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Gore Verbinski: Not Useless After All

Look upon my pixel-shaded facial pockmarks ye mighty, and despair

Though the internet gave the director of the increasingly turgid Pirates of the Caribbean movies a gentle roasting for his infamous “You must possess some madness” advice to gamingdom, it rather seems as though he’s thinking along potentially exciting lines for his own flashing pixel endeavour. (Pirates of the Carribbean Online, pictured above, is not it. But hey, you make your bed, you lie in it.) Read on for Gore’s thoughts on “anti-narrative.” Not a pretty phrase, but his intentions sound better.

Speaking to the LA Times (registration required to read the piece, unfortunately), he makes a few insightful points:

“I feel that we are on the brink of something phenomenal. It’s a completely different form of narrative than being told a story in the traditional sense. So all the narrative rules, although I enjoy them, you have to start throwing them away and say, “Wow, look at what you can do here in this world!

… I’m also interested in anti-narrative. The initial response is that gaming needs good writing. I’ve heard that. They need screenwriters. Well, hold on a second. Before you jump to that conclusion, I don’t want to impose cinema’s narrative onto a completely different medium. I think that’s naive. The fact that the player is also the audience means you shouldn’t be imposing a scenario where the audience is passive. Don’t put those rules onto gaming. So out of that came in my mind new forms of narrative. I said, “Well, wait a minute, what if there is zero narrative?”

Which is pretty similar to my own feelings whenever I’m slamming my bloodied forehead against my keyboard, trying desperately to skip whatever droning bullshit cutscene is steadily eroding my sense of association with my in-game character. Post-Portal, I want to hear every developer saying this kind of thing. Still, it’s fancy talk from a man so far outside the gaming industry, and one whose storytelling acumen in his primary medium has proven seriously flawed, so I’m not yet confident that whatever he comes up with won’t turn out to be some “FROM THE MIND OF GORE VERBINSKI”, Clive Barker’s Jericho-esque barrage of exposition and action-poses.

He also proffers more overused buzzwords:

“I’m interested in creating completely new genres. I’m interested in exploring an emotional response to a game, which I haven’t really seen. I’ve seen the visceral adrenaline response, but I haven’t really played a game where I feel . . . tremendous loss.”

Yes, yes, we all want a game that can make us cry and all that. Clearly Gore hasn’t burned his Weighted Companion Cube yet.

No information on what to expect from his own game yet (“It’s a little bit out there”), but find the rest of the interview here.

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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