue to do that even if it's not overt. I'm always able to see a net positive from putting experiences in front of people to reach out, participate, and most importantly to create something new.

The most powerful stories that you can tell are twofold. One is something you have a personal passion for, because you'll be able to tell those stories better than anything else. But the second half of that is one that tends to get overlooked, which is: the stories that make the audience feel empowered. If you can figure out a way to make your intended audience feel empowered -- if you can make them feel more of a badass for having gone through your story, know something more, experience something more, understand their world a little bit better -- those are the people that are going to stick with you. They are the ones who are going to grow your audience for you. They are the ones who are going to facilitate your career, your ability to tell more stories in the future.

If you can keep those two things somewhere in the back of your head -- passion and the ability to empower that audience -- you're almost playing with fire.


Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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