David Cage Refuses To Grow Up, Says Man In His Chair

David Cage has been speaking again. And that means he’s been talking about how games need to grow up, that they’re too focused on shooting and not enough on crying about leaves. “David, honey, would you like a cup of coffee?” “Why don’t they make more games where a child dies?” “Yes David, that’s right dear.”

Describing the games industry as having “Peter Pan Syndrom” during a speech at DICE this year, Cage said the thing he says.

“It’s time to reassess who we are, and what we are doing. Someone who is anxious at the idea of growing up and becoming an adult, and who actually refuses to grow up. And that’s quite a bold statement to make about an entire industry!”

The talk, reported by the heroes at Gamasutra, lambasted the industry’s immaturity, saying it focuses only on a very limited scope of games. He then proved this by saying that the charts are only made up of three genres, “Kids games, Casual games, and violent action games.”

What’s so frustrating here is that while there’s a giant wad of truth to what he’s saying – gaming is a very immature genre when compared to the wider extent of film, literature, etc. And gaming at its most commercial is dominated by familiar shooters and casual output. But it’s so hard to shake the feeling that what he’s really saying is, “Not enough people buy my mad, broken games.” Because the words he uses just aren’t true.

The top selling games just aren’t only made up of kids’ games, casual games and violent action. For crying out loud, sport games! Racing games! They may well still fit into his argument that games repeat the same themes, don’t advance or explore far enough, but it’s horribly undermined when his claims are so obviously problematic. So when he compares Wolfenstein 3D to Modern Warfare 3, on some level he’s correct that there isn’t a massive thematic advancement between the two, beyond technologically. But it’s the wrong argument. If I compare Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand (2013) to Raw Deal (1986) I can claim that both are action movies about small town sheriffs, both have terrible acting and scripts, and both follow similar themes of action movies. But I can’t conclude from this that all of film has failed to advance in the last 27 years.

Just glancing at any best selling games list and you’ll see so much that contradicts his statements. The fourth best selling game on Xbox was Fable, seventh was Knights Of The Old Republic. The fifteenth best selling game on 360 is Minecraft. Nintendo, which for some reason he accepts from his list, obviously wildly contradicts all of his conclusions, and you can include Sonic in most best selling lists too. The sixth best selling game on the PSX was Tomb Raider II. Seventh best on PS3 – MotorStorm, and tenth is LittleBigPlanet. Skyrim appears in every format’s chart. And while PC charts are woefully inaccurate, The Sims dominates by a huge amount, along with StarCraft, Minecraft and Guild Wars.

I’m not claiming that any of the games I’ve mentioned are evidence of an ever-broadening gaming scene – most of them are absolutely derivative of long-established genres. And even though a few are truly original or ground-breaking, what they more importantly demonstrate is the wide range of what is popular in gaming. And that’s not even getting into his peculiar utter dismissal of casual gaming, as if it doesn’t count, when the term more usually means “accessible”.

Even more egregiously ridiculous is Cage’s statement during the talk that, “We need to move away from our traditional market, which is kids, teenagers, young adults.” That’s just utter bullshit, and he has to know it. The average age of a gamer has been in his or her 30s for many, many years, and that’s crept up from 20s in the many years before that. While gaming is certainly a fantastic pursuit of children and teenagers, the majority of people buying the games are much older. And the games are aimed at them too, because they’re the ones with the money. Perpetuating the peculiar myth that gaming is for kids is the purvey of tabloid Glendas and politicians, not games developers. He continues,

“Think about your friends who don’t play. Think about your parents. Do they play console games? Most of the time they don’t play video games.”

Um, okay David, I’m thinking about my dad. And about how every evening I see the Steam alert popping up to say he’s back in Skyrim yet again. And how he raised me with one hand on his gaming keyboard. And I’m thinking about my many friends who are parents who consider gaming to be a main hobby of theirs. And I’m thinking about the many adults who were playing games in the 80s, of whom I would ask for tips, who are now in their 60s and still gaming. And I’m thinking about who I see when I attend gaming shows, or who turned up to Rezzed, and there seemed to be an awful lot of adults amongst them. A majority.

I think I’m primarily frustrated because I frequently lament the sense of gaming stunting its own maturity, of the failure to expand its horizons in certain directions on a commercial level. I want to make his argument, and I really want him to stop making it. Because if Cage’s games are any example of his vision for where gaming should be going, he needs to be lassoed and tied to a tree.

And I like David Cage games! Well, within reason. I don’t like The Nomad Soul – I’m not insane. But I found Fahrenheit, while utterly idiotic, enormous fun. And Heavy Rain, as ridiculously flawed as it certainly was, absolutely did deliver a darker, more morose and adult tone. But they were all batshit, and they all had really terrible stories! Fahrenheit, which beings as what appears to be an intriguing conflation of playing as both killer and police investigating the crime, quickly degenerates into the dumbest sci-fi nonsense imaginable, as you chase an AI across the side of a building, watch girls in the shower, and have a character bloody well called “the Oracle”. Heavy Rain, meanwhile, was so enormously derivative of any number of thriller movies or sub-Stephen King novels that it defied belief that it had been heralded as something so brave and original. Original in gaming, perhaps, if you ignore all of adventure games, but hardly a new direction for narrative. Oh, but multiple endings, so that’ll do!

