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Cinematic action is a terrible goal for games, claims Dishonored dev


The Dishonored devs have been speaking to GI.biz about videogames. Their videogames versus everybody else’s videogames, to be more precise. To be even more precise: the way their games work in direct contrast to the Hollywood-minded, cinematic popcorn blockbusters that dominate the charts and rake in mountains of publisher-influencing cash. It’s a superb read, I suggest you go read it, that re-affirms an impression I’ve had of Dishonored since it was first shown: that it looks, feels and moves like a 90s PC game in a way so few games today do – because the team behind it are making the game they want to play.

Dishonored’s co-director Harvey Smith spoke of his preference for true interactivity and player choice, an increasingly rare commodity in triple-A titles:“We think about the player experience we want and we go for that, not a cinematic experience, but an interactive experience. [If] you’re following a trail of breadcrumbs left by the designer it’s the same experience every time, and two different people will have exactly the same experience. The goal is cinematic action, which is a terrible goal for games. Really, if you’re making a game the goal should be improvisation.”

Ever the consummate professional, Harvey Smith goes on to describe, but not name, the Uncharted series as an example of the sort of game he doesn’t enjoy playing, adding: “you can be completely rock ‘n’ roll about it [instead] and say, ‘fuck it, we’re gonna do everything different from everyone else. We’re driven by this one impulse creatively.’ You can be successful, or fail, either of those ways.”

Tim played Dishonored at Gamescom and breathlessly declared it the game of the show, a promising outlook and hopefully a measure of the the success that Arkane’s rock ‘n’ roll approach to development might bring. The thing’s out on October 12.