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65 comments

  • Sinosaur - March 10, 2012 8:07 a.m.

    If video games are trying to create their own unique medium with it's own value, then the things it has to take advantage of are interaction and player input affecting the story. You can tell an amazing story and then throw a bunch of gameplay sections in between the cutscenes and maybe those cutscenes would make a really good movie, but if the sections where you play it aren't adding to the cutscenes, it's just a movie with some breaks. Where I assume Dave is looking is toward the fact that games can actually make you feel like you're part of the story, either through using active input from the player to advance it or change its direction or even give it any sort of context and meaning. An interesting example of both the questionable and the excellent in storytelling in games is Metal Gear Solid 3. It has all of those many long, long cutscenes that take up so much time, but it also has two examples of what games should go for in storytelling. It's a bit strange, but the boss fight with The End has the ability for the player to choose to skip it by letting it just sit for a week. It's not predetermined, you can beat it the normal boss fight way, too, if you want, but you can just let him die of old age by your actions (or in this case inaction). The other one is at the end, after you beat The Boss and Snake has to kill her. This isn't a cutscene, but you can't move or run away, the game refuses to advance until you pull the trigger. When I was playing, I didn't want to have to kill her, I actually let the game sit there as I thought about what I was being forced to do. This is the same sort of struggle Snake actually has, and this moment helped me connect to him as a character.
  • reverandglass - March 10, 2012 6:42 a.m.

    Great article, well written and articulate. Shame it complete misses the point. As others have said this is a TECH demo showing of QD's new engine not a CREATIVE demo nor a writing showcase. For all we know the guys at QD sat down and said "We want to recreate that Bjork video and cross it with BiCentenial Man." As a tech demo I'm impressed but any game produced will need to be more than an interactive movie with quick time events, like Heavy Rain was, to make me part with cash.
  • doomfather - March 10, 2012 4:48 a.m.

    As soon as I started watching I immediately thought of the Björk video too. I just don't think it was that amazing. It looks fairly pretty but although they may call it a tech demo, I see it as an animated short. What I want to see is the technology applied to a game scenario, even if it is merely walking around an office or something else equally mundane.
  • Craza - March 10, 2012 4:17 a.m.

    Your words are falling on the ears of people who think Family Guy's jokes are original. I'll admit, I didn't know about the Bjork video, but when I watched it, I couldn't see a blatant copying of ideas or even style. The video was neat, and at first I thought it was a bit similar, but about halfway through, I couldn't see the comparison. There have been lots of videos with robots or androids being assembled or disassembled. Ghost in the Shell, anyone? That bears much more resemblance to Kara/QD than Bjork. As far as the Twilight Zone comparison, yah, I can see where you're coming from. It is pretty similar, and I agree that it does detract from the originality of Kara, especially since it has the exact same setup. However, I was still interested in the short story being told here. Plus, this was mostly a visual effects display. It wasn't the basis for a game or movie like the creators clearly stated. I think reading too much into the story a DEMO is trying to tell is like giving a thought-provoking statement on the flower border of a napkin. It's a fucking napkin trying to look pretty. I dunno, reading articles like this that try to look into something so deeply really ruins whatever it is being looked into. It's like my Sophomore English teacher pushing the symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird down my throat without letting me come up with my own interpretation of what was being presented. I mean, it's great to be able to look into the messages being told and I have nothing against symbolism, but what's wrong with just being able to sit back and enjoy the show?
  • Megalovina - March 10, 2012 12:11 a.m.

    This is a pretty good analysis. I especially liked your point about it using a sexualized female body as a short cut to both titillate and provoke sympathy from the viewer. Quantic Dream has a troubling history of exploiting women's body to pander to their assumed heterosexual male audience. For a company that pats themselves on the back so much for being "mature" and "adult" their examples of sex and sexuality in their games are very adolescent and immature.
  • mothbanquet - March 10, 2012 5:53 a.m.

    Great tits though.
  • Fox_Mulder - March 9, 2012 9:42 p.m.

    C'mon Dave, all stolen writing and situations aside, you gotta admit Kara was pretty incredible. It made me care more for a character which I knew was only a droid in seven minutes as opposed to most 2 hour "drama" films in which I couldn't care less about the characters. I think that is what Kara's about. Emotion felt through stellar acting and through the use of computer graphics. I give no f***s about the story, because this is just a tech demo. It's the fact that the demo made me care for Kara like she was real.
  • PimplesInYourAsstista - March 9, 2012 8:02 p.m.

    I HAVE SEXUAL FUNCTIONALITY. JUST YOU WATCH.
  • elppa284 - March 9, 2012 6:49 p.m.

    Maybe part of the problem is that it's not just a demo. I watched the video numerous times, partly because I simply loved the extent of the expressions--yet also partly because I was deeply unsettled. It was like the same nasty aftertaste I got after watching Avatar. I kept on watching the same part over and over again too--the part when she's put back together and then smiles. SMILES. Why are you smiling? Because you're able to live? I don't know about the bjork video, but I was thinking about Winston from 1984 the entire time. Not because of dystopian societies or anything like that, but the fact that winston was driven to betray his very own thoughts in the most horrifying act of identity rape ever. Here we have, a vulnerable naked woman in front of us basically forced to open up herself to the public, but oh wait nevermind. Everything's good now! She totally didn't get mindraped. Then she thanks the guy. I'm sure she was glad she got to live, but thanking him just sends an awful message. The graphic-whore part of me can scream "it's just a tech demo" all I want, but since David Cage wants to connect emotionally with his audience, he should own up to the content of what he makes too. Pictures have meaning. They aren't just shiny pictures.
  • thomas-james - March 9, 2012 8:02 p.m.