I enjoy playing his games, and I’m genuinely delighted that he’s striving to be different. But he’s trapped by his own limited abilities when it comes to storytelling. The irony that his writing is so dependent upon mimicking incredibly familiar and hackneyed themes from cinema really does seem to be lost on him, as he continues to decry that the rest of gaming isn’t following his trail.

He went on to lay out a ludicrous manifesto for developers, which if followed would stifle creativity more than any publisher demanding a developer make the same game as last year. “Make games for all audiences” he demands, whether the audiences want games or not. “Change our paradigms” he opines, which is gibberish for “don’t include violence”. Yeah, it’s about time there was a single game without violence! “Can we create games that have something to say?” he says, in defiance of all semiotic theory. “Become accessible” the industry is instructed. Accessible like Nomad Soul, you mean? Lord. “Bring other talent on board” he demands, explaining that his unique use of a singer and an actor is the defining difference between his and all other gaming. Actors in games? What madness! There’s something entirely unintelligible about forming new relationships in Hollywood, then moves on to his frequent lament about censorship in gaming, which is a fair point, although hardly the responsibility of developers.

Amazingly he then declares in his eighth demand that the press is divided in two, with one half analysing the industry, and the other half “you’ve got people giving scores. Just scores.” Whu? There’s a version of my job where I can literally just write a number and get paid?! I think somewhere in this rambling he might be complaining about the growth of user-scores and amateur critics, which I don’t quite understand, and can’t quite understand how it’s something developers can “do” when making their games. Ninth we’re reminded that gamers are important, in which he states that buying or not buying a game is “like a political vote”, which it isn’t.

And if we all do all of this, says Mr Cage, then (and I promise this is the quote reported by Gama),

“Finally, we will have a chance to become mass market.”

My brain just fell out.

Does Cage really exist in a universe where gaming is still a struggling niche hobby, failing to gain mass attention because of all the shooters? It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, a hobby pursued by the large majority of adults and young people, precisely because it does mimic itself, churning out populist crap alongside more interesting content. I fear that Cage is trapped in his own Hollywood bubble of other 40-somethings that missed the gaming boat, and has completely failed to notice the reality of the world around him. Cage really is the one who is failing to grow up here.

I’ve always argued that his games’ greatest role is to try stuff out that no one else is mad to give a go, to see what works. Throw enough batshit at the crazywall, see what sticks. I wonder if Rockstar would ever have tried (the equally ridiculously flawed and daft) LA Noire had there not been David Cage games before it. I’m sure there are many glints and elements of games that have been inspired by moments within his explorations. But he is not the Pied Piper gaming should be following, unless we all want to drown in a river of quick-time events and Indigo Children. The solution for any stunted growth in gaming is not adding a split-screen sex scene. Cage’s obsession with cinema, as if it holds all the answers for gaming, is his greatest flaw. He sets gaming up with the destiny of only ever being derivative of another medium, rather than flourishing as its own (which is doing rather well at, thank you very much).


  1. Mr. Mister says:

    Screw the plot, the matrix-of-persia-fu QTEs are the best,

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  2. SirKicksalot says:

    As C.S. Lewis says,

    Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development.

    • GameCat says:

      I thought this quote was from Lewis Carroll and speaking of – I want proper Alice In Wonderland game that captures book mood (no, as I like American McGee’s Alice and sequel, it isn’t proper AiW game). This would be much better than any serious, grown up, adult, sad, artsy, dark, etc. games.

      • lokimotive says:

        That’s from Lewis’ essay “On Three Ways of Writing for Children”. For some reason, I find it odd that it would be attributed to Lewis Carrol… it just doesn’t seem like something he would feel the need to write.

        But I agree with you about Alice adaptations. Capture the mood of that book, however, would be difficult as it, for me at least, is so dependent on its literary form.

        • Paul.Power says:

          Alice in Wonderland would make a great text-based adventure with hardly any editing. The Eat Me/Drink Me section reads like one already, and I can just imagine a particularly fussy text parser insisting you type EAT EAT ME and DRINK DRINK ME instead of just EAT ME or DRINK ME because “You can’t eat yourself! Don’t be silly, Alice.”

          The whole story is, after all, based around warped, absurd but weirdly consistent logic, the bread and butter of adventure games.

      • Dozer says:

        They’re the same person. C. S. Lewis Carroll.

        • Esteis says:

          Caroll Sewil Lewis Carroll, with a looking-glass in the middle. What people call him depends on where they start reading, and where they stop.

