Far Cry 3 Writer: Tech Problems Can Make Game Stories ‘Heavy and Dead’

NOTE: This is a portion of an interview from a five-part video series with Wil Wheaton. Watch the rest of the interview here, and check out Game Front’s E3 Channel for more news, previews and Wil Wheaton videos!

There might be a reason video game stories often fall flat — it’s hard to write nuanced dialog in video games. Motion capture technology hasn’t been able to portray game characters’ faces to show the subtleties of their acting.

Speaking with Game Front’s E3 video host, Wil Wheaton, at E3 2012 this year, Far Cry 3 lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem explained that as technology is progressing in video games, it’s possible for writers to tell subtler stories and to work more closely with video games’ actors.

“Because it’s full body motion capture, I can write lines of dialog that mean one thing but say another, and that’s a new thing for video games,” Yohalem said. “In the past facial expressions weren’t clear enough, and as a writer you got told constantly — you’d write a line for a character like, ‘Give me that jar,’ but what the character really means is ‘I’ve had a terrible day, so just give me that jar so I can have one thing go right.’ And that won’t be conveyed because the facial isn’t there and it’s just conveyed through the spoken.

“So what will happen then is a director will say, Could you just change the line to ‘I just had a really terrible day.’ So then you get a line that’s on the nose. For me, story is a game and players should constantly be trying to figure out what characters mean by what they’re saying, and then that game just disappears. So story is just this heavy, dead object that’s inserted into the middle of the game itself.”

Don’t forget to also watch Wil Wheaton’s discussions with Skyrim Director Todd Howard and Robotoki’s Robert Bowling. Check back throughout the week to catch Wil’s interviews with CD Projekt Red’s Marcin Iwinski and Adam Badowski and Double Fine’s Tim Schafer.

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