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Video Games NEED a Story? - #17

Dude Soup: Video Games NEED a Story? - #17

After almost a full month of guests on Dude Soup, we're back to just the Dudez: Brucie Boy, AdorableAdam, Lil' Larry Sunshine, and Jamz Chillemz. Bringin' it to ya old school and talkin' about sweet stuff like Mad Max (awesome) Rock Band & Guitar Hero (yeee-haw) and, of course, farts.

It's good to be back.

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Comments (23)

  • tampacrow FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Furry Brows

    2 years ago

    Welcome to the "Bash Naughty Dog Podcast"

  • ZykBRooster FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 years ago

    Solid gameplay and mechanics are the sine qua non of video games. That said, the best games have these and more: quality art, story, and design provide a game's meaning and ambience, making it distinctive and memorable. Conversely, all of the expert story, art, and design in the world can't save a game that is frustrating, unsatisfying, or downright unfair to play. I would liken a game with perfect gameplay and nothing else to an extremely sexy girl (or guy) without higher cognitive function - essentially a doll whose attractiveness is diminished with every passing moment.

    That said, I watched this only because its title is not entirely capitalized.

  • cybasheep_

    2 years ago

    I think the story vs. mechanics debate is just a proxy of two generalized types of players who don't get along very well if they are on the extreme ends of the spectrum: Players looking for immersion and players looking for diversion.

    "Story" (setting, characters, environment, mood) is a thing that's important to players looking for immersion in their games. "Mechanics" (rules, controls) are important to players looking for diversion in their games.

    Players out there aren't strictly one or the other naturally and in multiplayer games, things get more complicated.

  • Outis FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Non Mea Culpa

    2 years ago

    Wow, the discussion around this is amazing. There's some great stuff in the Dude Soup podcast page version too ( I'm scared to go check what kind of infantile shit-slinging is going on in the youtube comments...

  • squidgeart

    2 years ago

    The best stories in games are ones that are subtle. I was playing Skyrim the other day and I spotted a skeleton clutching a flag on a small island off of Skyrim's coast. There was no journal, or note, or diary entry, but something must of happened to make the figure clutch that flag beyond death. It wasn't part of a quest, but it does tell a narrative of the game's setting.

  • metalfear23 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 years ago

    Holy shit! The comments have become chapters. I didn't realize that so many fans of funhaus were writers. Thanks for bowl of dude soup, I now only throw up twice. It is getting better each time.

  • Lipke

    2 years ago

    This was not the best video to start off watching you guys on, because it fucking sickened me.
    A game's story is half of the game. This would be the part where I write "Period" and submit the comment, but there are exceptions such as the aforementioned Guitar Hero and similar.

    There are several core elements of game design.
    Mechanic Design- design of a game's mechanics, gameplay.
    Level Design- it is as it sounds.
    Art design and similar- technically not a part of the design team, but you get the gist.
    Content Design- the design of the characters, world, plot, and writing. This is the important part.

    The greatest games of all time have all had intricate storylines. The original Halo trilogy. Dark Souls. Mortal Kombat. inFamous. Assassin's Creed, back when it was still good. The GTA storylines are ignored masterpieces, overshadowed by the game's level of chaos.

    Video games are not just "games". They are pieces of art, and like all good artwork, each one needs to tell a story.

  • Turquaz619 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 years ago

    On the hype discussion, I believe people still do it for popular franchises to show and gather more support. That way companies get more revenue and are thereby more likely to continue with the franchise. Its similar to why views matter to youtubers. To me it isn't just mindless rabble, it's a way of gathering support and attention for a franchise or company you enjoy.

  • Get_Scared13 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 years ago

    I touch dirt all the time in Witcher 3!

  • Mufasa1789 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 years ago

    Naughty Dog ended Sly 3 the SAME way. Sly ends up trying to settle down with Carmalita, even though he does it in a SLY way... GET IT? I'm sorry... Anyways it's basically the same, and then he decides to start stealing again, leading to Sly 4.

  • darksider2 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Inquisitor

    2 years ago

    In Warframe you can steer your space ship during the loading screens, there you go James, its not hard to do.

  • mudbutt4life

    2 years ago

    I think you guys brought some great points to help aid your opinion that stories don't matter, I prefer gameplay to story just like you I mean it is called Video "Games" for a reason, if I want a good story I would watch LoTR. But having a charismatic character is very important, example Red Dead Redemption John Marston was a terrific character with a great story and all that jazz. But towards the end of the game you have to play a different character and its a whole different experience a horrifying experience, even though its the same exact gameplay (fuck you Jack)

    Another example Halo 2 I dreaded playing as the Arbiter so much in fact I stopped playing a fantastic well made shooter I mean Adam you cant defend the Arbiter it was boring, you could try and I would love to hear your opinions and how you would try to persuade a simpleton like me but none the less, what I am trying to say is that supreme ruler of games is and should always be gameplay but if it isn't a multiplayer game (TitanFall) a sports game or a fighting game it should have a decent enough story to keep me wanting to come back and see what happens. Keep up the great content guys and you will keep having me as a fan.

