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David Cage分析独立游戏开发的未来编辑本段回目录

前卫游戏开发者的一大标志便是能够快速地透过电子游戏去寻找创造性灵感——也有一些开发者像Quantic Dream的创始人David Cage那样通过其它媒体的帮助而备受瞩目。继续阅读下去你便会发现他深受电影产业的影响,并在《Beyond: Two Souls》中与一些高知名度的演员合作过,同时你也将理解为什么说独立开发者是这一产业的未来。

Quantic-Dream-David-Cage(from gamerant.com)

Quantic-Dream-David-Cage(from gamerant.com)

Patrick Miller:你因为从电影中获取大量灵感并用于自己的游戏设计和方向中而备受关注。我想随着游戏技术的不断发展,你已经通过不同方法将自己从电影领域中吸取的经验和教训以不同方式带回游戏;而接下来你还想使用何种教训?

David Cage:我的方法有时候并未被理解:我希望能够通过互动创造情感。我选择使用故事叙述方法,因为我喜欢故事,并且认为这是创造情感的有效方法。我希望能从电影中学到更多,并明确自己该如何创造更棒的互动体验。在这层意义上,我与过去20年里大多数电子游戏设计师一样。

虽然游戏和电影具有某些共同点,但是它们也带有一大区别:游戏拥有额外的互动维度。正是如此才让这一媒体显得如此不同。我尝试着通过不同游戏去发现一种新语言能让我通过游戏玩法阐述诱人的情感故事,并整合电影赋予互动性的新语法。这是一个巨大的挑战,特别是因为它要求我去重新思考人们所熟悉的大多数游戏范例,但同时这也是让我兴奋的挑战。

有些人认为电子游戏应该保持“单纯”,它们不应该受到任何其它事物的影响,但是我并不相信这是一个正确的做法。最初的摄影师是从绘画和戏剧中获得学习,最初的电影制作人也是向摄影和戏剧而学习,所以如果游戏能够整合外部影响并接受自己也是一种表达形式的话,它便能够不断成长。

回到你的问题,最近在大多数游戏中都出现了电影艺术的身影,但是我最感兴趣的还是如何通过游戏玩法而非过场动画去阐述故事。我们该如何让玩家通过行动去讲述自己的故事,而非强迫他去观看影片?不使用任何重复的机制而通过定义一种语言去讲述吸引人的互动故事才是我的真正目标。

另外一个有趣的话题是:该如何在游戏过程中(而非过场动画里)呈现电影艺术?我们该如何避免在角色导航时摄像机位于他们背部,并在游戏过程中保持电影的质量?关于程序性指导以及如何使用AI和摄像机去创造“视觉导演”而在未影响游戏的前提下提供有意义的拍摄内容等仍有许多值得探索之处。

我也对电子游戏将如何变成更有意义的媒体越来越感兴趣。我确信我们可以使用游戏去传达理念和感受,这将成为游戏领域的下一场变革。如今越来越多独立游戏提供了有意义的游戏体验,这也是迄今为止最让我激动的变化。

beyond-two-souls-wallpapers(from theparanoidgamer)

beyond-two-souls-wallpapers(from theparanoidgamer)

PM:《Beyond: Two Souls》作为少数封面上出现了两位致命演员的游戏而备受瞩目。与知名演员合作是否彻底改变了你的开发过程?你是如何看待好莱坞与游戏产业为了发展之间的交叉影响?

DC:与Ellen Page和Willem Dafoe合作并未真正改变我的开发过程。这只是为拍摄准备添加了一些压力,让我们必须做好万全的准备。这同时也在拍摄过程中带给团队较大的压力,因为技术原因而导致的时间浪费将会促成严重的结果。但是幸好一切都进展顺利,我们也无需重新拍摄。而Ellen和Willem也凭借着辛苦的工作,专业性以及责任感出色地完成了任务,并让我们的合作变得更加轻松。

我认为《Beyond》将获得好莱坞和游戏产业的密切关注。如果游戏在商业上获得巨大的成功,它将打开其它同类型的合作,演员的经纪人也会更乐意让自己的艺人致力于该媒体,并且游戏产业也看到了合作的利益。如果游戏是个失败品,它将导致双方短期内不愿意再尝试类似的合作。

对于我来说,与演员的这种合作对于我们的游戏而言是非常棒的尝试—-如果这是基于双方真诚的创造性合作意愿的话。我不认为射击游戏或赛车游戏需要优秀的演员,但是为了呈现出不一样的体验,它们可以通过与“外部世界”的合作而真正受益。

我们便通过与一些作家,导演,演员和作曲家的合作而为游戏带来了巨大利益。这将为游戏打开其它的情感和理念,这些人将为游戏注入新的血液。不过前提是它们必须真正相信游戏,并且不害怕改变游戏范例。为了取得进一步发展我们有必要打破某些规则。这些人只是带着新理念和意愿去改变某些内容,而不是创造出另一款电子游戏。

PM:从历史上看,你的工作一直被标记为大规模制作(例如《Fahrenheit》和《骤雨》);你是否曾经想过与一些小团队一起创造较小的游戏?

