No David Cage, more polygons doesn't equal more emotion.

During Sony's unveiling of the Playstation 4 there were a lot of things shown that pointed at the future of videogames.  However, when David Caged walked on stage and said that the solution for bringing more emotion to games is to create characters higher polygon counts, I couldn't help but let out a sigh of disappointment.  Yes, from a technical perspective its great to see the wrinkles on a character's face or see their lips quiver but just because a character looks sad doesn't necessarily mean the player will feel sad.

Two games instantly came to mind while David Cage was giving his presentation.  These games don't graphical push realism but deliver great emotional experiences, TellTale's The Walking Dead and ThatGameCompany's Journey.  Now according to David Cage's logic its impossible for these two games to deliver more emotion than a game like Mass Effect, I disagree. These games, while not graphically powerful, deliver as much if not more emotion than some AAA titles out there.  They do this by building a great world and great characters.

The characters in Journey have no facial features aside from eyes, yet its the most emotional game I've ever played.  It creates emotion through its world with things like level design, color palettes, musical scores, art style and overall game design.  For example, a level thats takes place underground with a dark blue color palette and little to no music elicits a sense of worry.  However a level where you're shot up onto the surface, sunlight blinds the screen, music kicks in and you start to feel relieved and happy. Being introduced to another anonymus player after being alone for a level gives a sense of belonging.  All this from a character with no wrinkles on its face.

The Walking Dead delivers emotion through narrative and dialogue.  The polygon count of The Walking Dead is nowhere near the level of a game like Final Fantasy 13 but I've felt more connection with Lee and Clementine than I did with Vanille or Hope.  What comes out of a character's mouth is more important than how the mouth looks.

Honestly I hope David Cage understands that in order to bring more emotion what needs to change in the next-generation isn't the amount of polygons but the quality of narrative, dialogue and world design.

Views: 819

Tags: 4, cage, david, dead, journey, playstation, the, walking

Comment by Old_School_Gamer on February 27, 2013 at 10:34pm

I would agree. However I do feel detailed "life-like" computer modeled characters, with a better ability to accurately appear to express emotion, can certainly help us feel more empathy (or hate as may be) for the character(s). Of course all that is for waste if the writing and characterization isn't good enough. I do believe Quantic Dreams are capable of a good story and characters.

Comment by Mincho Hristov Ivanov on February 27, 2013 at 10:53pm
David Caged is a joke... all of you know Samurai Jack...right? well the animation is choppy and stuff but maan...it does the job... so mister Caged can put them poligones you know where :D
Comment by Amrit Randay on February 27, 2013 at 11:15pm
Samurai Jack <3 I loved that show!
Comment by Aussie Legend on February 28, 2013 at 3:51am
I cared for the blocks from Thomas Was Alone more than JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASON. So there, mute point David Cage... mute point.
Comment by Miguel Ramos on February 28, 2013 at 4:31am

He didn't say that. He never said higher polygon count was equal to higher emotion or that it was impossible to convey emotion in lower budget games. He said that it's another tool to express emotion. It's not the only way, but of course the more detail you can put into a performance, easier it is to convey emotion. It's like an actor on film. If you put him behind a mask it's harder to convey emotion. But that doesn't mean that simply showing is whole face will do anything.

Comment by Player One on February 28, 2013 at 6:15am

David Cage is an interesting character. I wish I could say the same for the characters in the games he creates, but c'est la vie.

Comment by Christer Lindqvist on March 1, 2013 at 5:41am

Well written post:)

Personally I can not help feeling like Mr Cage look at me like a lesser person/gamer cause I do like my God of War, or my Prototype (or any other violent game). Same goes for Mr Blow. "Hey you like action and stuff blowing up in games..then you are a shallow dumb ass with no emotional depth"

I am sure thats not how they mean or think of course:)

Thats just the feeling I get.

Dont get me wrong. I love their work. Both of em.

Comment by Alex Lehmann on March 1, 2013 at 3:04pm

Short and to the point, good post. 

While I've only played the first chapter of The Walking Dead (will play it soon!), it certainly got me more interested in the story than Heavy Rain ever managed to do. Actually, one of the reasons I held off on playing The Walking Dead, despite all the praise it got, was because it reminded me so much of Heavy Rain. As it turns out, the concept behind Heavy  Rain wasn't too bad, it was just that the execution and story were not done well. 

To his credit, Cage does try to do things that are a bit different from what everyone else is doing, and for that I respect him, but I just can't help the fact that this guy really annoys me sometimes. 

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