  • derpjuan

    2 years ago

    Three examples of great games are the walking dead season one, Witcher 3, and pacman. Personally I love all these games but they are all very different so it is hard for me to say "story doesn't matter" or "the story makes the game" because I think it is a balance of the two that makes the game. What would the walking dead be without the story? It would be kaka and what would pacman be without the game play? It would also be shite.
    I think destiny is a good example of a game where they got the balance of story to gameplay wrong. To some people it really pissed them off, to others they didn't care at all. I think that the game play story balance was also a little off in the last of us.
    I think the biggest sign of a bad game play story balance is mixed reviews. Both destiny and the last of us some people hate and some people love its a preference thing

  • nopenotchloe FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 years ago

    My main thing with stories in video games is that, if you don't have amazing internet access because of money or where you live, or maybe don't enjoy the multiplayer environment, you do kind of need a story to make the most out of offline content.

    My house didn't have internet access until 2012, because we couldn't afford it, especially during the recession. However, me and my brother shared a PS3 that we'd gotten one Christmas, and could maybe afford one new game every two or three months. However, we had to make sure to buy games with good - or at least decent - story, like GTA or Heavy Rain - because otherwise it would just have no replayability factor.

    I'm not saying that story should be valued over gameplay, because there's no way you can enjoy a game when it's glitchy or broken or, say, you can't touch dirt. But for some people, especially those who simply can't access multiplayer whenever they want, without it that £45 was kinda not well spent.

    /confused and inarticulate babbling

  • Andioeast

    2 years ago

    I really love how much you guys celebrate the downfall of video games.
    If the game is supposed to be story-driven (as Destiny was announced and Bungie didn't fail to deliver in the Halo era, so there was a certain degree of trust in their abilities and their usual level of quality). On the other hand there is nothing worse than stories in racing games like NFS (opinion).
    Personally, I think trailers shouldn't spoil the story. They should give us a general understanding of the over-all setting and the mood in the story.
    A game doesn't have to have a story when they are about a certain game play mechanic like completely multiplayer focus. Like World of Tanks. When story is an elemental part of a game (like in Elder Scrolls) it should be done well, though.

  • cpond1 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 years ago

    I think stories are a useful way of providing context, of providing a reason for doing the things you are doing in the game.
    In multiplayer games you're playing so that you can be better than the other players, or so you can laugh together when things go hilariously wrong.
    But in singleplayer you don't have that social aspect, so the game needs to give you the reason for playing, whether it's saving the world, or the princess, or your own life. I don't think complex stories are necessary, just something simple that is built upon as the game progresses.

  • Audega

    2 years ago

    I couldn't agree with your stance on gameplay more, FH. Stories in video games are a lot like pretty graphics; they help the final product, but they aren't integral to the experience. If you take the story out of Halo, it's still a fantastic game. Same goes for Skyrim, Dark Souls, and GTA.

    Then there's the other side of the coin, where the bulk of the experience rests in the story, to which I ask "Why was this ever a game instead of a movie or mini-series?" The Order: 1866 comes to mind.

    One of the exceptions to this line of thinking is the Mass Effect series, because Bioware actually made the story part of the gameplay. I care just as much about which race or character survives the journey as I do about the exploration, shooting, and RPG mechanics. While I do believe that the core gameplay should come first, in this style of game, the story becomes part of the core gameplay. Because the game relies so heavily on player choice and the idea that every single thing you do has an effect on the world, it's crucial that the story is cohesive, makes sense, and that consequences occur naturally and fairly.

    P.S.: I never played the Uncharted series, but from playing The Last of Us, I feel I should point something out. I don't enjoy the story in that game (the gameplay isn't anything to write home about, either), however, the characters have a certain realistic charm to them and the way they react to certain situations, and I feel like this is what people connect with, despite what some people claim. Take the narrative out, however, and what you have is a slow, clunky Gears of War clone with a shallow crafting system.

  • WellSlapMe

    2 years ago

    This was a thought I had about GTA V mods. Do y'all think rockstar should have two differnt online experiences. One where no mods are allowed, if you play with any game altering mods you get banned. The other experience is where mods are allowed and people can have all the fun they want. Do y'all think this could work?
    Great videos keep up the fantastic work. Joel is cool

  • Caeric An Observer

    2 years ago

    Games don't need stories. It's weird that this is even a discussion, 'cause games generally don't have stories. It's only with war games, board games and video games that this perception has changed.

