Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Digital Narrative

In conjunction with my emotional madness yesterday, Beyond: Two Souls, that video game “starring” Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, was showcased at the Tribeca Film Festival. A new leap forward for interactive story telling. (BTW, this isn’t the first game to appear at the festival. L.A. Noire was in 2011).

For those who don’t know, this game has been touted around for a few years by the French company Quantic Dream. It’ll be a PS3 exclusive set to release this October. And it’s very much an “interactive story” more along the lines of Heavy Rain, and less about playing a video game. Which makes sense now that you’ll see it at a film festival. Maybe E3 but I’m not going to hold my breath.

So what makes Beyond different? It’ll be more like an interactive novel with an expansive script. Over 2,000 pages Ellen Page noted. The game lets the player control Ellen’s character, Jodie Holmes, over a period of 15 years in her life as she tries to figure out who Aiden, this mysterious entity that follows her, really is. The production team have noted that the story will extend beyond the game and force people to ask questions.

It looks gorgeous and has a movie quality to it. What it’ll lack, at least from my impression, is that the game play will be lacking outside of “choose your own adventure.” We’ll see where it goes. I don’t imagine this will be a leap forward in game design, but it’s a start. Digital Narrative. Appropriate term.

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