What differentiate us from the rest of the animals? You might say it is language, or the opposition thumb, large brains, biped posture…
Animals have different sorts of language and different physical abilities, ants for example can carry 1000 times its weight and new researches showed that the neck joint of a common field ant can withstand 5,000 times the ant’s weight. So many different animal thrive on different physical abilities.
Dr. Con Slobodchikoff studied prairie dog communication and discovered that different alarm calls for different species of predators, transmission of semantic information, in that playbacks of alarm calls in the absence of predators lead to escape behaviors that are appropriate to the type of predator which elicited the alarm calls, alarm calls even contain descriptive information about the general size, color, and speed of travel of the predator. Amazing right?
Well the physical differences play a big role on the evolution of our species, and our language is hundreds of times more complex than what we can see in other species, even primates… but what made us distantiate from our ancestral tribal ways of living to the modern status we take for granted today? The ability to tell stories… this changed everything.
Differently from the prairie dog, we could tell another group of individuals what happened days ago, so they could be aware of the predators nearby, the patterns of movement and how often they come by, when they go drink water and so on… thay could tell this information or story to their kids and to other groups, we started to tell stories in front of the fire, this has led us to believe in stories, and transform a concept to reality, much like a country, which is just a piece of land, but if people that live on it believe there is union, than there is… same goes for a corporation, people believe it exists and work to that common objective. Religion, history,
Over the years of our existence we developed ways to tell stories and we are always improving and getting better at this task… we started to paint in caves, later on using our voice, with development of writing we started to write accountant notes but short after that we started to write stories too, they later became pieces of the puzzle we call history, With the invention of the press books became the most important medium to tell stories of all time, but perhaps the most powerful storytelling medium of the last century was cinema, but as powerful as it is, now we have a new contender: Video games.
And they are powerful… they are quickly getting characters to express deep emotions, something that is kind of new to the medium, and the realism is getting better and better… soon they will be as expressive as real actors, they already did this in the movies, with many digital created characters as Cesar the ape just to give one extremely well done character on the big screen lately, it is a matter of time that we achieve this excellence in games too… We are learning how to tell interactive stories, Anthem for example is trying to bring the fun of multiplayer co-op games that usually does not have a deep story and the experience of a full blown single player journey, we do not know yet if they will succeed, but Bioware is one of the best contender when it come to crazy good storytelling, so I will not bet against them though. The Last of Us was one of the best story driven game of the last generation and telling by the 2 trailers we have seen, wow… this should be a hell of a story, combined with an incredibly tense gameplay… I think I did not get as tense in my life as when I was playing the first one… Really amazing experience, it’s extension was a deeper look at Ellie, the main character of the new game, and they have developed her story so well, better than most films I saw, even better than a lot of TV series too… this last trailer also got a lot of attention because of Ellie’s gay kiss and a lot of discussion in social media, rants of conservative folks and praised by a lot of progressive people, myself included, so look at that… a videogame story getting on the nerves of thousands of people even before it’s release… yeah guys, strong storytelling there… So we are getting there… and we are just scratching the surface in VR too, that has an immense potential to change a lot they way we experience storytelling.
But for now lets see some of the best glimpses of storytelling in this E3, IMHO of course!
The Last of Us II
Ghost of Tsushima
Beyond Good & Evil 2