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Dishonored's 'baby steps' for pushing the medium forward

In a new feature interview, the co-creative director of Arkane's upcoming stealth action game Dishonored discusses why we see so many games based on other games.
In a new feature interview, the co-creative director of upcoming stealth action game Dishonored discusses why we see so many games based on other games. "When you think about the '80s and '90s, every game was a new genre, almost," says Raf Colantonio, co-creative director, along with Harvey Smith, of Arkane's latest title due later this year for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. The two were drawn together by their own work and creative influences -- the kind of games they both want to make and want to play. "Every art always needs references, and it's usually an iteration of something else, or a fusion between two things that you like and then you bring in something in the middle. I don't think there is anything wrong with that," says Colantonio. Though in the past there was plenty of innovation, he admits, "Now, for sure, we are in an era where the games can be boiled down to genres." In fact, he argues, it's just not possible to move so far so fast: "the advancement in creativity cannot be achieved at every game like it used to be, at the beginning of the medium. We are at the stage where, right now, it's baby steps, and everybody is aware. Everybody can't come up with something totally different in every way. Even the most creative game that you can think of right now probably can be composed of two games that are directly influential to it," he says. However, says Smith, the two are "agitators" for changing the medium into something more interactivity. "I think it's always worth disrupting things creatively, and complaining, and pushing harder, which is what Raf and I do half the time," says Smith. "We are not content with games where you march down a linear bridge and shoot a monster and don't have any choice but that and to exit. We like multiple solutions, multiple stylistic approaches, and multiple moral compasses in a game. We definitely are agitators in that sense; we want more out of games -- more atmosphere, more agency." The full interview with Smith and Colantonio, which goes into great depth on issues of creativity, emergent gameplay, and game violence, among others, is live now on Gamasutra.

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