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Exploring interactive dialogue differently in #WarGames

Sam Barlow discusses taking a different approach to interactive dialogue with #WarGames.

Game Developer, Staff

April 13, 2018

2 Min Read

"Games have tried to do interactive dialogue for a very long time, and it's still something we haven't perfected yet."

- Sam Barlow on wanting to take a different approach to interactive dialogue for #WarGames.

In an interview published by PCGamer, creator of Her Story and the recently released #WarGames Sam Barlow discusses the challenges of designing dialogue for games featuring full-motion video. 

When asked about the types of gimmicks and camera angles employed during production of full-motion video game projects, Barlow admits to putting more attention toward implementing interactive dialogue in different ways as opposed to being concerned over the conventions of FMV. 

"There are times when you want to say something and you can't. Or the reaction you get from someone feels a bit off. Or the pacing of it doesn't quite work," he explains. "What I did with Her Story was essentially just ignore all of those problems by saying, I'm not trying to simulate all the dialogue—you're interacting with a database."

And looking past the issues associated with writing interactive dialogue worked for Barlow. "The best feedback I got was people saying, because I didn't worry about all those things, actually, the loop I was in, the feel that I got, from Her Story was that I was in some kind of conversation," he adds.

However, narrative driven games rely on providing the player with choices, which can start getting tricky to design after a certain point. 

"This is where I start getting stuck—you're starting to play that game where you're guessing the author's intentions," he notes. "The worst thing in those games is when you pick that choice and the character does something you weren't expecting, or where you really want to do something specific and there is no option to do that."

Barlow says that writing interactive dialogue is something that's still being fine tuned. "It's a craft and we'll continue to iterate. What I wanted to do with #WarGames is to go in a different direction." 

Barlow also dives into the idea behind #WarGames and the concept of games reflecting real world politics, so be sure to check out the full article over on PCGamer's website.

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