Game Development Reference
No One Lives Forever (Monolith, 2000). Written by Craig Hubbard. A
wonderfully funny and atmospheric spy spoof set in the 1960s. Cate Archer,
a rare female protagonist, is an agent of U.N.I.T.Y. The story is told with
great voice acting, cinematic cutscenes, hilarious NPC conversations, and en-
tertaining mission briefings. There is also constant radio communication from
headquarters, to help direct the player to the next objective. The first FPS with
a comedic point of view.
Max Payne (Remedy, 2001). Written by Sam Lake. A sophisticated film
noir-style thriller with elements of a John Woo action movie. Even though
it's a third-person shooter, Max Payne was influential in many future FPS sto-
ries. It used cinematic techniques like flashbacks and dream sequences. Each
episode was preceded by panels of a graphic novel narrated by the titular char-
acter. There were scripted sequences and cutscenes, phone machine messages,
television news reports, and NPC dialogue with excellent voice acting. A very
cinematic, emotional (and linear) experience.
6.7 Modern Classics and How They Tell Their Stories
Call of Duty (InfinityWard, 2003). Written byMichael Schiffer. A panoramic
view of World War II from the perspective of an American paratrooper on D-
Day, an English special forces commando, and a Russian tank commander.
There's no narrative, other than the history of the war itself, but the sense
of place, history, and world are authentic, detailed, and very well established.
The story is told through cutscenes, scripted events, conversations with NPCs,
mission briefings, and actual newsreel footage.
Doom 3 (id, 2004). Written by Matthew Costello. Basically, the same plot
as the original. Besides the usual cutscenes and scripted events, there are hun-
dreds of text, voice, and video messages on PDAs and laptops between lab
workers, administrators, and security personnel. Also, there are video booths
that offer news, corporate propaganda, visitor information, and technical data
about the base. Because virtually none of that information affects the actual
gameplay, you can read or watch as much of the story as you are interested in.
Or ignore the story and just kick hell-spawn bootie.
Half-Life 2 (Valve, 2004). Written by Marc Laidlaw. A sequel to Half-Life .
Once again the player is Gordon Freeman, an MIT graduate who knows how
to handle on automatic weapon. Like the original, Half-Life 2 has virtually no
cutscenes. The story unfolds in real time through gameplay, and once again
Gordon Freeman is a silent protagonist. The breakthrough facial animation
helps to create a lot of emotion and depth for the NPCs.
F.E.A.R. (Monolith, 2005). Written by Craig Hubbard. Brings together el-
ements from contemporary Japanese horror films like The Ring , John Woo