David Braben, who developed Elite and has recently been talking up his latest, the espionage-themed The Outsider (and giving backhanded compliments to games like Bioshock in the process). Gamasutra has an interesting interview up with Braben, talking about new paths for narrative design, what he and Frontier Developments are hoping to do with The Outsider, and what everyone in the industry is doing wrong:
We really need to move forward on story — as one of the fronts. That’s not the only front left ….
I had an argument with somebody that there were only four types of gameplay, and then out comes Populous. Okay, there are five, then. And usually, it’s an excuse to plagiarize. We all take inspiration from other games, and that’s fine. It’s when we take inspiration and don’t do any more. That’s the sad thing. When you don’t move it forward. And there’s a danger. Some of the games that fortunately don’t get much airtime don’t necessarily do that. That’s a missed opportunity. Especially these days, where we’re making fewer games than we used to. We’re essentially being trusted to use the opportunity to do something fantastic, and if we don’t we should get slapped around — which I’m sure we will do.
Well, now I’m curious to see if Braben and his team can actually deliver – talking about grand plans is one thing, putting them into practice (in a manner that actually works) is another. I’m all for improved narrative design, but plenty of developers have gone down the ‘revolutionary’ path only to fall flat on their face with a disappointed audience who was expecting more.
Next-Gen Narrative: The David Braben Interview [Gamasutra]