Elves MIA in 2007 Sci-Fi Heavy Line Up

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This year’s most anticipated and best selling titles have been heavily sci-fi in influence, leaning sharply away from the fantasy characters and settings that have been staples of the video game industry.

The New York Times takes a look at some of this year’s top games including BioShock, Halo 3, and Mass Effect asking not just what is driving the shift, but why the industry pushes so few genres with such extreme settings in the first place.

“When you’re making a video game, you’re trying to give the player special experiences and abilities that go beyond the everyday as much as possible,” said Casey Hudson, project director for Mass Effect, a new science-fiction role-playing game to be released next month. “You want to be able to give somebody an experience where they can leave behind their everyday life.”

Or as put by Bill Roper, chief executive of Flagship Studios, which plans to release Hellgate: London later this month, “No one wants to play a game where they are a C.P.A. trying to figure out a deduction.”

The article also deals with the tendency of the industry to throw out story and character development in favor of action and graphically spectacular special effects.

“What we have not really gotten in games,” Mr. Hudson said, “which you do get when you watch a great television drama, is that as exciting as the setting may be, what’s really interesting are the people, the personal, human stories.” Naturally, Mr. Hudson and the rest of his team at BioWare hope to change that with Mass Effect.

Read the full article on The New York Times web site.

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