Interviews// David Braben, Industry Veteran

Posted 29 Aug 2008 16:19 by
SPOnG: Going back to The Outsider, the different story options sounds promising. Not many games succeed in delivering a genuine multi-branch storyline. You can't usually get that much variation.

David Braben: Usually they branch a bit, and then the branch is closed off, or the guy who you chose not to kill dies anyway.

SPOnG: Do you think The Outsider will be the first game to deliver a truly multi-branching storyline?

David Braben: That's certainly what we're trying to achieve. It's the first game I know where you've got an application to just trawl the story, so you can understand where you are in the story and the interaction with the different characters if you do things in a different order or different things happen or you choose a different direction.

So, yes. It's a big challenge, but it's a very very exciting challenge.

SPOnG: Was there anything in particular that influenced you to take it in that direction?

David Braben: Yes. It's really thinking about where games go. In my opinion, it's the next logical step. If you look at storytelling where you can interact, you have to do this sort of thing. Most of the storytelling we see in games now, games like GTA IV, is in cutscenes. There's not storytelling to speak of outside the cutscenes. There is the really nice narrative when you're driving the car, but that's not interactive. It's more, you are doing a bit of gameplay to unlock the next bit of story. You're not participating in the story. It's the participating in the story that I want to try and capture.

SPOnG: Are you seeing any emergent gameplay in The Outsider?

David Braben: Yes.

SPOnG: So each player will have a truly unique experience?

David Braben: We already see emergent gameplay in some ways in games that are already out there, where you have interestingly sophisticated AI and behaviours, you think ?Oh yes, that would happen in that way. Oh wow.? That character might do something based on what you've done. You go, ?Wow, that's interesting. That's sinister.?

What's really interesting, going all the way back to Elite, people assume, because there was a tiny amount of it in there, that there was massively more than was ever programmed, where some of the actions are just random. But it looked like the juxtaposition meant they were related.

SPOnG: Thank you very much for your time.
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