DC:我一直是基于较为合理的预算而致力于大型游戏中。就像《Beyond》的预算便低于大多数AAA级游戏。所以即使我们创造的是大型项目,但是我们始终清楚该如何开发它们,使用正确的工具,避免重复劳作,并培养一个富有经验的核心团队等等。

着眼于我过去的游戏,《Omikron》的开发成员有39名,《Fahrenheit》是71名,《骤雨》是110名,《Beyond》甚至有200名。从中可以看出我们的开发人员不断增加,但即使如此我们与那些分配600多人去参与一个项目开发的发行商相比还是差远了。

我并不认为任何开发者都喜欢面对大量的成员。虽然这能够赋予你较大的控制力,但是也会引起各种有关组织和管理的问题。但随着现在的游戏开发变得更加复杂,如果你想要与AAA级游戏抗衡的话,小团队着实有点吃力。玩家并不在乎开发预算或资源分配,他们只会去对比不同游戏并做出判断。

我认为情况只会变得更加糟糕:在这一循环的末端,我们看到了许多大型团队以及超过5千万美元的预算。而在下一代中,随着开发变得越发复杂,这一数值有可能继续上升。如果市场并不能弥补这些预算的话,这便会引起巨大的问题。

回到我的工作室。我并不是反对与小团队致力于小项目中,但这并不是我们的方向。我们尝试着将团队规模保持在可管理范围内,让我们的基础设施和管理能够基于适当节奏,但所有的这些对于全部开发者来说都是一个巨大的挑战。我们希望创造出更有野心的体验,并继续推进界限,而如果缺少足够的资源我们便不可能做到这点。但是我们也尝试着在小型工作室中创造激情与氛围,即完全奉献于我们所相信的一切。

PM:在游戏中,我们习惯于谈论未来哪些技术将能够承载游戏媒介,但是我们却很少触及未来的设计。你是否发现哪些人致力于前沿游戏设计工作?你是否注意到哪些新兴机制,次类型,理论,设计过程等将深刻影响今后5至10年的电子游戏?

DC:我深受当前独立领域的创造性的吸引。虽然这些人缺少足够的资源,但是却比许多AAA级开发者更具有创造性和前瞻性。就像打着“新好莱坞”的70年代电影,我认为我们也到达了某一时刻,即所有主要发行商将巨额资金投向少数游戏中,并且他们并不想冒险创新。但是在电影领域也出现了像Spielberg,Lucas,Coppola这样的独立人才,所以我希望在游戏中也会如此。

如今创造性和激情总是与独立开发者相挂钩。可以说他们是产业的未来。

PM:你认为在未来主流游戏用户对于电子游戏的期待是否会发生改变?人们是否会更乐于接受那些能够带来更复杂情感(而不只是单纯出于“娱乐”)的游戏?如果这样,你是否认为工作室或发行商需要为未来做好准备?

DC:说实话:主流用户对于电子游戏并不抱任何期待,因为他们并不在乎。在大多数人眼中,电子游戏对于青少年来说是一种暴力活动,是一些不是很认真的成人会考虑做的事。整个社会着眼于电子游戏到底是什么,并且并不理解人们为什么能花那么多时间去设计某些事物。

当我们能够创造更多有意义的体验,而不再局限于反复的暴力行动时,有关游戏的主流观念便会发生改变。

这对于处在有限市场与潜在的主流市场间的发行商来说是一种两难处境。大多数发行商选择继续待在我们所熟悉的小市场中,并尝试着通过手机设备不断扩展。就像艺电当前所采取的策略—-在一端发展《战地》,并在另一端推动《植物大战僵尸》,并因此取得了很大的成功。

我认为更广大的用户能够通过创造出不同的体验,重新思考游戏范例并敢于冒险与创新而接受游戏。就像《Beyond》,我们希望受故事驱动的体验属性,Ellen Page,Willem Dafoe,Hans Zimmer的参与以及触屏设备的使用能够在不疏远传统用户的同时吸引更多用户的注意。

这对于游戏,特别是在年末这一无数大型游戏涌现出来的时期来说具有巨大的挑战性。不过我们也相信人们其实渴望玩到一些真正不同的内容。我知道许多人都很喜欢我们在《骤雨》(游戏邦注:迄今为止共售出了320万份游戏)中所呈现的互动故事,我也希望他们仍会喜欢我们的《Beyond》。

PM:你和成员们是从什么地方获取灵感?哪些元素对你的工作带来了较大的影响?最近你是否读过一些优秀的书籍?

