Square Enix, the once-proud home of many classic videogame tales, believes that videogames can surpass film and theater as the most effective means of storytelling. The opinion comes courtesy of Star Ocean: The Last Hope producer Yoshinori Yamagishi, and I'll resist the urge to laugh at the idea of effective storytelling coming from somebody involved with a tri-Ace game.
"As opposed to films, books and TV, as a medium it is more of a challenge to produce a game in order to tell a story," he explains. "In TV, film and theater, the creator has control over how he gives the story to the viewer - it's easier to control the emotions and feelings expected from the viewer.
"But in [a game developer's] case we always have to think about how players might react to each depiction of a character or storyline, and that's the part we can't predict. Nevertheless we have to make these predictions to a certain degree, and incorporate this into our work. So it's more of a challenge, but if we manage to get over this hurdle, then I regard videogames as a greater medium to provide people with deep emotional and exciting experiences."
I have always maintained that videogames have a greater potential to deliver an effective story thanks to their interactive nature. However, with Square Enix churning out the same emo-flavored JRPG fodder again and again, the great expositional breakthrough may need to come from elsewhere.