Story-driven single-player titles are our favourites. But as we proved this afternoon with our Getaway feature, sometimes poor gameplay can kill a good story dead. But Ninja Theory's top-man, Tameem Antoniades, disagrees. To a degree, anyway.
He didn't always feel the same way, however. In an interview with Videogamer.com, Tameem reminisces developing a party game called Kung Fu Chaos for the XBOX. At the time, Microsoft were trying to force a story mode into the game but Antoniades didn't feel storytelling had a place in video games. Then he started work on Heavenly Sword.
"In Heavenly Sword I thought, "Actually, let's try and do a story." Working with Andy and everyone else, working with Weta and having people talk about story as something serious - not something throwaway like we do in games - was quite eye-opening to me," he explained.
"I still see a prejudice, actually. I still come across a lot of people who say, "it's a game and it doesn't need a story." You're trying to make a particular point of storytelling, trying to refine it, and somebody says "it's just a game, it doesn't matter." What's more important - the gameplay or the story? If you're doing a game, it's got to be the story, actually."
Tameem backed up his example by citing Resident Evil 4:
"I'll give you an example of where that's true," he said. "Resident Evil 4. I played it from start to finish, I didn't want to let go of the controller and I was driven through it. I just wanted to know what happened next. As soon as I completed it, you get those mini-missions, "kill x zombies in an amount of time." So there's no story, it's stripped out of all that and it's just shoot however many zombies in however much time. And you realise - have I been doing this for the last 10 hours? Because it didn't feel like it, as I'm bored within about a minute of doing that.
"So there is something, there is an importance. There is a symbiosis where, if you get it right, both story and gameplay can be elevated. But it's really hard to know when you get it right or not."
Do you agree with him? We kind of see his point to be honest, but we feel there's no greater importance either way. A great story can compliment good mechanics, but a poor story does not necessarily detract quite so heavily from outstanding mechanics. He's right though, if you put both elements together, you get something outstanding.