DC:我通常是通过不同资源获取灵感,除了游戏或电影,我还会从电视,漫画,音乐和大众艺术中获取灵感。《骤雨》对于我来说是个巨大的机遇,因为这是我首次编写自己的故事—-与儿子的关系。我在《Beyond》中使用了同样的方法,即编写了另外一种个人经历,说实话对我来说编写那些一无所知的故事才是真正的困难。

随着年龄的不断增长,我对人类,人与人之间的关系,感受,问题越来越感兴趣,并且越来越不想理会无端暴力。当你在谈论像爱,赎罪,哀痛,死亡等普通事物时,你可以创造一种能让玩家产生情感共鸣的体验,你需要真正触及他们的灵魂,而不只是让他们动动手指。

我最大的乐趣便是听人们与我分享他们在玩《骤雨》的经历。在游戏发行三年后,我仍会与那些愿意热情地分享自己游戏体验的玩家见面。当你在创造游戏时,没有什么比创造出能够引起玩家情感回应(游戏邦注:即使在游戏发行三年后仍在讨论游戏)的内容更让你兴奋的了。

PM:我很好奇你是否考虑过硬件?其它平台,可替换的输入设备和周边设备等。新兴硬件趋势或特定的设备是否能够吸引你的注意?

DC:硬件只是创造体验的工具。我一直尝试着使用最佳工具—-如果它们能够帮助我更有效地创造作品的话。但是我却从未想过自己需要某一特定的硬件去创造游戏。游戏是关于视觉效果和情感体验,你可以在PS1或PS4上创造一些有趣的内容,它们从表面上看来可能是完全不同的体验,但是真正重要的还是它们能否触及你的情感。技术能够带来细微差别,为你的调色板注入更多色彩,但是如果作为游戏创造者无话可说的话,那么再厉害的硬件也没用。

PM:有时候技术和游戏中的最佳理念似乎不能在合适的时间出现。你是否遇到过自己的想法因为出现得太早而不能成功落实的情况?

DC:自2001年以来我便一直提到插话式内容。最初《Fahrenheit》便是围绕着插话式内容进行设计,但那时候的市场还未做好迎接这些内容的准备。我很高兴看到别人创造出这类作品,而我也仍然对此充满热情。为了让这类内容获得更广泛的认可,我们还有许多事要做。不过不管怎样,我都相信在不远的未来,数字发行,插话式内容以及受故事驱动的体验将会扮演越来越重要的角色。

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,作者:Patrick Miller)

What’s Next? David Cage: ‘Indie developers are the future’

By Patrick Miller

One of the hallmarks of a forward-thinking game creator is the readiness to look outside of video games for creative inspiration — and few developers are as well-known for looking to other media as Quantic Dream founder David Cage. Read on to learn about the influence he draws from cinema, working with high-profile actors on Beyond: Two Souls, and why indies are the future of the industry.

Patrick Miller: You’ve been known in the industry for the inspiration you take from the medium of film in your game design and direction. I assume that as game tech has progressed, you’ve been able to carry over the lessons you’ve learned from film back to games in different ways; what’s the next such lesson you’d like to bring?

David Cage: My approach is sometimes not well understood: I am interested in creating emotions through interactivity. I chose to use storytelling because I love stories and I think it is a very powerful and universal way to create emotion. I am interested in learning as much as I can from cinema to see how I can create better interactive experiences. In that sense, I do nothing different than most video games have for the past twenty years.

If games and cinema have things in common, they have one major difference: games have the extra dimension of interactivity. It is what makes this medium so unique and so different from all others. So game after game, I try to discover this new language that will allow me to tell compelling emotional stories through game play, to merge what cinema has developed with a new grammar for interactivity. It is incredibly challenging, especially because it requires me to rethink most games’ paradigms that seemed established and accepted by all for years, but it is also something very exciting.

