When Warren Spector told Gamescom attendees
that the denizens of his chosen profession are "still making cartoons," he wasn't referring to his upcoming illustrated opus, Epic Mickey
. Rather, he was voicing his opinion on what he sees to be one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today: game developers' proclivity for attempting (and ultimately failing) to mimic the storytelling techniques of movies, comics and other forms of popular media.
Of course, one of his main problems with games' stories is their tendency to be dude-centric -- he warned the Gamescom crowd "if we don't break out of big buff guys with swords and guys in tights and space marines in armor, we're going to get marginalized in the way comics have been in the United States." He also warned about attempting to ape blockbuster films by filling games with obscenely expensive visuals, as "we still fall far, far short of what people expect from a movie."
Ultimately, the only form of storytelling Spector thinks games should attempt to emulate is oral conversation, as the person interacting with the game is equally responsible for shaping its story. "Player experience comes first," Spector explained, "we have to allow them to show their creativity. No other medium has allowed them to do this. We are unique in the history of humankind. Every player becomes an author when they play a game."