Interactive Money Shot

I’ve written about Indigo Prophecy before, but I am bringing it up again because of this extremely interesting post-mortem of the game. Director David Cage writes about how Indigo Prophecy was planned and how it actually turned out, as well as about his reasoning behind certain design decisions. Everything he is saying is very relevant to horror games, but this particular passage caught my eye:

Most games oppose these two concepts or rather, they develop them in turn: a cut scene to advance the narration, then an action scene, then another cut scene for the narration. The structure of this narrative process is very close to that of porn movies.

What a great way to sum up the problem with video game stories! I think he’s right on, and I’m glad that he’s pointed out the correlation between games and a form of media that most people consider to be, ahem, lacking in narrative. As my friend put it, “if games are structure like porn, the developer had better make sure that the money shot is interactive and not just some cutscene.”

3 thoughts on “Interactive Money Shot

  1. Well, in his post mortem he is pretty candid about the failures of the game (like, say, the last third).

  2. Yeah, I was also amused by how he compares game design in general to porn games and yet his own game includes several actual porn sequences.

    I was impressed on how accurate his assessment of what went wrong with the story was. I actually had many of the exact same thoughts upon finishing the game.

    On the other hand, I disagree with him on what went right with the game. I thought the mental health aspect of the game weakened the game, because it felt very tacked on and didn’t do much (which makes sense because it was tacked on). I thought the use of archetypes for characters blew up horribly in their face: especially the use of the “cool Black cop” which just turned into a horrible racial stereotype. Finally, I thought the use of a “rubberband” system of storytelling (allowing the player to change individual parts of the story without affecting the story as a whole) was a complete and utter failure: the game had an illusion of great feedom for a couple of hours and then I realized the truth of the matter and felt horribly lied to.

    Still, despite my negative assessment of the final condition of his work, I must admit that was a very interesting read and an insightful piece into just what goes into making a game. Thanks for linking to it.

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