      • eclipse mattaru says:

        I never understood that idea that gaming, film and tv has that turning Alice into a därkir, gritty business would make it any better. Just don’t fix what’s not broken. As Erik Wolpaw said a long time ago:

        “The problem with making a dark and disturbing version of Alice in Wonderland is that it’s pretty dark and disturbing to begin with, which gives it little training wheels that help cultural firebrands ride it into geniusdom once every eighteen months or so. Masterminding a trippy reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll is like making a version of Crazy Traxi, only crazy!”.

        I gotta say, for a brief time I hoped that Burton’s Willy Wonka would finally show the world that you don’t need to goth stuff up in order to make it proper crazy; but then Burton himself got involved in that appalling, abominable Alice movie and we were back at square one.

  3. Drake Sigar says:

    I hate to keep pointing this out (not really), but Fahrenheit has an unlockable bonus scene of David Cage grind-dancing against his powerful female hero Carla. He never struck me as any more mature than the industry he’s critisizing.

    Still love his games though. WIsh Heavy Rain was on the PC. :/

    • excel_excel says:

      link to youtu.be

    • nearly says:

      it looks like ALL of the character models go through the dancing. he had a character model since he was part of the tutorial.

      I wouldn’t call Hideo Kojima immature or say that he’s less serious just because he makes goofy videos in otherwise very somber games. I don’t see how David Cage is any different– grown-up doesn’t mean dead serious at all times.

      • strangeloup says:

        I could be mean and say that Kojima, like Cage, also makes bullshit nonsense games that people inexplicably proclaim to be grand works of art, but at least the Metal Gear games have decent gameplay (in between the interminable cutscenes, at least), and I unreservedly enjoyed both the ZoE titles.

        edit: Of Cage’s non-PS3 games (as in, the ones I’ve actually been able to play), unlike John I really liked The Nomad Soul, though was never able to finish it. I thought Fahrenheit was at least interesting, even if it did go completely off the rails in the second half.

        • 2helix4u says:

          I don’t know about being any more a work of art but at least Kojima’s games deal with some interesting ideas, albiet in an insane way. MGS2 was about information control now that we have the internet, MGS4 was about the rise of PMCs.
          I have a soft spot for a Japanese-made american action hero belong to an elite force who seek… global nuclear disarmament? That ain’t something your video game protagonist in the west would typically be doing.

          David Cage makes procedural cop show games about time travelling aztec AIs.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      the power of interpretive dance

    • thecat17 says:

      David Cage is really made up of pixels, polygons, and animation cycles? He doesn’t have real skin like you or I, but a simulated texture over his mesh model?

      That must’ve been some impressive holographic tech on display at DICE. Where’s the article on that? How could Quantic Dream afford such technology if they’re not making Call of Duty levels of cash? I just hope nobody tried to hug him or anything, as such technology is not known to provide tangibility and surely that would have broken immersion!

  4. db1331 says:

    Yes. Clearly what we need are more games where you press triangle to brush your teeth, or drink a glass of OJ.

    • Convolvulus says:

      I enjoy the immersion of needing three tries to fill a cup of coffee (because all the characters have advanced multiple sclerosis, I guess).

      • grenadeh says:

        Roflmao, that’s good game-play there.

      • pepper says:

        I dont know about you, but in the morning my kitchen floor looks like a mass grave for the residue of our dark and grinded bean-friends.

      • smb says:

        Truly, Octodad is the future of “mature” gaming.

    • Stupoider says:

      It’s commentary on the pointlessness of shooting baddies. Cage can back me up on this. Right? Right?

    • iucounu says:

      I quite liked the domestic pottering about. I gave up on Heavy Rain largely because everything else felt like Dragon’s Lair.

    • Henson says:

      We all need our morning coffee – right, Zach?

  5. Korbie says:

    I still can’t watch the opening of Heavy Rain without laughing at how blatantly emotionally manipulative it is.

  6. Malibu Stacey says:

    Sounds like someone has inadequacy issues.

    By “someone” I mean David Cage.

    And by “sounds like” I mean it’s plainly obvious.

  7. hypercrisis says:

    I can’t help but feel you’re picking his words apart for the wrong reasons here. It all comes off very defensive and a little snide. Cage has always been pompous but thats his thing, the ramble he espouses is nothing we dont all know.

    • daemonofdecay says:

      I guess part of the problem – beyond his quotes that come off as absurdly wrong – is that he is being arrogantly condemning, yet is not offering anything to the debate beyond his arrogant condemnation. Saying “Oi, gaming industry! You’re doing it wrong!” is one thing. But his games are not offering us a paradigm shift in gaming. His speech is filled with shallow arguments, in between the bits that are surprising for being so inaccurate.

      Does, in the end, he have some valid points? Yes. Is his speech an effective vector for transmitting those ideas? Not from where I’m standing. There is a market for more mature games. But then, like every mass media form, the biggest markets are for the lowest common denominator. The most successful films and best-selling books are not always what the critics are going to call “the best”. Games are no different.

    • iGark says:

      Having a thing does not make it okay. It’s still dumb.

