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Jaffe: Developers should focus on gameplay, not story

Favouring narrative is "a waste of resources".

Developers need to focus their efforts on gameplay innovation rather than a misguided insistence on telling a fully-formed story, so says Twisted Metal creator David Jaffe.

Speaking today at the DICE event in Las Vegas, the famously outspoken Eat Sleep Play boss argued that the recent vogue for prioritising a game's narrative is both a waste of money and a threat to creativity.

According to Gamasutra's report, Jaffe stated that an over-emphasis on story "is a bad idea, waste of resources, of time and money and worst, has stuffed the progress of video games, to our own peril."

He singled out a sequence in Batman: Arkham City where you're handcuffed and only able to passively walk around as an example of where story impedes a player's enjoyment of the game.

Skyrim on the other hand, he argued, gets things right as the gameplay "is so compelling and engaging that the player, by the very nature of playing the game, is the story."

According to GamesIndustry.biz's coverage, he went on to suggest that any developers who have want to tell a deep, nuanced story would be better off writing a book or making a movie.

"A lot of these people will say 'I have something to say, I have a story to tell.' If you've really got something inside of you that's so powerful, like a story you've got to share or a philosophy about man's place in the universe, why in the f*** would you choose the medium that has historically, continually been the worst medium to express philosophy, story and narrative?" he said.

"Why wouldn't you write a book, why wouldn't you make a movie? It's like being one of the world's best chefs and working in the world's best restaurants, but you ply your trade in McDonalds.

"I think we need to adjust our thoughts, we need to change what we think this medium is. We've let the gameplay muscle atrophy," he concluded.

Jaffe's Twisted Metal revival is due out on PlayStation 3 from 7th March.

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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