GDC – All about getting video gamers emotionally connected

February 19, 2008

GDC- All about getting video gamers emotui This week in San Francisco, the minds behind the video games we love will be meeting at the Games Developers Conference (GDC).

There’ll be a veritable A-list of speakers, including “God-game” legend Peter Molyneux (he’s the one behind Black & White and The Movies). Video games nowadays are technically and visually impressive but developers now want to push the envelope – make that emotional connection films and books do so well.

Molyneux, says US Today, is revealing his plans towards a true emotional connection at GDC, via his latest in-development game, Fable 2.

For some reason, Molyneux claims that choosing your gender isn’t something common in RPGs. “Of course, the role-playing game makes your character the protagonist in creating your own legend. One twist: In creating our character, you can choose to be male or female, a choice not often given in games. We’re upsetting 50% of our audience if you can’t play as a girl,” Molyneux said.

But he also says that the game character in Fable 2 will also have a family as well as a faithful dog. Letting your players get married and then having them be able to buy a dog is  ‘helping create an emotional pull’?

The dog is no ordinary dog, however. Says Jamil Moledina, executive director of the Game Developers Conference, “The dog in Fable 2 is something that learns and behaves like a real dog. It comes to you when you least expect it. What Peter is doing is adapting the natural, real world we live in into the game environment.”

Molyneux claims the video gaming industry is failing its audience by catering too much to hardcore gamers, saying, “We have got to make people more emotionally involved.” He will also talk about how Fable 2′s character’s choices will skew their overall nature.

The problem with Molyneux’s claims about Fable 2 is – it’s not at all new. To paint other games with a wide brush claiming that video games are not becoming more complex and that they are not as immersive as they used to be isn’t quite accurate. Knights of the Old Republic, for instance, was a game that also had different outcomes for the character you played. If you made evil choices, your character veered towards the Dark Side and vice-versa.

Yes, it would be nice to see more open-ended games and a variety of choices when it comes to titles; not just seeing carbon copies of gaming hits on the shelves. But perhaps GDC will see more developers weaving new interactive fairytales to keep the gaming masses happy.

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