Emotional investment in a video game character isn't something that's new to gamers. It's been seen before in games like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and even Half-Life 2 (who didn't like Alyx?). Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney made it clear that creating more lifelike characters and increasing emotional investment between a character and a player will be key to creating a truly next-gen experience.
Tied into this statement is the power of Unreal Engine 3 and its ability to generate exquisite and stunning character models and locales. Sweeney talked to Game Informer regarding the capabilities of the engine and what it can bring to the table in terms of creating a more emotionally connected gaming experience.
Gears of War 3 will also be taking a more emotional road during the close-out of the trilogy. With humanity's back to the wall, what kind of provocation can be drummed up from these characters whom gamers have stuck with for so long? From the first trailer to even the box art, Gears 3 will be evoking some kind of emotion from the player.
Sweeney wants to go steps further though. Here's what he had to say:
"I'm most excited about the ability [of Unreal Engine 3] for more realistic characters and movie-quality environments to enhance the player's emotional attachment to the game world."
"Game developers have much further to go in delivering truly dramatic interpersonal experiences."
There are some games releasing this year that will be doing what they can to follow Sweeney's desire. Games like Mass Effect 3 where the player literally has to save the earth or L.A. Noire where MotionScan technology enables NPC faces to emote realistically. However, these are two games that are taking a separate approach to invoking an emotional response to gamers.
It would truly be a wonder to see the kind of game that will be able to combine incredible graphics and convey a truly mature story. Until then, Heavy Rain did a pretty decent job of it.
Epic Games' latest, Gears of War 3 will be releasing September 20, 2011 exclusively for Xbox 360.
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