News Article

Naughty Dog's Bruce Straley Thinks Tearaway Deserved D.I.C.E Prize for Innovation

Posted by Kell Andersen

And the award for humblest game developer goes to...

If you've not been paying attention the last few weeks, Naughty Dog's masterpiece The Last of Us has managed to win just about every single award known to man. From the International Animated Film Society to GLAAD, and everything in between, the California-based studio will soon need to invest in more storage space to house its ever increasing troupe of trophies.

One such achievement is the developer's impressive sweep of the D.I.C.E. award in Las Vegas last week, which saw the company bag the awards for outstanding achievement in story, adventure game of the year, and outstanding achievement in game direction, among others. However, one contentious victory for the team was in the area of outstanding innovation in gaming, which some argued was not entirely deserved.

In particular, PlayStation Vita exclusive Tearaway and indie title Papers, Please were singled out as two nominees that were potentially more deserving of the prestigious prize. And it seems that The Last of Us' game director Bruce Straley completely agrees with the sentiment, making a point to congratulate Media Molecule for their inventive platformer. "Both Tearaway and Papers, Please are pushing more innovative boundaries than The Last of Us in my honest opinion," he stated on Twitter to a Tearaway staffer. "One of you two should've won that hands down."

Regardless of whether you agree with the comment, you absolutely can't deny that Straley's humble attitude is utterly endearing. What do you make of these statements? Do you think that Tearaway was robbed? Roll the dice in the comments section below.


Related Games

User Comments (8)



get2sammyb said:

He's probably right, but I do think he's doing The Last of Us a bit of a disservice. It's not particularly innovative from a gameplay perspective, but I do think it's a major step forward in terms of cinematics, etc.



Slapshot said:

@get2sammyb You're exactly right Sammy! The Last of Us is a brilliant gaming experience - there's no denying this. But it also suffers from ludo-narrative dissonance quite extensively. The exceptional narrative actually masks the shortcoming of the gameplay and they don't exactly complement each other all the time either.

Does it still deserve the scores it has gotten? Yes. Does it deserve all of the awards it is getting? Not in my opinion it doesn't. It's an awesome gaming experience with a fantastic narrative. That isn't innovation.

The Last of Us is a game that will be studied on the academic level not for its merits, but for its flaws. The fact that the gaming media has given it all of these awards now almost makes this certain. Those whom study video games as an art form - and want to see this industry taken seriously as a viable interactive art form - want to see a complete piece of art. This means the graphics, gameplay, control, narrative, etc., all should complement each other as a whole. For instance, in the recent Tomb Raider, Lara is near invincible in the cinematic, yet she is nowhere near it in actual gameplay - this is ludo-narrative dissonance. These things create breaks in immersion between the realistic story that's told in the cinematic and what's played by the player in actual gameplay.

This is a big challenge for video games to overcome. Of course, Tomb Raider (like The Last of Us) are big cinematic blockbuster video games. But, so many in the media has lifted them up to be "art." Is there anything wrong with the games here? No, not at all. The problem is the media and the awards ceremonies in the gaming industry that continue to put Hollywood blockbuster video games - the Transformers, Batman and Avengers of films - are being decelerated over the games that have true artistic merits, like Papers, Please and Gone Home.

This is why has formulated it own awards based on innovation:

Tearaway is next up on my list of games to play!



charlesnarles said:

@Slapshot I can't even think of an example of a game sporting a story that actually compliments the gameplay. Maybe Ace Combat 4, although that's more of a purposeful dissonance, being from different characters' perspectives, but it's still ludonarrative in that sense. I guess MGS3 in particular is a good example of it being done *solid*ly. Is TLOU really that bad about it, tho? [trying to avoid spoilers!] I mean, they're trying to get to the Capital building (etc) so they have to get by whatever's in between. The real question I have is "why are there zombies?" I know the fungus jumped to humans, but why? What's the actual premise? Is it America? Or even Earth?



InsertNameHere said:

TLOU isn't exactly what I'd call "innovative," but every element of the game perfectly compliments the next.

@charlesnarles The infected are zombie-esque, not zombies. And scientists can't fully explain why cordyceps jumps from ant to ant, so I don't see how ND would be able to.

Also, of course it's America and takes place on Earth.



Bliquid said:

Shame on me, but i'll wait 'till late february to see if the guy is right. That is, when the little MM gem is gonna get a sale. I do think it deserves every penny of the relatively low full price, but my backlog orders me to lay low on new games.
From what i've seen from the demo, it's so nice it transcends the fact Tearaway isn't really the type of game i usually buy.
On the other hand, i keep on thinking TLOU is getting more praise than it actually deserves.
It deserves it, just not so much, for me.



Slapshot said:

@charlesnarles The biggest issue that I have with The Last of Us was primarily the rinse and repeat of the action segments, which were more against humans than infected. So many times I just wanted these action segments to end so that story could progress - I actually had to take breaks from the game over this. Also, for a narrative that goes so far to be realistic in nature, the "gaming" parts of the game, such as the collection of vitamins to upgrade abilities, broke this realistic immersion that is set by the narrative for me. Also, the game's narrative shows us how emotionally affected the characters are by having to take human lives, but the gameplay is never reflective of this - it just does what nearly all shooters do: force you to keep on staking up the body counts. For the lack of spoilers, the "ultra-infected" are just ridiculous, in my opinion.

Creating video games that lack ludonarrative dissonance is indeed a challenge and will only be possible in a certain instances. For the most part, I take little issue with the gameplay and narrative dissonance in TLoU - I take issue with the game getting awards in innovation and heralded to such acclaim over other games that are innovative, as well as push the gaming industry forward as an art form.

This is a personal stance that I have. I want to see this industry continue moving forward with what small indie freeware games (check out Bento Smile's titles) and larger ones like Papo and Yo and Journey have started on home consoles - games that can positively affect those whom experience them.

To find games without (or better yet, limited) ludonarrative dissonance, you only need to look at titles like Telltale Games' The Walking Dead (and other adventure titles) series, Gone Home and Papers, Please. But, titles like Saints Row, which embellish the absurdity that comes with open world sandbox crime titles in its narrative do a good job of finding a balance too.

The films industry has its blockbusters, as well its innovative and films that strive to be works of art, just as the games industry does. This is perfectly okay on both accounts. Yet, the latest Transformers doesn't bag all of the awards of the year, even though it's one of the most exciting, fun and top grossing films of the year. No, the films that push the industry forward for its artistic merits, whether that be German Expressionism or even Transgressive Art. Yet, for the games industry, we usually show the world that the best we've got is the latest Hollywood Blockbuster. For me, that's a problem; not the design of The Last of Us.



Bad-MuthaAdebisi said:

I only played the demo for tearaway so far and I enjoyed it a whole lot and definitely plan on buying. I wasn't overly impressed with tlou, yes its how games like that should be made but it wasn't anything special. Its a huge heap of hype for a game made well, that's all it is.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...