Written by: Adam “ManKorn” Korenman, CC2K Video Games Editor
3) Leaking the Story
Pop Quiz: How many movie trailers have you seen where the ENTIRE story is told in the span of 3 minutes? How about where they reveal key plot points and spoil huge moments in the movie? I’m looking at you, Castaway, Terminator: Genesys, Nim’s Island. And now we’re starting to see this in video games as well. Metal Gear Solid V is so concerned about staying in the limelight that they’ve revealed just about everything you could possibly want to know about the game. Granted, this is Hideo Kojima, so there’s always a chance you play the second act as the Fire Whale, but that’s an outside chance.
Bethesda has stated that they will not discuss anything story related until launch, as they want gamers to experience the tale first hand. It is a bold move, and one that should become a more common trend in the industry. Franchises like Halo can get away with revealing a bit of story because most buyers want the action, not the yarn. RPGs tend to play things a little closer to the chest, and that is a great trait. I for one play my games for story, and I invent a story if one is not readily apparent. Each of my units in Civilization has a history, wants, and needs. I appreciate the lengths Bethesda is going to in order to avoid spoilers, and I think that the industry would be better if more developers took this lesson to heart.
In the beginning, video games were a means to an end. You had to get block A to eat circle B so that a musical tone would let you know you’d passed a level. Games didn’t even have defined endings until Crystal Castles (1983). But that time is long passed, and the industry has finally been recognized for telling some pretty amazing stories. I dare anyone to tell me they played Last of Us and felt nothing for the characters. Or that you got through Uncharted without chuckling at Nathan’s dialogue. Imagine how much less powerful some of those moments would have been had the story been spoiled already.
Games take a lot of work to create, and there is only so much time to focus on each aspect of the product. Bethesda is one of the few companies using their time wisely.