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Cage: The future of games is meaning

Quantic Dream CEO on how better stories can make games more mainstream

The CEO of Quantic Dream has called on the industry to bring more meaning to its games during his talk at GDC Europe in Cologne.

"I believe that the future of games will be meaning," said David Cage.

"I hope that there is a future for video games that will have more meaning and that will become - yes we should dare to say it - some kind of art form."

"We are a still a niche, a big niche, but still a niche"

This meaning, he believes, will help games find the wider audience that has so far eluded them.

"In this industry we think that we are mainstream, that we're appealing to everyone out there. Actually, when you think about it, films are appealing to a wide market, TV is appealing to a wide market, it's not the case with video games yet. We are a still a niche, a big niche, but still a niche."

He said that the biggest challenge wasn't convincing gamers that this was the case, but convincing publishers, developers and the press that creating meaning in their games was important.

Merging cinematography and interactivity also presented challenges, he explained, as did the massive volumes of assets created by the process. As an example he pointed to Beyond: Two Souls, which currently has 2000 pages of script, a year's worth of shooting on set, 20,000 unique camera shots, and 50 hours of unique animations.

"I think we are getting closer and closer to photorealistic rendering," he said of his work with PlayStation 4.

"I don't know if we will reach a point during this cycle where you won't be able to tell the difference between a film and a game, but I know we're going to get really close to that during this cycle."

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Latest comments (13)

Max Clayton Clowes Studying Computer Science, Durham University3 years ago
Really? Surely it's mobile games virtually devoid of story with pure and addictive gameplay elements that have brought gaming into the mainstream, whereas games with more sophisticated and developed story elements are resigned to obscurity. It seems like games doing what games do best will be the future of games, not games desperately pretending to be another form of media.
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 3 years ago
Meaning in art is directly connected to authorship.

If you read criticism throughout the ages... Libraries are full of it... You will see the study often tracing its way back to the author: their experiences, what was happening in their life when they made a piece, the meaning of the work vis-a-vis who the author was or was like, etc.

Without that - in an industry of "studios" (studios aren't authors) - what do you have?
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
Playable games?

I avoid any game that relies on a story, mainly because I want to blow shit up or drive fast. I love reading and I do a lot of it, but I choose to do that with books where the stories can be a damned sight more in-depth than in a game. Chiefly because the author draws the line art and I fill in my own colours. Games just aren't like that.

My idea of a (edit: game) story stops with a brief explanation of why my army has to kill theirs.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 21st August 2013 1:28am

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Show all comments (13)
Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd3 years ago
"The greatest game of all is real life".
I avoid any game that relies on a story, mainly because I want to blow shit up or drive fast.
That's the sole reason I've only completed a handful of missions throughout the entire GTA series!
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend3 years ago
Change the record Tim, stop living in the past.

Like it or not, the games industry will do what it sees fit, not resort to some draconian thinking that we should do what people have done for hundreds of years.

Welcome to the future, enjoy your stay and don't hit your head on the way out.....

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 21st August 2013 2:09pm

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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters3 years ago
I feel a bit like a stuck record, but how about some people make games with stories and some people make games without? You know, because some people like games with stories and some people don't. Why in every topic does there always have to be a right or wrong way to make games? Everyone has different tastes and as a whole industry you cater for all of them, otherwise somewhere along the line you're leaving money on the table.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
When that happens, it's usually reacting to people that saying "x should be this way, because that's what I'm doing". When they're wrong. :)
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Sergio Rosa "Somewhat-Creative Director", Domaginarium3 years ago
This is feasible only if games with meaning are less complicated to play. As Max said, mobile games have brought gaming to the masses, not games with meaning (and I am not a fan of mobile games, by the way). One day I made my mother play realMyst, a game that's basically "click where you want to go," and she couldn't even exit a room. David Cage should remember that's the kind of people he's aiming when he says he wants a wider audience.

On the other hand, I think it's a shame he's way too focused in technology. Photorealistic rendering and top-of-the-line motion capture won't help if the rest of the elements in a game don't work (be it story or gameplay). Also, photorealistic rendering won't turn into expert gamers those who are afraid of picking up a controller.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
Standard big studio arrogance Sergio. "I want more people to play my stuff, so instead of making my stuff accessable to them, I'll try to re-educate them and make em like this. Because I want to do this."

There are a lot of people in this industry, sadly most of the "names", that are completely out of touch with who their audience is, what they want, how they want to pay for it, etc. That so many indies are getting it right, with none of the advantages a big studio can offer, should shame these people into silence.

Don't tell me how you will revolutionise. Show it me working!
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters3 years ago
When that happens, it's usually reacting to people that saying "x should be this way, because that's what I'm doing". When they're wrong. :)
I totally agree. At least as far him saying "all games should be like this". I would like more games with better storytelling and depth, personally (and I don't mean at the expense of interactivity), but not all games! Just like I like a good RPG, I'd be a bit annoyed if RPGs were the only games anyone ever made.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
Exactly. I'd even go so far as to say that storytelling has a place even though I don't personally like it all that much. A rich mix has to be the best way to get new people excited.
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Julien ROBY3 years ago
It feels like someone is still trying to make a movie rather than video games here..
I'm not sure why people in the 21st century would still think managing to create a movie through the video game media is the pinnacle form of video games - when by doing that they just annihilate what originally made the video game media unique: interactivity. Like if video games could not find their own way and would only be a lesser form of art than movies - until they could manage to completely mimic them.
You can still look at what other medias are doing but there's really no point in trying to turn a game into a movie...
Yes games may need more meaning (and some may not) and that's fine but, again, that doesn't mean turning games into movie - otherwise, pro tip: just do a movie it will be faster and easier and you'll get exactly what you want to do: force down an experience down the audience throat with minimum authorship from this audience (which is the opposite of what video games are for). So please let's not turn all video games into branching movies and let the media flourish with all the variety of style and expression it can support thanks to its specifics.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Julien ROBY on 22nd August 2013 7:44am

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Igor M D 3 years ago
@Paul
My idea of a (edit: game) story stops with a brief explanation of why my army has to kill theirs.
Completely agree with you - that's how it should be. People (most of them) don't care about the story behind Mario saving the princess - they just want to jump on goombas.

@Julien
It feels like someone is still trying to make a movie rather than video games here..
Indeed, some one should point out to David Cage that he should probably try his talents in movie making.
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