Monday, February 25, 2008

Maybe Totilo Was Right...

Portal: A Mean Storytelling Machine

When MTV Multiplayer blog's Steven Totilo made a request to CAPCOM to cut gameplay of Okami when porting it to Wii, pretty much everyone disputed that notion of edit. People don't like "Director's Cut" version of movies, and people don't want to lose even one sec of their precious playtime.

And guess what? Arguable the year 2007's most influential game, Portal was able to deliver such compact, condensed experience with atomic punch of mindshifting story by, none other than, editing. Yes, "the secret," the article writes, "to crafting Portal's perfect blend of gameplay and story, ... was to cut, cut, and cut some more." And so the game became only about 3-hour-long game, and became such a charm. (You may think they may have removed dull moments and features only, but they actually have cut a whole NPC who they initially had players encounter on the course of the game.)

Are we seeing the birth of a new career as Gameplay Editor?

1 comment:

Brian Shurtleff said...

Gameplay editors, you say?
I'd say "Why not?" although really, aren't the designers supposed to be the editors of their own gameplay? ;)

I do agree, though, that pacing is a problem in a lot of games.
It's a challenge to fix pacing problems and yet still retain player agency.
I'm in the middle about Portal's brevity. I loved that I could actually beat the game in one sitting. I hardly ever get the time to "beat" a game anymore, so in that sense the short length was very welcome. In another sense though, I do feel like game had more to offer that it didn't. It provided that "more" to at least some degree with the advanced difficulty versions of some of the puzzles, but I still see room for being a bit more with that mechanic. I wanted to explore it more.

Then again, I'm sure people are going to release knock-off titles soon that will push the portal mechanic further until we are sick of it. Then we can look back at Portal and say that one was the one that did it just enough. ;)

One of my friends is a filmmaker and constantly complains about cut-scenes in games that are badly edited, so perhaps games could use some editors in the more traditional sense as well.