1up has posted an extensive post-mortem about the recently-released, cinematic Indigo Prophecy, aka Fahrenheit. The post-mortem is written by the game’s writer/director David Cage. I haven’t played Indigo Prophecy yet, but definitely plan to.
Clearly Cage and his Quantic Dream team have design goals in line with what some of us at GTxA proselytize and develop, as several people at various conferences who were following Quantic Dream had hinted to us over the past couple of years. Cage writes:
I like to call this game an “Interactive Drama”, which in my mind suggests the fact that the player acts and interacts in a narrative and emotional experience.
Cool, good to see that descriptor being used more, and it seems appropriate for this piece. That said, while they had the people-power of a team of 80 in production for 2 years on it, I see the project’s biggest obstacle as interface: their design was constrained by needing to run on console machines, where the controller is only a few buttons and two analog sticks. I.e., interactive drama with an action title’s interface mechanics. The post-mortem vaguely describes how Cage came to some sort of Dance-Dance-Revolution-like interface design, which to me seems like an odd match for interactive drama, but was perhaps the best one could come up with under those constraints. (Never mind the CPU constraints of console machines, for AI purposes.) I’ll have to play it to understand the interface better; I assume for dialog they necessarily went for menu-based dialogs, which while almost universal in games is also quite limited, of course.
About narrative structure, Cage describes his concept of “rubber band stories”:
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