    • PopeBob says:

      What are you even trying to say here? That we shouldn’t care when people say stupid things very loudly to a roomful of applause? Perhaps coming from somebody more qualified to be saying these things it would be easier to swallow, but when one hears a lead developer talking and one has played their games, one’s mind immediately recognizes the cognitive dissonance between the rhetoric and what is put into practice. Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain were incredibly juvenile schlock with some added attempts to appeal to the deep emotions of parenthood and childhood, both of which included extensive violence of the fantasy and gun variety. Both of which included rampant sexual imagery for the sake of it rather than for story progression. But hey, they had some pretty cool mocap!

  8. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    Why doesn’t he just make a film. Would really make his life and ours a little better.

    • woodsey says:

      Because he can’t even write to the equivalent of your average video game adaptation. Still, the man is clearly infatuated with Hollywood to the point of jealousy.

      • Phantoon says:

        Which is funny, because Hollywood is just as immature, or even more so. Look at Avatar- it wasn’t praised for storytelling, it was praised for having all the graphics.

        • gwathdring says:

          I don’t think praising graphics is a bad thing as long as all the other parts of film get praised. And they do! The film industry cares about acting and directing and writing. It also cares about money. There’s a robust class of film critics who fit all tastes.

          The award shows are mostly a political shit-show, so that’s a problem … but other than that, I don’t think the existence of so many bad films is enough to discount all of the maturity that exists in film. We, however, aren’t there yet in gaming.

          Praising Avatar for being utterly gorgeous? Great! Acting like it’s anything other than utterly gorgeous? Possibly problematic. Good thing that didn’t happen so much in the critical space! Or maybe it did … it didn’t among the critics I follow.

          • Phantoon says:

            It was received in the public space as the next Citizen Kane, without anyone offering an explanation as to why they thought it was so great outside of the graphics.

            Most critics throw nebulous terms around for every movie because they don’t quite understand what they’re talking about, anyways. A lot of reviews include personal taste disguised as critical thinking, when the critic should be divorcing the two to give an even review. It’s possible to dislike a movie that’s well directed, cut, acted, etc, but most critics ignore that because they don’t like the star.

            I suppose a sign of growing up will be when people don’t criticize the games journalism part of gaming, because they’ll be using terms too nebulous to debate. Films are no better than video games.

            And as far as art goes, MoMA once ran an exhibit on high-definition pictures of assholes. I don’t mean people, I mean the part of the body. If that’s considered art, then anything is if people will hotly debate it.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Avatar was NEVER received by critics as the next Citizen Kane. Just a quick example – it has a metacritic score of 83. Of the last seven movies I saw (Lincoln, Argo, Holy Motors, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Beasts of a Southern Wild, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) ONE did not have a higher score. FYI the users gave it 7.6.

            Meanwhile, I’m having a hard time finding it in the Top 250 movies on IMDb, as voted by the viewers, and if we adjust for inflation it’s not even in the top 10 most successful films of all time. Or in the top 12. It’s in fact on 15th place (Gone With The Wind is the winner here). And if we look at it from a different perspective – invested dollar vs returns, then it falls off even further, while My Big Fat Greek Wedding takes the cake.

            So come again? It was a big success and people liked it. Nobody ever said it’s a modern Citizen Kane.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            I liked Avatar. It was certainly predictable, but it was well-made and entertaining. Also I get the feeling much of the criticism against it mostly comes from people who get annoyed when you remind them that their ancestors murdered a lot of indigenous people, or that certain booming economies might be the result of the irreversible destruction of natural resources.

            I’m not saying it’s a classic or anything, but there’s nothing wrong with using existing archetypes and plot-patterns.

        • kwyjibo says:

          The movie industry is significantly more mature and mass market than the games industry. Take a look at the box office charts, and compare that with the gaming charts. Compare the demographics of the movie audience and “gamers”.

          Cage is right, if games want to the chance to be mass market, they’ll have to do better.

          Unless you think entire swathes of the populace should have to settle for Angry Birds and Farmville.

          • ffordesoon says:

            If they like Angry Birds and FarmVille, where’s the problem?

          • kwyjibo says:

            The end state of gaming evolution for vast swathes of the populace is Angry Birds and Farmville? What’s the problem? Seems like a wasted medium to me.

          • The Random One says:

            At present, the movies industry is on the exact same leg as the game industry: rehashing the same themes, fearful to release anything that’s not an adaptation or sequel, and only the most respected have the slightest chance to release anything truly new.

            The thing is that movies have a longer and more varied story to pull from, so when they rehash the same themes, for instance, they have more themes to rehash. Games have to stick to military shooter or sci-fi shooter.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      “Brad, you’re an excellent actor, but can we just do the scene again”
      “The Jason scene? Again?”
      “I’ve already said Jason, like, a thousand times today”
      “Brad, please, it’s only one more try and we can wrap for the day. That’s only another five hundred ‘Jasons'”.

