Both Minecraft and DayZ are games without objectives, story, or any real, structured sense of purpose whatsoever. The whole point is to use your imagination and make your own – and that’s something Portal writer Eric Wolpaw has apparently been thinking about a whole lot lately.
In a panel discussion at PAX with Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, Wolpaw was asked about the differences between games that direct players and those that players simply make up along the way, on their own terms.
“It’s not [about] single-player versus multiplayer. It’s more, can you have an authored story in that situation? It gets tough. I look at stories coming out of Minecraft or something like DayZ, and honestly, it makes me just despair. If I had any guts or honor, I’d leave the industry. It seems like it’s the promise of games. It’s like, ‘I have full agency. Total, total agency’,” he replied, before adding that, “I’m not actually quitting my job.”
There’s always going to be a market for narrative-driven games, reckoned Wolpaw, “But, at some point, you’re going to go into the kinda ‘artisan cheese-maker’ model. Like Tim. You’re going to be making these games that directly appeal to a [specific audience]. It may not be one of these 20 million dollar massive productions.”
Schafer agreed, pointing out that “Not everybody wants the same thing from games. There are definitely people who like something carefully crafted for them, cheese or games.”
Or both, of course.
The phenomenally popular ARMA 2 zombie survival mod, DayZ, is already in development as a standalone release, and scheduled to shamble out later this year.