Army of Two director: Games tell stories 'very badly'

How will a shooter like Army of Two: The 40th Day tell a story like Spore?

Army of Two

Army of Two

In a recent interview with GamePro, Army of Two: The 40th Day director spoke very frankly about the way video games tell stories. When asked about how his work developing games like Spore and The Sims 2 at Maxis affected development of Army of Two: The 40th Day, Hutchinson responded that he hopes to bring the storytelling methods of those titles to Army of Two, stating "Player storytelling trumps game-authored story every time."

Citing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as an example, Hutchinson explains that a gamer is more likely to look back on his or her own combat experiences rather than the narrative being told by the game, no matter how well it's written.

How will a shooter like Army of Two: The 40th Day tell a story like Spore? Hutchinson elaborated that Army of Two will tell a more private story than most. Instead of having to save the besieged world of Army of Two, the main characters' focus will be on saving each other. While there are opportunities to save others, they are completely optional to the players, thus letting them dictate their own stories.

Hutchinson talked more about current video games using Hollywood-style stories, as he said "We need to realize that we tell traditional stories very badly [...] there are very few game stories that would get published in your average fiction magazine, and it's not because we have bad writers."

The problem, Hutchinson explained, is that players assume the lead role most of the time, and their attention can be diverted from the story quite easily, be it from real-life outside elements or non-storytelling elements within the game.

Concluding his talk about the two methods of storytelling, Hutchinson said of Army of Two: The 40th Day, "We enable other people's stories, and that is so powerful and fresh that if we nail it... the sky's the limit."

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Dave Rudden

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