It is no stretch of the imagination to say that video games are the next frontier for storytelling. They invite the player to live the story, to experience its triumphs and downfalls. Deus Ex designer Warren Spector touched on this concept when he criticized games like Heavy Rain and Uncharted at this keynote address at PAX Australia. He said that in the games, “You have very limited ability to express yourself; it’s about how do you accomplish a predetermined path to get to the next plot point.” According to Spector, the ideal game would have a “shared authorship” between those writing the story and the people playing it.
He separated the stories told in these games by his own system of expressions (low, medium and high). He is quoted in calling Uncharted a “low expression” game and amended that “It’s not that games like this are bad, but they limit your ability to interact with the game world, so the story can unfold the way the storyteller wants it to unfold.” Naughty Dog’s community strategist Arne Meyer did respond to Spector’s comments, openly welcoming criticism.
Spector later called games like Heavy Rain and Telltale’s The Walking Dead “medium expression games,” admitting that Heavy Rain was a better story than he could ever write, but still felt like it was part of a movie script. To which he also added that “If all you want to do is show off how clever you are, get out of my medium!” This isn’t the first time Spector has voiced his opinion and criticisms on various games.
Fallout and Dishonor were of the few games Spector put on his “high expression” list.