  9. Bradamantium says:

    I share the same sentiment, even if I’d be a little less vitriolic sharing it. Which is to say thanks, John, for ponying up and saying what I wouldn’t for fear of incurring the wrath of people who’d tell me I CLEARLY just don’t think games are art. I figure I’ll address Cage’s concerns about needing to take games more seriously once he decides to take them more seriously. He omits a lot of obvious information in his call to action. And that’s on top of the fact that his games, while pretty laudable in the narrative department, fall really flat for me as games. Fantastic interactive fiction, yeah, but pouring myself some orange juice and tapping a button to call for my son doesn’t push my buttons as much as it calls for me to needlessly push buttons. It’s easy to make a game out of different thematic material when the actual “game” part of that game is limited to token interactions via timed button presses.

  10. Outright Villainy says:

    Cage is a strange man who makes really flawed games, but I still think the industry is better off for having insane auteurs like him or Kojima. At they very least their games will be interesting just by being different, and there’s some lessons to be taken from their efforts; The Walking Dead takes a lot of cues from the style of Heavy Rain, and its brilliant.

    His comments here make it hard to argue that point though, because he just comes across as remarkably childish, as if he’s the one who’s got it all figured out and we’d all be better off if we followed him in every way. Which is completely daft.

    • tobecooper says:

      If I were one of the guests at that speech I would presume from the title that Cage will be talking about himself and his creative process. His games are such a strange mixture of adult and juvenile.
      That speech could be really interesting.

      (I like his games too, despite their flaws, and I think Cage is a silly bear.)

    • Poliphilo says:

      It’s just a massive shame that different in this context means borrowed from utter trash such as CSI and its ilk. I would seriously consider commending his approach in interactivity if it wasn’t somewhat of a gimmick to liven up an otherwise not very remarkable game with a silly plot (even, no, especially for an investigation-type game with pretentions of deeper meaning) and exactly .1 gameplay. And he just keeps making the same game over and over again, I think.

      Otherwise, if the words that came out of his mouth weren’t so wildly missing their mark and hyperbolic to the point of feeling anachronistic, he still has somewhat of a point (the same RPS and many readers probably share). Just expressed extremely, and I do mean, extremely poorly.

  11. TimMc says:

    Gaming is full of violent, ‘mindless’ action games in the same way the film industry is full of violent mindless action films. The two industries are practically identical in terms of maturity, because the audience is identical.

    But both have their Citizen Kanes, their heart-string pullers, their puzzles in addition to that. They are both diverse industries.

    David Cage is just an idiot who thinks QTE’s and bad scripts are amazing. WHY WILL NO ONE BUY MY GAMES?

    • hypercrisis says:

      Well now you’ve done it.

      Citizen Kane of games is?

      • TimMc says:

        I would probably point towards Planescape, or another old RPG. Back when RPGs were excessively long and took you on a journey. Back when people had to tolerance to read books worth of dialogue because it wasn’t voice acted.

        Everyone will have an opinion on that though.

        • Acorino says:

          One day I shall read it in its entirety. Who knows, it might even happen tomorrow! ;)

      • PopeBob says:

        The obvious answer here is Limbo of the Lost.

        • Stupoider says:

          You’re ace for reminding me that Limbo of the Lost exists.

      • Cunzy1 1 says:

        The Mr Wobbly Leg vs the space invaders of street theatre?

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Citizen Kabuto.

      • GameCat says:

        Citizen Kane of games?
        Shadow of Colossus. Great, simple and moving plot, very atmospheric, killing every colossus makes you feel both powerful and sad. Brilliant music and visuals. Story that is tell mostly by gameplay and is more impactful as a game. Filming it would take something important from it.

    • J_C says:

      Heavy Rain sold more than 2 million. Yes cleary nobody buys his games.

      • Llewyn says:

        How many of those were bundled with PS3s though? I know that’s how I got it (although it was one of my reasons for wanting a PS3).

    • gwathdring says:

      There is a tightness of composition to Citizen Kane that I haven’t encountered in gaming. I don’t think we have or Citizen Kanes. I don’t think we have our Kubrik, our Spielberg, our Hitchcock. Not yet.

      • Phantoon says:

        Good, because two of those three are insane, and the other one ruined the Indiana Jones franchise with a pointless movie.

        • Stupoider says:

          Kubrick? Hitchcock? Insane?

          • brulleks says:

            …and even if they were (which they weren’t), how would their being insane devalue their work?

        • RaiderJoe says:

          Nikola Tesla was LITERALLY insane, yet he was one of the most brilliant men in the past century. Brilliance != Sanity + Genius.

      • TimMc says:

        Tim Schafer? Hideo Kojima? Maybe?

        • Hanban says:

          As much as I love Hideo Kojima I wouldn’t laud him that much (this coming from someone who will gladly watch MGS4 cutscenes for hours).

  12. Xocrates says:

    “Does Cage really exist in a universe where gaming is still a struggling niche hobby, failing to gain mass attention because of all the shooters?”

    To be perfectly fair, it’s entirely possible for that to be the case on France. That’s still a very common view in many countries.

    • Bradamantium says:

      ‘Course, that’s their problem more than the industry’s.

      • J_C says:

        There are many countries like that. US, UK, Japan, Germany =/= world.

