Dishonored Developer: Cinematic Action Is A 'Terrible Goal For Games'

The more gameplay footage I see, the more excited I become for Dishonored — a game that truly seems to exist in its own little vacuum. As corny as it sounds, I'm looking forward to playing a video game that doesn't signpost every step of the way, or funnel down a series of corridors. Speaking to Games Industry International, Arkane's Harvey Smith provided an insight into the kind of game they hope Dishonored will become, and the kind of game they don't want to make.

"We think about the player experience we want and we go for that - not a cinematic experience, but an interactive experience," said Smith. "[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.

"There are many ways to be successful. You could go out and aim for a very mainstream story, make it look like a Hollywood adventure movie, have the best dialogue and voice-acting ever, and the smoothest animations ever, and put this likeable American male in a variety of epic situations - hanging from a train, or whatever - and you can capture an audience that way and be very successful. I mean, I didn't like that particular game, but all of my friends did.

"On the other hand, you can be completely rock 'n' roll about it 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. At a certain point, I came to mistrust formulas, because I've seen so many examples of people failing or succeeding by following a certain blueprint."

It's very easy to criticise other games — even top quality productions like Uncharted (which Smith seems to be referring to) but I always get a little narky when a developer insists that one specific direction is the correct way to go. I like variety in my gaming experiences, and there are times when I do prefer the easy, on-rails experience of a game like Uncharted — and I think it's wrong to say that developers can't be ambitious or push boundaries within that template.

That said — I ultimately prefer the kind of emergent gameplay that Arkane is clearly attempting to create with Dishonored, and I admire the way in which Arkane is going about realising that unique vision. Rock and roll, I guess!

Dishonored: No Marines, No Elves, No Bank Heists [Games Industry International]


Comments

    The guys working on this game definitely have their head in the right place. Between this and the comments made by their Art designer in regards to how boring and generic games are looking, i'm loving every word that comes out of their mouths.

    I'm all for some new open-ended experiences... but I get uneasy if I constantly feel like I'm going to be missing something if I take the "wrong" path.

    So hopefully it can strike a nice balance between open-ended gameplay and structured narrative that lets me see most of what the game has to offer in one or two play-throughs.

    Any art form really desperately needs artists/creators who deeply disagree with each other. Otherwise it just becomes a circle-jerk of producing the same thing over and over and congratulating each other for it!

      I'm going to agree with you here.

      Aha! Consensus! Even more deadly to academia than artistry! :)

    This game hasnt even been released yet and the developers are talking like they allready know there game is gonna be the greatest ever.

    Game hasnt been released yet, and so far it feels like Dishonoured is copying nearly every game out there.
    Has the same dark atmosphere as Bioshock1 and 2 and the graphics engine looks very similar to Bioshock Infinite.

    So far Im not getting this game.
    Looks like the developers are getting us over excited cause this game looks more like a game that uses the Breadcrumbs, just that the breadcrumbs go in different directions.

    And who does this loony think he is putting down Uncharted. Those 3 games have the smoothest gameplay ever, graphics and the enviroments look stunning and it is truly like playing a hollywood movie.

    Developers really need to start shutting up. They talk and state there opinions, but just like this Harvey Smith guy, they sound like they are trying to force there opinions on us and that every game he didnt make must be shit.

    There a multiple genres and unlimited ways to make game so these developers just need to keep to making games and stop bashing the games and genres they hate. Waaaaay to much opinion these days.

      "graphics and the enviroments look stunning and it is truly like playing a hollywood movie."

      This is what's wrong with the industry these days though. It's not Hollywood, these are not movies, these are videogames. If anything devs need to start disagreeing a hell of a lot more, start fighting forced multi additions, generic game ideas and the whole mindset in the industry that new IPs are bad and that they need the COD audience. Without people like this, expressing these opinions and pushing out risky games like this, the industry faces stagnation and we all get stuck playing the same garbage over and over. Think of it, nothing but brown and grey military shooters and "realistic" games.

      Your focus on graphics is ridiculous, graphics do not equal fun, it just makes damn sure the games look dated much faster. I'd rather an ugly game that plays like a dream, free from gratuitous scripted events and QTEs than a pretty game full of them.

      "Looks like the developers are getting us over excited cause this game looks more like a game that uses the Breadcrumbs, just that the breadcrumbs go in different directions."
      Even if this turns out to be true, it's still preferable to "walk over the invisible line, cue scripted event".