    But you're still not getting it though. This wasn't about interactive storytelling or conveying emotion really. It was literally a tech demo to show off how advanced their technology has become. Of course it was filled with cliche storytelling elements, it was never meant to be anything more than a tech demo. You're reading far too much into it to be honest. You're essentially attacking the demo for being something that it's not ever meant to be in the first place, that's like trying to tell a kid to be an adult when he's actually just a kid. No matter how much you wanna make that kid be grown, they won't do it because they aren't grown. Not the best analogy but it gets my point across good enough I suppose.
  • elppa284 - March 9, 2012 8:49 p.m.

    you're completely right. I guess my expectations and hopes were too high ^^. Something about the video just makes me extremely unsettled and uncomfortable, and it has nothing to do with the graphics.
  • taokaka - March 9, 2012 6:43 p.m.

    I really enjoyed the demo and the way I see it is that you are missing the point, it's a seven minute tech demo in which no control is given to the player, so essentially a short animation and that is it. That is a huge constraint on how a story can be told, if you told an author to write a short story that could be read in seven minutes would you get a masterpiece? no, the constraints are holding back the text from expressing fully its themes, messages, characters, setting, etc so one simple message is needed. Otherwise if multiple messages were expressed throughout the story then they wouldn't have anyway near as much impact. In that regard I believe Kara has succeeded because it had a message and expressed it fantastically. Another thing is you seem to argue that the fact that Kara shares visual cues and themes with other media that it isn't worth our time due to the story being told before. I disagree strongly, most stories share elements with others, I challenge you to name one completely unique story with its own themes, setting etc. Also using some of the concepts of other stories isn't necessarily a bad thing, for example in many game reviews/previews I've heard critics give praise to a game for certain elements that weren't original and the game just merely created its own take on them. Overall I thought Kara was enjoyable, emotive and praiseworthy and disagree with many of your arguments.
  • psycho ninja 4 - March 9, 2012 6:10 p.m.

    its a demo for a graphic engine. If you expected a story go play heavy rain again or something.
  • VHSdream - March 9, 2012 6:03 p.m.

    I can't understand why people are so hung up on original story lines in an age where every story to tell has been told. Seriously, if you spend all your time thinking of an original story that no one has heard of (impossible) then you are wasting your time. Take for example two fairly recent films, The Wrestler and Crazy Heart. Both films have nearly identical stories. Old beaten down man way past his prime gives it one more shot and makes amends with people from his past he has harmed. It's been done a million times but does that stop these two films from being great? No. It comes down to execution, passion and talent. If those qualities are present in any work of art, the results are usually successful.
  • Parapraxis - March 9, 2012 5:47 p.m.

    I'd like to see he author put together and convey an emotional story within the span of a 7 minute tech demo. I doubt it would even be worth discussing. There is plenty of great video game story telling, and KARA by far does not "sum up the worst" of them. Seems like he has an axe to grind and thinks his own personal preferences can be stated as fact. You didn't like the story...too bad, go cry to your mother about how QuanticDream is un-original and "the worst". It was nice of them to try to deliver on more than one level in the first place.
  • Captain bongos - March 9, 2012 5:37 p.m.

    Fantastic article mr hoots, this is why I come to GR, I totally agree, why do we chase a medium which we are light years ahead of? Games need to embrace their game ness instead of trying to reach for Hollywood, it is a creative cul de sac, I blame metal gear solid!!!!! Great work xxxxxxxxxxxxxx love your writingsxxxxxxxx
  • Marcunio88 - March 9, 2012 5:23 p.m.

    Wading through the hype sea and smacking the nail squarely on the head, it's what I've come to expect from Mr Houghton. Yes the tech is very impressive but the storytelling is absolutely cringe worthy, and that is what I've come to expect from Quantic Dream
  • thomas-james - March 9, 2012 4:09 p.m.

    "I only have to read this to realize where the article is going. Last I checked, the demo was to showcase the "motion" technology. Upon reading this tripe, it's quite obvious the writer clearly took the video at face-value and then proceeds with his pretentious offering by dissecting the video and comparing it to other works if only to undermine the video in it's entirety. If the writer would even bother paying attention he would notice at the beginning of the video where it clearly says: "It is a concept only and is not taken from any software title currently in development" Then the writer would know that his whole article is completely and utterly pointless. As far as I'm concerned KARA would most likely not be a part of his upcoming project if anything it is a tech demo - end of story. " - DigitalAnalog(N4G.com) He summed up the article perfectly. Not that it was badly written, wonderfully written in fact. I loved to read every bit of it. But I think that the writer of the article didn't realize that everything was purposefully done that way because it wasn't meant to be a showcase of storytelling, it was literally only a technical demo to show off the tech of the game, that's it. But again, good article anyway.
  • Redeater - March 9, 2012 5:01 p.m.

    "it was literally only a technical demo to show off the tech of the game, that's it." ...except that if you have ever played any of David Cage's games you would realize that this article is bang on. You know when you go to watch a movie in the theaters and people start laughing during an unintentionally goofy dramatic moment? That is David Cage's stories in a nutshell.
  • Asmodean - March 10, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    Criticizing David Cage is one thing, but using that as a vehicle to criticize a work of art is quite another.

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