        • Bradamantium says:

          I’m well aware, but again, that’s their problem, not the industry’s. There are obviously a multitude of games out there, it’s just a matter of people playing them. If the games need to be more specifically tailored to different cultures or languages, there are development tools to aid with this. You can’t really call the game industry out on these regions’ relative disinterest in the genre.

          • Brun says:

            If there’s money to be made, companies will make games that cater to those regions. Example: Warface, designed to cater to the Russian and East European market, which traditionally has not been a big revenue generator for the gaming industry.

      • Xocrates says:

        Depends. A large part of the problem is that the industry does not care about those countries and does nothing to change how games (and the industry) are perceived.

        Games often receive little to no advertising, even the large ones. A game has to be pretty massive to even be noticeable by anyone who isn’t heavily into gaming.

        Having plenty of games available is meaningless if people don’t even know they exists, and even if they do know, they’ll probably have the wrong impression of them.

    • ragekit says:

      Nah, i’m french, and Videogames makes shittons of money here too. Very similar to US market.

  13. daemonofdecay says:

    Yes, every mature gamer wants more mature games available. I love a game with a deep and engrossing story. Compare early cinema to its later years – it was originally slapstick comedy and melodrama. Things changed over time, and we got more engrossing films as people realized there was a market for them. If they make enjoyable and equally engrossing games, plenty would play them.

    However, sometimes I might only have an hour or so after work until I have to get back to making dinner, cleaning the apartment, and paying bills. I don’t always want to watch Schindler’s List, or Brazil, or one of dozens of excellent but otherwise deep films. Sometimes, I just want to put on a terrible action movie with no plot and terrible acting because it’s FUN.

    Games are the same: Sometimes, I just want to blow some teenagers head off.

    • Phantoon says:

      In the game, I hope.

    • Kadayi says:

      I think Cages point is that the market is there, but the product largely isn’t. He’s not condemning current games, more making the point that there’s scope for the medium to tackle more serious themes in an mature and thought provoking way. That’s only going to happen though in part if reviewers also begin to be more critical of game narrative. The present focus on most game reviews tends to be towards the mechanistic and visual aspects and less so the narrative. The key problem with that though it that a lot of game reviewers are complete grognards and don’t give much of a hoot about narrative or story. The endless high scores for AAA games with pretty dismal story lines will testify to that.

  14. Chandos says:

    So let me get this right… when John Walker likens the entire gaming audience to babies ( I mean look at the top image in there: link to rockpapershotgun.com), it’s great and just the thing we need to hear. When somebody else raises the same issue, it is an opportunity to make it personal and point out their inadequacies?

    ““Yes David, that’s right dear.”

    “I want to make his argument, and I really want him to stop making it. ”
    So you now have a monopoly on the “games need to grow up” argument? You can’t just share with other kids?

    • Craig Stern says:

      I get the impression that John is annoyed at the panoply of factual errors in Mr. Cage’s rant, not at the notion that the games industry should really be trying on more mature themes and making an effort to get across more non-trivial messages.

      • subedii says:

        Well, yeah. He very literally says as much. That he wants to have this discussion, and he wants to be making these points for him because whilst there’s the kernel of a point in there somewhere, it’s still surrounded by, well, spouted nuttiness if I’m trying to be polite.

      • Chandos says:

        I’m afraid it is more than that, although it is certainly trying to hide behind that interpretation. Le’s see:

        ““Make games for all audiences” he demands, whether the audiences want games or not.”
        -So making games appeal to broader audiences (and these could be women or disabled people or whatnot, who knows) is not a good thing because some audiences may not want games? What kind of a counter argument is that? Is someone trying to force games down a certain demographic’s throat?

        ‘“Change our paradigms” he opines, which is gibberish for “don’t include violence”.
        -Which is also gibberish for John saying “I’m gonna take this guy’s words off his mouth and put my own meaning on them.”

        ‘“Can we create games that have something to say?” he says, in defiance of all semiotic theory. ‘
        -This coming from a man who once said “even Jennifer Aniston movies have more to say about love than all of gaming put together.” Did you try semiotics, John?

        ‘“Become accessible” the industry is instructed. Accessible like Nomad Soul, you mean? Lord. ‘
        -Take a good suggestion and point out how horribly wrong it can go. Even better, point out how that guy screwed it up. Well done.

        Not a huge fan of David Cage games myself, but at least the guy is trying. He might be off the mark but he is actively trying. He deserves more respect for that than he is getting here.

        • Grygus says:

          I think the point people are making though is that he isn’t trying; he’s hypocritically calling everyone else out, with made up facts, if need be.

          • Chandos says:

            Show me the people making CoD, GoW, Halo, Crysis, etc, and I’ll show you who’s not trying. Even if he is failing badly, there are graceful, appropriate ways of pointing that out without ridiculing him.

            You know what, nevermind. Mental note to self: next time you see the name John Walker at the top, just skip the whole damn article. I’m too old for people who confuse rudeness with candor.

