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The Last of Us Director Criticises Lack of Player Freedom in Red Dead Redemption 2

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Red Dead Redemption 2 on the stick

Bruce Straley, game director of The Last of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, has criticised some of the gameplay decisions in Red Dead Redemption 2.

Straley responded to Naughty Dog game designer Matthew Gallant, who praised Rockstar’s decision to keep one of the game’s most cinematic sequences  of Red Dead Redemption 2 “on the stick”—meaning to keep it as gameplay instead of a cutscene. In his response, Straley noted that “the game killed me when I tried to flank in that mission — like so many RDR2 story missions.”

Straley continued, “They need me to do what the story requires [and] continually remove my choices. The [environment] was open [and] I had the skills, but they punished me for thinking for myself instead of rewarding me.”

He argued that “removing player choices in order to achieve ‘epic stories’ undermines the power of interactivity completely. So, it winds up NOT being epic, because I end up frustrated that the game just doesn’t trust me. Then I’m just ticking boxes to start cutscenes.”

Straley said that he would use the mission in Red Dead Redemption 2 to improve upon his own projects. “I want to continue thinking of how to honor the mechanics [and] opportunities we’ve afforded the player—not wedging them into sequences I feel would be epic because of some story outcome.”

“They need me to do what the story requires & continually remove my choices. The [environment] was open & I had the skills, but they punished me for thinking for myself instead of rewarding me.”

Straley also responded to a video by Jacob “NakeyJakey” Christensen regarding Rockstar Games’s “outdated” game design evident in Red Dead Redemption 2, stating that the open world and linear aspects of the game are at “such odds”. Check out NakeyJakey’s video below.

Straley worked at Naughty Dog for 18 years, dating back to Crash Team Racing. He worked as an artist on the Jak series before becoming co-art director on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, followed by game director on Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and The Last of Us. Following his work as director of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Straley took a year-long sabbatical and resigned from Naughty Dog in September 2017.

In January 2018, Straley discussed his final day at Naughty Dog and the rewarding feeling that it finally granted him, stating that “the emotional security that I’ve always been looking for finally came.” Similarly, Uncharted creator and director Amy Hennig said that not publishing a game since 2011 is “killing” her. Hennig left Naughty Dog in March 2014 and joined Visceral Games, which closed its doors in October 2017.

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Rhain discovered a long time ago that mixing one of his passions (video games) with the other (writing) might be a good idea, and now he’s been stuck in the industry for over six years with no means of escaping. His favourite games are those with deep and captivating narratives: while it would take far too long to list them all, some include L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption (and its sequel), Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Last of Us, and the Uncharted series.

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Bohemia Interactive Says ARMA 3 ‘Contact’ is an Idea It Has “Wanted to Explore for Years”

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Arma 3 Contact gameplay screenshot 1

The project lead of ARMA 3 ‘Contact’, Joris-Jan van ‘t Land, has explained why Bohemia Interactive opted to focus on an alien invasion for the new spin-off expansion.

In an upcoming interview with OnlySP, van ‘t Land outlined the reasoning behind creating a new extra-terrestrial spin-off expansion for ARMA 3 instead of developing a brand new project like ARMA 4.

On the official ARMA 3 Contact announcement trailer page, fans of the ARMA franchise left comments which appears to indicate that public opinion is in favour of a whole new game. However, van ‘t Land explained that ‘Contact’ actually came into existence because the Amsterdam studio was specifically set up to flesh out new ideas and create new IPs within the ARMA series.

“‘Contact’ originated from our relatively small Amsterdam studio, a team which was formed to develop original ideas for Bohemia. That specifically meant doing less traditional projects, even if they were DLC or expansions to an existing game.”

“Initially ‘Contact’ was not even specified to be an ARMA 3 expansion. We considered even a stand-alone game, but ultimately the benefits of the expansion route were far too great.” He continued, “It meant we could make use of a massive sandbox, and ARMA 3 players would benefit from additions even if they do not care about the setting. Without ‘Contact’, there likely would not have been another official ARMA 3 DLC or expansion, aside from our Creator DLC program of course.

van ‘t Land also revealed that many in the ARMA 3 production team have been wanting to explore the alien sci-fi genre for years, but now they finally got a chance to develop their ideas.

“The ‘first contact’ premise is one many in our team have wanted to explore for years. Some know that during its pre-production stage, ARMA 3 itself had some less conventional elements under its ‘Futura’ codename. We had done our own experiments with the topic on the side for fun, but now pitched it as an actual project, and were fortunately given the chance.”

ARMA 3 Contact is set to be released on 25 July 2019 on PC. The full interview with van ‘t Land will be available tomorrow.

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