Some people think that video games should remain “pure”, that they should not be influenced by anything else but other video games, but I don’t believe that this is the right approach. The first photographers learned from painting and theater, the first filmmakers learned from photography and theater, games can only grow if they integrate influences from the outside and accept the idea that they can also be an expression form.

Back to your question, cinematography significantly progressed recently in most games, but what I am the most interested in is how a story could be told through gameplay and not through cutscenes. How can we enable the player himself to tell the story he wants through his actions, rather than forcing him to watch cinematics? Defining a language to tell compelling interactive stories without using repetitive mechanics is really the goal of my work.

Another interesting topic is: How can we have a sense of cinematography during game play and not only during cut scenes? How can we avoid having a camera always in the back of our characters when they navigate, but rather keep the quality of filming during game play? There are many interesting things to explore here about procedural directing and how AI and Cameras could be used to create a “virtual director” offering meaningful shots without affecting game play.

I am also more and more interested in how video games can become a meaningful medium with something to say. I am convinced that we could use games to express ideas and feelings, and I think this is going to be the next revolution in gaming. We see more and more indie games these days taking the approach of a meaningful experience, and this is by far what excites me the most.

PM: Beyond: Two Souls is rather notable for being one of the few games with two well-known actors credited right on the cover. Did working with accomplished actors change your development process at all? How do you see the cross-pollination between Hollywood and the games industry evolving in the future?

DC: Working with Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe has not really changed our process. It just added some pressure on the preparation of the shootings to make sure we would be absolutely ready on the first day. It also put some pressure on the team during the shootings because any time lost for technical reasons could have added serious consequences. But everything went perfectly smooth beyond expectations, and no retake session was necessary. That was also possible because of the hard work, professionalism, and commitment of Ellen and Willem who both did an amazing work while being extremely nice and easy to work with.

I think that Beyond will be watched closely both by Hollywood and the game industry. If the game is a commercial success, it will probably open the way for other collaborations of this type, actors’ agents feeling comfortable in letting their artists work on the medium and the game industry seeing the benefit of the collaboration. If the game is a failure, it will probably make people on both sides more reluctant at trying something similar in the short term.

For me, this type of collaboration with actors, or the one I had with David Bowie on my first game, is something very exciting for our medium if it is based on the desire of a sincere creative collaboration on both ends. I don’t think that shooters or racing games need great actors, but for all other experiences, they can really benefit from any collaboration with the “outside world”.

We see some interesting projects going in this direction with writers, directors, actors, score composers contributing to games. It will open games to other sensibilities, other ideas, and people coming with a new approach and bringing some fresh air. It is only possible if these people are sincere, if they are trusted and not scared of changing game paradigms. Some rules need to be broken in order to move forward. These people should come with new ideas and the will to change things, not just to do another video game.

PM: Historically, your career has been largely marked by relatively large-scale productions (Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain for example); ever thought about going small-team and making smaller games?

DC: I always worked on very ambitious titles with very reasonable budgets. The budget of Beyond, for example, is significantly lower than most other triple-A titles out there… So we work on ambitious projects but we try to be clever about how we develop them, being really tool-centric, avoiding redoing things three times, keeping a very experienced core team, etc.

Looking at my past games, Omikron was developed with 39 people, Fahrenheit with 71, Heavy Rain with 110, and Beyond with about 200 people. So there is definitely an evolution with staff but we remain very far from some publishers who assign 600 people to a project (and that’s a good thing…).

I don’t think that any developer enjoys dealing with a large staff. It gives you brute force but it also raises a lot of issues regarding organization and management. But games become so complex to develop that it is impossible to work with small teams if you want to compete with triple-A titles. Gamers don’t care about development budgets or what resources were assigned, they just compare games side by side and judge them for what they are.

I think the situation can only get worse: during this end of the cycle, we see very large teams and budgets (sometimes significantly) above fifty million dollars. On next-gen, we could see these figures grow even further because development becomes more and more complex. This is something that could be an issue if the market doesn’t grow significantly to recoup these budgets…

Back to my studio, I would certainly not be against working on a smaller project with a smaller team, but this is not the direction we take. We try to keep a team size that is manageable, have our infrastructure and management grow at the right pace, but all this is definitely a massive challenge for all developers. We want to create more ambitious experiences and continue to push the boundaries, which cannot be done without significant resources. But we try to keep the ambiance of a small studio working with passion and dedication on something we all believe in, which worked well so far.

