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Game Overs Are A Failure of The Game Designer – Yes or No?

Game overs are a failure of the game designer.” This statement rises from David Cage, a French writer, video game designer, and musician. And why did he say that?

In a Gamescom interview about his upcoming game title of Beyond: Two Souls, he revealed that this game would not show a traditional “game over” on the screen like the other. He said to Joystiq that he’s always felt that “Game Over” is a state of failure more for the game designer than from the player. He reckoned that this phrase implies players didn’t play the game the way the producer wanted them to play. That’s why they will be punished and have to come back and play again until they do as what the producer wants. In his opinion, this didn’t make any sense in a story-driven experience.

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His deep meaning in Beyond: Two Souls

As mentioned above, the players won’t see a “Game Over” screen. And even, they will never see it in his latest game.

David Cage explained that the Ellen Page-starring PS3 title offers outcomes for the player’s failure instead of giving an end of a scenario. That means the gamers only lose out on a brand of the narrative or simply enjoy the story in a different way instead of restarting an encounter where they’ve messed up.

In one scene, two police officers will hunt down Jodi, the main characterin Beyond: Two Souls, on a moving passenger train. Jodi can escape from the officers and lead to an extreme standoff on the roof of the speeding train. In this game, “failing” means the police officers can catch Jodi before she can flee. In another aspect, it impliesto cut, fade to black and retry in the standard video game design scheme.

If the players “fail” the train scene, they will not enter the rooftop battle. But in case they “beat” it, they will not experience the escape narrative. In at least one of the scenes, Jodi might die. So, what happens when the character die?

Cage said that this game was all about death, and death played a vital role in all of this. This was one of the most significant discoveries and biggest mysteries so that you can find out what’s on the other side. And it’s definitively not a black screen of “Game Over.”That’s why he still affirmed that game overs are a failure of the game designer, not the players.

Additionally, Cage added that the players should play this game slowly. Relying on that, they are able to discover, connect all the dots and create the story by themselves. And they will not be passive in the storytelling because they get the right to enjoy the game as they want. Of course, no matter how active the players will be, they will never see a “Game Over” phrase on the screen.

In a word

When saying “Game overs are a failure of the game designer,” David Cage received lots of complaints. Lots of players think that he was wrong when only concentrating on story-driven content. However, there are still some supporting him.

So, how about you? What do you think about this sentence? Just share with us your thoughts and then we can discuss together.