    • Kadayi says:

      There are better ways to say things for sure.

      Frankly given he makes games for the PS3 and this is a PC gaming site I doubt Cage gives much of a hoot what john thinks to be honest though.

      • Bradamantium says:

        But Cage gives a hoot about what gamers think, and his argument sounds pretty decent at first hearing. John could tone it back a bit, but Cage gave this opinion at D.I.C.E. He basically just patronized the gaming industry, as a whole, right to its face, and had the gall to leave massive gaps in the evidence for his claim. Treating him as a child isn’t too much different than how he seems to view gamers and developers alike.

        • Kadayi says:

          Then be more offended I guess.

          Sure we can say that Cages breakdown might be a little off, but ‘There’s sports games!!’ isn’t really much of a counterpoint Vs his basic argument about game narrative and nor is simply pouring scorn on the man and his work up to now.

          By any measure games are largely far behind literature, Film or TV drama when it comes to any degree of narrative maturity. Telltales ‘The Walking Dead’ is probably about the best game narrative we’ve had in a long time Vs most of the dreck we get served up, and even it is a little heavy handed in places.

          I think the guys/girls at extra credits sum things up nicely: –

          The real issue really comes down to the use of the word ‘game’. The broader reality is ‘interactive media’ and within that there are a number of arenas, and opportunities that it would be good to see the industry exploring more. All to often game definitions centre around the principal action ‘FPS ‘ ‘ turn based strategy’ ‘RPG’ and rarely engage with the narrative angle. There’s massive differences between, Portal, L4D, BF3, Mirrors Edge & Farcry 3 but they all essentially fall under the genre definition of FPS, because the narrative is viewed as secondary.

      • Stupoider says:

        Cage forgot to take a picture of a baby to symbolise the people he was addressing, John knows what’s up.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Do people actually even read these things?

      In the article you link to John says “Am I calling games immature? Yes. Am I calling gamers immature for enjoying them? No.” So no, he isn’t calling gamers babies.

      John’s mention of sports games wasn’t a counterpoint to Cage’s main argument, it’s clearly there to point out that the charts aren’t just full of the three types Cage mentioned. It’s obvious because it’s like, right there, in the article. Just read it.

      It’s not a case of “I can say this but Cage can’t.” It’s that John, rightly, thinks Cage has the wrong motivations, and that he’s muddying an argument that has some merit.

      It’s all in the words.

  15. David Bliff says:

    “Um, okay David, I’m thinking about my dad.”

    Sorry but this is all I could think of:

  16. excel_excel says:

    As long as I get to wash my hands AFTER I pee this time in his next game.
    That was bullshit how I washed my hands after brushing my teeth and then couldn’t wash them after I peed.
    Focus on that next time Cage! Don’t worry about all those massive plot holes!

  17. ScubaMonster says:

    This guy is a pretentious d-bag. Gaming really isn’t any more immature than anything else. Look at half the drivel that creeps out of Hollywood. Plus, it’s not like his games rise above the standards, which makes him a hypocrite.

    Some games don’t need a rhyme or reason, they’re just fun. I don’t care if it’s adult or thought provoking. Who the F cares? I’d rather play a mindless fun game than some pretentious artsy crap.

  18. J_C says:

    ” “Think about your friends who don’t play. Think about your parents. Do they play console games? Most of the time they don’t play video games.”

    Um, okay David, I’m thinking about my dad. And about how every evening I see the Steam alert popping up to say he’s back in Skyrim yet again. ”

    I don’t want to brake it to you John, but if you look at the whole world, the teens and yound adults are the ones who play the most.

    • Bradamantium says:

      That’s objectively untrue. The average age of gamers is 30.

      • Soon says:

        How does one qualify as a gamer, though?


        In addition to playing on PC/console; play on “a dedicated handheld system (like a PSP, etc.), a wireless device/tablet (e.g., iPad) or a phone used to play games.” Anyone that played games across any of those devices for at least an hour a week was considered a “gamer”.

        Not sure what my point was, but anyway.

        • Bradamantium says:

          One who plays games, I’d imagine. You could bring all sort of “hardcore” and “casual” sides of things to the argument, but in the end, it’s apparent that gaming is an industry worth many, many billions that appeals to a decently wide range of folks. If it really all was just senseless, childish idiocy targeting young adults, people would catch on, for effectively the same reasons you won’t catch anyone over the age of 30 professing their love for Justin Bieber. That average age would plummet. Overall, I appreciate Cage’s assertion in its barest terms of “we need smarter games,” but I’d rephrase it to “we could use some smarter games” and remove all the selective information he’s presenting.

        • RedViv says:

          I’d say anyone who enjoys and gets immersed in games, and doesn’t just mess around with them to pass time.
          Say, Angry Birds player who only busts that stuff out on the commute? Not really. Angry Birds player who busts it out on the commute, almost gets too obsessed with getting the three stars on *that* level, gets home and in the game again and optimises usage of avian ammunition? That one.

