Damages videogame?

March 26, 2009

I have been watching Damages the TV series. Does anyone think that it would make a killer videogame concept? A sort of adventure based on talking with a clear end point and with a variety of open ended ways of getting there and a bit of trial lawyering thrown in…

I have seen the Max Payne movie and, man, the managed to really screw it up. I bet they could have had something much better just by staying true to the story line of the first game.

And the worst problem is that they stripped Mona Sax of all character and uniqueness by having her played by Mila Kunis. And I really, really liked Mona…

In a recent interview with The Telegraph Dan Houser, of Rockstar, talked about The Lost and Damned, the DLC for GTA IV, but he also added a few considerations related to the maturity of games and how he hopes that the “growing up” does not happen to soon as  “it’s really fun at the moment because we’re not in any Academy and the medium’s not codified”.  Houser seems to believe that somehow the the freedom of videogame creators would be constrained if games become more like books and movies.

I do believe one can argue against his idea but I believe the real moneyquote in the Telegraph interview is this one:

We always try to get the tone of the story and tone of the graphics to feel seamless. We’re trying to make a world that feels like it exists. And the old graphics were far more cartoony because that was all we could to, so the story and the writing needed to be as well”.

Houser basically says that we need graphics which grow in quality approaching near reality in order to have narrative in game which approaches the level currently found in books/movies/other arts. Well, let me call bullshit on this statement.

The level of graphics development and the level of maturity of the story are not connected in any way, except if the game creator really wants to tie them up together. The narrative in adventure games has been quite well developed since their appearance, even if the graphics were poor. Even in the GTA series (how I lived the first game in that series, with its top down look and orange conga walking pedestrians) a complex story could have been told in the graphics of GTA III. Polygon counts are not a prerequisite for good game writing.