Resistance 3 as an Experience Movie

Resistance 3 as an Experience Movie

Movies and film have been around for a lot longer than video games, and thus have established a pretty solid track record for creating a sense of emotion within viewers. As video games progress in complexity and beyond basic functionality, they strive to do that which film has been doing for years; make the player feel something. Current developers are turning to the film industry in order to better help them understand just how to create the desired emotions within their game.

 

The recently revealed boat level for Resistance 3 may seem like an age-old video game segment. At first glance, it appears to be a basic on-rails jaunt from point A to point B that just adds padding to the game’s longevity. However, the development team behind this segment of the game revealed that far more went into that segment than one may think.

Anyone who has played The House of the Dead or Time Crisis will immediately tell you just how easy on-rails shooters are, so it’s a wonder that those relics of game development history are still employed with current generations of shooters. Yet, we have been told that the boat level in Resistance 3 is in fact going to be one such segment.

Lisa Brown, one of the developers working on Resistance 3, recently blogged about her experiences with this particular section of the game.

The ultimate goal for this section was to break up the pacing within the game and focus a bit more on the emotional aspect and visual storytelling. The entire team needed to be 100% on the same page in order to create a memorable experience for the player.

The concept was there, but everyone had to stretch their imagination in order to ‘see’ just exactly what the level was going to look like. Devoid of any audio, music, and post-rendering, it was hard to imagine the tense atmosphere when all that was on screen were a bunch of grey boxes.

If lead designer Drew Murray had not come forward with a brilliant idea, the entire scope and sequence of that particular segment of the game may have turned out entirely different. He suggested that the team use a tactic often used in film and TV called creating a ‘movie experience.’

Seeing as how video games are advancing to the point of essentially becoming interactive movies, it seems natural that developers would reference the film industry for ideas when creating parts of a video game that are meant to create emotion and focus on storytelling. That is exactly what Lisa and her team did to create the Resistance 3 boat level.

Before long, Lisa had whipped up a pacing guide for the entire section of the game in order to give everyone a better understanding of what they should be looking for. Looking for a solid flow in pace, this guide helped determine just exactly what she wanted the player to be feeling at each part of the level.

 

Now came the tough part. Lisa and her team began to wrack their brains for movies that potentially contained scenes that would offer insight as to how to create a particular emotion or feeling. Once the team had compiled enough movie titles and scenes to fulfill the pacing guide, they set out to splice all of the scenes together into one giant movie scene mash up.

Compiling a massive amalgamation of scenes together gave them an almost real-time, shot for shot depiction of what they wanted the boat level to look like. The context, visuals, and story made no difference in this Frankenstein of movie clips. What truly mattered was the emotion being conveyed.

Lisa really wanted to make a point to her team that this video series was not meant in any way, shaper, or form to be indicative of what each section of the level should look like. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen, however. During one segment of the boat level, the player will see a Goliath traipse over the bridge and off into the distance. This scene and the emotion conveyed within was found in a scene from the movie The Mist.

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It was bound to happen, but ultimately, the team was to use those scenes to help them get an idea of how to create a sense of emotion by using techniques that had already been established within the film industry.

Once the scene was completed, Lisa began to conceive of just exactly how the whole “experience movie” concept could be used in relation to other parts of a video game. Games are chock full of emotion throughout, not just during cut scenes or on-rails sections. Rather, an ‘experience movie’ could be used to create attachment to a character’s particular narrative. Lisa says that she would be curious to hear about the results regarding the use of an ‘experience movie’ in a more open game.

Gamers want to experience games on a deeper level and make a connection with the storyline, but is creating an ‘experience movie’ cheating? Gamers are linked into the entertainment world and generally tend to frequent the movies as much as they play games. So, is it really fair to .chop parts of various movies up and translate them into a virtual setting? Well, Lisa obviously thinks it’s okay as long as it is done properly.

She made it very clear that an ‘experience movie’ is not intended to be a direct shot for shot remake of a particular movie scene. Rather, it can simply help developers discover what techniques to use in order to establish and instill a given emotion.

It’s hard to find someone who has never been emotionally attached to a character within a movie before, so it’s probably safe to say that using ‘experience movies’ in the game development process will go a long way for creating a deeper sense of emotion for gamers.

Alt Dev Blog a Day: Lisa Brown

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