        Also, this Harvey Smith guy, I hear he's worked on some very important games that pushed the envelope, succeeded. He might have earned the right to express that opinion.

      "and it is truly like playing a hollywood movie.” Why is that a good thing?

      "Developers really need to start shutting up. " No, they need to start talking more. I want to engage in discussions with developers about interesting ideas and ways of expanding what a game experience can be.

        I love the uncharted series but let me just say this
        In uncharted 3, In the sinking ship level where the water is flooding in and chasing you down the halls
        It's visually stunning to be sure and adrenaline pumping, Until you trip on the scenery and the whole façade comes crashing down, I realised I was barely playing the game, like it was a badly designed Sonic, hold right to win level
        It just doesn't feel the same now

    This game hasnt even been released yet and the developers are talking like they allready know there game is gonna be the greatest ever.

    Game hasnt been released yet, and so far it feels like Dishonoured is copying nearly every game out there.
    Has the same dark atmosphere as Bioshock1 and 2 and the graphics engine looks very similar to Bioshock Infinite.

    So far Im not getting this game.
    Looks like the developers are getting us over excited cause this game looks more like a game that uses the Breadcrumbs, just that the breadcrumbs go in different directions.

    And who does this loony think he is putting down Uncharted. Those 3 games have the smoothest gameplay ever, graphics and the enviroments look stunning and it is truly like playing a hollywood movie.

    Developers really need to start shutting up. They talk and state there opinions, but just like this Harvey Smith guy, they sound like they are trying to force there opinions on us and that every game he didnt make must be shit.

    There a multiple genres and unlimited ways to make game so these developers just need to keep to making games and stop bashing the games and genres they hate. Waaaaay to much opinion these days.

    if its anything like thief, which appears to have heavily influenced the design team, i am sold.

    Put me in the 'for' category for this. The day when every game out there is just one scripted set piece after another like Uncharted is the day I stop gaming.

    That said I do enjoy the odd heavily scripted set piece game. Moderation people!

      Didn't really pay much attention early on, but the more I read about Dishonored, the more interested I get. If the reviews are solid then I'll buy it.

      But at the same time - Uncharted is ****ing awesome.

    I'm all for this kind of "interactive gameplay", but I'd prefer it if developers weren't so afraid to push the boundaries and make truly diverging plotlines. Look at The Witcher 2 - one choice completely changes the middle of the game. In too many "choice" based games, it's just a short diversion and then back to the main plot, with little-to-no differences. Make people want to play the game more than once, maybe a NG+ to go down different plot routes. I understand that this is difficult to develop, and publishers will throw a hissy fit at developers making content that half the consumers will never experience, but I think it could be done.

    Maybe I'm just a little jaded over ME3, but I think it's mainly because this is what ME3 promised it would be, and ultimately wasn't.

    tl;dr: I'd like to see games that are able to reflect the player in their plots, rather than shallow detours to get to the same ending. Let the player guide the story, not the other way round.

    I kind of agree with him on the Uncharted front. I loved UC1, was blown away by UC2, yet am kind of lukewarm about UC3. It was just too similar to the previous games and the story wasn't as good as UC2 - while I still totally enjoyed it, I kept expecting it to kick into high gear and it never did. A couple of branching paths, or more open areas, hell - even options when it came to combat - really would have elevated the game, in my opinion. Hopefully, this is what The Last Of Us will deliver.
    On the Dishonoured front, though, I'm looking forward to it and I reckon he's got every right to dis other games if he wants to. However - he better bloody deliver, otherwise these comments will come back to bite him. As we all know - the internet never forgets, and gamers LOVE telling developers what they think of them.

    “On the other hand, you can be completely rock ‘n’ roll about it and say, ‘Fuck it, we’re gonna do everything different from everyone else. We’re driven by this one impulse creatively.’

    Rock n roll! Yeah! Awesome! Say, how are Nickelback going these days, anyway?

    Seriously, I'm looking forward to this guy's game, but he's way off bagging something like Uncharted just because it's not the same kind of game he wants to make. I'm just as happy watching a low budget, arthouse, independent movie as I am watching a good Hollywood blockbuster. There's more than enough room in the world for both, and the same applies to games, too.

      +1 for the last part, but....errr, are you implying that Nickelback is..Rock 'n Roll?

    Supernatural assassin is framed for killing the authority figure of a civilization.... supernatural assassin then miraculously escapes from jail.... sounds kind of like The Witcher 2. By "kind of" I mean sounds literally identical.

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