    That said, story is not some sweaty rag that you want to toss aside. Story, like physics, lighting, interaction, controls, and textures (and everything else) is a tool for gameplay that designers CAN take advantage of, if it befits their game.

    For instance, I encourage you guys to go play your copy of Portal (you probably own it, whether or not you realize it). There's an option to play the game with Valve's developer commentary floating around in the levels to be activated. They did this with Left 4 Dead, as well (and maybe Left 4 Dead 2?). They're all worth it. Go take a look.
    One comment I'll always recall is that the inclusion of narrative came near the end of development when they found that people fatigued too quickly from completing puzzles on and on. To solve this, they created a character that, ideally, made the player laugh at the end of each level, to encourage the player to keep playing so they could hear another joke. GLaDOS came about to motivate people to keep playing. It succeeded, too -- they found that people played Portal longer and with more interest with the addition of the voice of GLaDOS. The developers used story as a mechanic in the game to encourage play.

    The skew of perception about games and story comes from the industry's uncertainty about video games, as a medium. Hollywood makes its money by throwing out story trailers, so the video game industry followed suit. I think video game companies looked to films because the film industry has been on a meteoric rise pretty much since its inception. Makes sense to emulate that success.

  • Outis FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Non Mea Culpa

    2 years ago

    I agree that a game doesn't need a story, and I certainly believe that a game's greatest merit is in the core gameplay mechanics. However (there's alway a however), as a game is a medium like a book, movie, or song, I believe that it works best when it is used to explore a narrative. There are creations that are meant purely for aesthetic (I'm using that term in the broadest sense of something which is sensationally appealing; in this case something like the Transformers movies would fall under the aesthetic definition, and in games the equivalent would something with fun mechanics and no story, like TF2), there are pieces that are meant to explore new techniques for the medium one is working in (Antechamber springs to mind), and there are pieces which use the unique features of the medium to deliver narrative. As the team seemed to agree, the unique feature of a game is that you can interact with it, and that you are not simply being told a story. But even beyond some nattering voiceover delivering exposition, everything in a game is meant to deliver on the story. Without the meta-story of Assassin's Creed, the place and mechanics of the game deliver a story. That said, if there was a game where you just went around Renaissance Italy murdering Popes and seducing women for no reason, there would be no resonance, even though it would be the story of some psychopath. I got the feeling that a big reason you guys hated Raven's Cry so much (beyond it being broken as hell) was that it had no point- shit just happened. As Adam points out, the polish on the world and story of Witcher 3 makes all of the fetch chains bearable, because there's at least some sense of why I need to go rescue whatever damsel in distress.

    On the subject of trailers, it seems to me that there are two issues. One, which is more a matter of managing expectations, is the problem of trailers which have absolutely nothing to do with the game, like Dead Island, or ODST. This is an example of hype building, but as was pointed out, you simply need to be mature and realize that what is being shown is an analogue intended to evoke emotions in you, which you will hopefully map onto the idea of the game. I think the problem James has is with the "close enough" form of trailer, which are more deceitful. The tone of these are "Hey, look at our game (trailer)! Doesn't this game (trailer) look great? Look at how Geralt is touching the dirt in our game (trailer). Have fun trying to filter out the cutscenes!" It's the inclusion of assets and mechanics that aren't central to the game in a way that is confusing at best. I understand disliking this kind of trailer, but honestly I love the early, hype-filled, conceptual ones.

    tl;dr: 1. games don't need story, but it helps, and no story tends to make a game suck.
    2. bullshit ads are bullshit, but ODST ad was awesome and obviously not the game, so it's ok.

  • joedanis FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 years ago

    Just ask Destiny how they did in sales. That should answer your question.

  • Mcboner Absolutely Ridiculous

    2 years ago

    In the first half of this podcast and in previous podcasts I couldn't quite understand the appeal of gameplay over story in games that you guys seem to generally agree on until Bruce's explanation. The fact that you can only get good gameplay in games and not any other media clicked with me and helped me realize that I unknowingly agree with it.

    My favorite games of all time are TF2 and Metroid Prime (unpopular, yes I know) but these games have fantastic core gameplay to me but also great stories IF you want to explore them.

    So thank you all for clearing that up for me, and keep up the great work!

  • baranna1 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 years ago

    So I noticed the lack of ad reads in the past couple of podcasts. Did advertiser feel like you gone to far with metaphors like vibrating dildos all over the face or did you feel you guys needed more time to talk. Personally i think you guys had the best ad reads here at RT.

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