PM: In games, we’re used to talking about what future tech will bring the medium of games, but we’re less accustomed to talking about what future design will bring. Who do you see doing cutting-edge game design work? Do you see emerging mechanics, sub-genres, theories, design processes etc. that you think will have a reverberating effect on the video games of 5-10 years from now?

DC: I am quite fascinated by the creativity in the indie sphere right now. These people have less resources but they are much more creative and forward-thinking than many triple-A developers. As was the case in the ’70s in films with the “New Hollywood”, I think we have reached a moment where all major publishers spend a lot of money on few titles and try to take no risk rather than trying to innovate. In films, it allowed the emergence of indie talents like Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola and many others. I hope that we will see the same phenomenon with games.

Creativity and passion are with indie developers now. They are the future of this industry.

PM: How do you think the mainstream game audience’s expectations of a video game will change in the future? Will people be more receptive to games that make us feel more complicated emotions than simply “entertained”? If so, how do you think a studio or a publisher ought to prepare for that future?

DC: Let’s be honest: The mainstream audience has absolutely no expectation about video games just because they don’t care. For most people out there, video games are a violent activity for teenagers, something that no serious adult person would even consider doing. Society looks at what video games are and doesn’t understand how anyone can spend hours and hours shooting at things.

The mainstream perception will change when we will be capable of creating more meaningful experiences not limited to repetitive violent actions, which is still rarely the case today.

There is definitely a dilemma for any publisher between a limited market that we know now very well and a potential mainstream market that is challenging to convince. Most publishers chose to stick to the small market we know, and try to expand via mobile devices. This is, for example, EA’s strategy at the moment — doing Battlefield on one end and Plants vs Zombies on the other — and it makes sense.

Personally, I believe that it is possible to convince a wider audience to embrace games by creating experiences that are different, by reconsidering our paradigms and not being afraid of taking risks and innovating. With Beyond, we hope that the story driven nature of the experience, the presence of Ellen Page, Willem Dafoe, Hans Zimmer combined with the possibility to play the game with a touchscreen device will attract a larger audience without alienating our traditional audience.

This is definitely a major challenge for the game especially in the very crowded period at the end of the year (and the end of the cycle) where the biggest franchises are released. We will see what happens, but I have faith in people’s desire to play something that is truly different. I know many people believe in interactive storytelling as we could see on Heavy Rain (we sold 3.2 million games to date), and I hope that they will follow us on Beyond.

PM: What (and who) do you and your peers look to for inspiration? What influences currently inform your work and those you admire? Read any good books lately?

DC: I tend to get my inspiration from many different sources, not only games or films, but also TV series, comics, music, art in general. Heavy Rain was a big change for me because it was the first time I wrote about something personal — my relationship with my son. I followed the same route on Beyond, working on another personal experience, and to be honest I would have a hard time going back and writing about things I don’t have a clue about.

As I get older, I am more and more interested in human beings, their relationships, their feelings, their issues, and less and less in gratuitous violence. When you can talk about something universal like love, redemption, mourning, death, you can create an experience that will emotionally resonate with the player, you talk to his soul rather than only to his thumbs.

My biggest pleasure is to hear people telling me about their experience playing Heavy Rain. Three years after the game was released, I still meet people who tell me with passion what they experienced having to decide if they wanted to cut their finger or not to save their son. When you create games, nothing can please you more than thinking you have created something that provoked such an emotional response from people that they still talk about it three years later…

PM: I’m curious: Is hardware on your mind at all? Other platforms, alternate input devices and peripherals, etc. Are there emerging hardware trends or specific devices that have caught your eye as something specific to pay attention to?

DC: Hardware is just the tool to create experiences. I always try to use the best tools available if they can make my work more impactful. But I never thought that I needed a certain piece of hardware to do a game. Games are really about a vision, about an emotional experience, you could create something interesting on PS1 or a PS4, they will be visually very different experiences, but what matters is what they have to say, if they can reach you emotionally or not. Technology brings nuances, more colors to your palette, but if you have nothing to say as a game creator, the best hardware in the world won’t change that.

PM: Sometimes it seems like the best ideas in tech and games simply didn’t happen at the right time. Is there anything that you think was too early to succeed — perhaps something that we might see come back once the time is right?

DC: I’ve talked about episodic content since 2001. Fahrenheit was initially designed to be episodic, but the market was definitely not ready for that at the time. I am glad someone else made it in the meantime, but this is still an idea I am very interest in. There is a lot to do to democratize games and make them accessible to a wider audience. Digital distribution, episodic content and story-driven experiences will definitely play a bigger role in the near future.(source:gamasutra)


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