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Getting from Modern War to the Future of Video Games
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Getting from Modern War to the Future of Video Games

August 14, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 7 Next

So, I think in regards to what you're talking about, it is interesting for us to have a player to be in control of more of these moments, right? For Conviction, it was the same thing. We had interrogations in Conviction. It made sense. Sam was running all over the United States to figure out what happened to his daughter, so we came up with this idea of having a mechanic where Sam was asking questions. 

I think the crazy or the sad thing in that is that sometimes we're the first ones to try these different things and they are subjects that are very touchy sometimes, so it's difficult to put in true gameplay in a sense. 

I'll go back to Conviction. Conviction, you couldn't fail at interrogations. So, to me, they weren't really gameplay. They were interactive, right? You would bash a guy left and right, and blah, blah, blah. I think it was more interesting than if we had a non-interactive cinematic, so I think it was a win for that, but it wasn't an ultimate win where you had true gameplay and you were really in control of what happened, and you could play it well, play it badly, fail, or retry. 

At the same time, it's a subject that's really touchy, and I think although we're a game that's mature, those subjects are -- it's not like the design note goes to your brand new game designer on the team and you're like, "Hey, design us a morality system linked with interrogations, and I'll see you in a week." 

You're talking about these interrogation sequences. You said there's something too sensitive about that to just say, "Hey, implement this." I guess what I'm trying to get to find out is, how do you make these decisions about what you're going to include, from a content perspective? Particularly coming off the fact that you did remove some of the content you'd shown. I'm not sure if it was because of the reaction, or because you felt it wasn't working creatively. 

MB: Okay, so I've got a couple of things I can tell you. Let me repeat, just so I'm super clear with you: My ultimate game is the holodeck, where the player has ultimate freedom of choice. That's the dream that maybe I'll live long enough to see, and we'll end up having the tech to create games like that. 

So, to me, games are about freedom. They're about being in control of your choices. So that's my ultimate game. So every time that I make a game, I try to make a game in which the player is in control, has agency on everything -- he does as much as I can. Right? 

Does that make sense? I'm not in the game-making business to make movies. I'm not there because I've got aspirations to do 20-minute cutscenes. I'm there because I think that the player is having fun and he's enjoying our medium when he's actually pressing buttons on a controller, or jumping in front of a camera, or something.

So, with that in mind, my second thing that I come back to is while I'm making a game that is Splinter Cell, it's about counterterrorism, right? It's a hero game about a secret spy. So, obviously our story is going to revolve around Sam probably saving the world or saving the United States, or something. And he's probably going to have to face bad guys, because that's the core of our gameplay loop right now. But from there, we're always wondering how we can add to it. How can we make the player be in control of other things than just either hiding in the shadows, or doing hand-to-hand kills, or shooting people in the face.

So, I think from there, we come up with a story and our story -- you know how it is. It's a creative process. It's not like we get up one morning and the game is in all of our heads and then we just start implementing it. The way I'm a creative director -- maybe I'm different from other creative directors -- but for me it's about making a game with people. It's about making a game with a team of people that have their own ideas, and I don't want to make the game that's in my head, I want to make the game that's going to get everyone on the team excited and working hard to make it as amazing as possible. 

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