Gamasutra has an interesting (short) interview up with Stephen Dinehart, “narrative designer” for Relic Entertainment, the Vancouver arm of THQ. The topic? Well, Company of Heroes in general – more specifically, narrative design, violence, and historical accuracy (or lack thereof). I’ve read a fair chunk of thoughts on narrative design in an academic context, so it’s nice to read how people think the stuff is being applied in real-world situations. Dinehart hopes that these sorts of games aren’t just excuses to shoot stuff, and feels that his narrative crafting helps facilitate a more mature examination of violence:
I’m hoping that the work I’m doing breathes more life into COH and the soldiers represented on the battlefield. I hope the player walks away with a window into the hearts and minds of the soldiers. The stories for both campaigns look deeply at the price of war. I am confident we are pushing the medium to new heights. You’ll have to finish both campaigns to see what I mean, and yes that is a big commitment.
A lofty order, to be sure, and time will tell if the majority of players feel it’s one Dinehart and his coworkers lived up to.