Monday, March 30, 2009

"Storytelling" in games. Who writes this stuff?

Seriously. I just finished Star Ocean 4 for the X-Box 360, and can't help but feel extremely disappointed by the story. If there is one thing that always bothered me about the "Star Ocean" series, it's that all the "alien" races in the games look almost exactly like humans. Pointy ears does not an alien make. So you mean to tell me that completely different ecosystems on dozens of planets millions of light-years apart produced sentient beings that are all nearly identical to one another save for ear-shape, at almost the same time? The odds are ... well, ridiculous. Suspension of disbelief = no longer suspended. It makes no bloody sense.

But then again, J-RPGs are often developed with the anime-fan in mind. Plenty of anime archetypes are recycled in J-RPGs, and so too are the stories and general style. This explains why so many of the characters feel so goddamned similar. It's all modeled after something else. The J-RPGs job then, is to make it's story and characters as interesting as possible, without straying too far from the mold. Star Ocean 4 doesn't get it right, though. None of the characters are interesting enough for me to care about them. A hero with a "strong sense of justice"? The strong-willed but quiet female companion? The seductive assassin looking to avenge her dead love? The silent, arrogant badass? The obnoxiously loud (and terribly dressed) cat girl? Yeah. I think I've seen this all before....

Us writers need to submit something to these developers. They need some fresh blood.

1 comment:

  1. Finally, an honest review about gaming's biggest flaw. A troubled plot line. We should picket!