  19. GunnerMcCaffrey says:

    There might be an argument to be made against Cage’s concerns, but “Sport games! Racing games!” is definitely not it. Nor are Sonic or Tomb Raider good examples of thoughtful, mature works.

    Most of what the industry offers is tripe. It’s possible to admit this and still love the medium. I’m not sure how one could love the medium without admitting it. Tough love and all that. “The average age of a gamer has been in his or her 30s for many, many years.” Fine, yes, but since when has age alone been a sign of maturity? If anything, a 30-year-old has more potential to be immature than a 13-year-old, depending on how they choose to spend their time and resources.

    I appreciate taking umbrage with his self-satisfied tone, but I feel like you’re responding to an argument he didn’t quite make.

    • Matt_W says:

      Tomb Raider tripe? This smacks a little of snobbishness. The original Tomb Raider was a master class in game design, truly one of the greatest games ever. It was one of the first games to have a female action heroine. It leveraged 3D as a way to explore realistic environments rather than as a gimmick ala Mario 64. It had a compelling story; was perhaps the first game to use the — now almost obligatory — get-captured-and-lose-all-your-tools plot device. It was the first, and perhaps still only, 3D game to use platforming as a puzzle mechanic rather than a skill mechanic. (All the levels are laid out on a grid of squares, so you could line yourself up at the edge of one square and actually count grid sections to see whether a jump was possible. I really liked this mechanic and am sad it hasn’t been copied very much, if at all.) And it had some of the most startling moments in game history (e.g. the T-Rex).

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        Tomb Raider and tripe were separate thoughts. But I see how it seems otherwise.

        Anyway, “well designed” doesn’t mean mature, it just means well designed. The world’s chock full of sleek frivolities. And I’m not saying you’re wrong to enjoy them. I’m just saying the amount of effort and resources put in to something doesn’t necessarily redeem it as something thoughftul. For instance, every Michael Bay movie.

        I do have to object to praising Tomb Raider on its use of a female protagonist, though. Do you remember the box art? She was clearly meant to be eye candy. Not sure what gender equality ground that was supposed to have broken.

      • Jekhar says:

        That obligatory get-captured-and-lose-all-your-tools plot device was a staple of JRPGs long before Tomb Raider, i’m afraid.

    • Saldek says:

      John wasn’t claiming that sports games and sonic are examples of mature gaming. He was specifically addressing Cage’s claim “that the charts are only made up of three genres, ‘Kids games, Casual games, and violent action games.'”

  20. Eddard_Stark says:

    Yes Mr. Cage, we definetly need more MATURE interactive movies with crappy plots and QTEs! Inb4 XXX allusions.

  21. Radiant says:

    “The P is for pussy”

  22. Jekhar says:

    I always wanted to play Nomad Soul, but never got around to it. So i might just aks here: Is it worth it? And what is so wrong about it?

    • kwyjibo says:

      Nomad Soul is the best thing Cage has ever done. Not all the parts are that great – there are 2D beat em up sections and FPS sections for example, but the world they craft and the story it tells is amazing.

    • Mctittles says:

      A game where you can die and take the body of another person in a living breathing city. You can buy music for your portable player and tickets to a concert performed by David Bowie and animated with the game characters. Own your own apartment and live the life of a person’s body you steal. All this before GTA3?
      Omikron should have been heralded as one of the most ground breaking games of our time; instead all “journalists” can do is point out the shoddy combat system.

      • Jekhar says:

        That statements reminds me Deadly Premonition. Well, maybe not the groundbreaking part, but still a great game nonetheless, also with horrible combat.

      • thelongshot says:

        Well, the shoddy combat system kept me from going too far in the game. It was certainly ambitious for its time, but ultimately the game needs to be fun to play, and it wasn’t for me.

    • strangeloup says:

      I think it’s the best thing Cage has ever done, which is to say it’s just about wonderful and flawed in equal measure. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of an embuggerance to get running on modern machines. There was, however, a pretty decent Dreamcast port, which should serve well under emulation.

    • Acorino says:

      It’s certainly better than Pathologic or any other fundamentally broken game that is nonetheless heralded as a must-play for its unique potential. There’s a lot to like in The Nomad Soul. It’s frontloaded with its best material, so you don’t have to fight your way through the game to get to the best bits. But be warned: the FPS sections truly suck.

    • Hulk Handsome says:

      Yes, I just wanted to post to say that I really liked Nomad Soul and think it’s his best work! Well, the only other game of his I’ve played is Fahrenheit, which had a spectacular beginning, but I got sick of it after I encountered a shitty stealth sequence and one QTE too many. Also, I noticed the plot was going in a very silly direction.

      But yes, the adventure and exploration elements of Omikron were great. The action bits, not so much, but I don’t remember them being TERRIBLE.

      • Jekhar says:

        Thank you all for your comments. I’m gonna try and track down a copy of Nomad Soul. Seems way too interesting to be ignored by me further.

  23. hitnrun says:

    Another would-be visionary with a total misapprehension of how evolution works and top-down, reality-deaf suggestions for a demand-oriented commercial market.

    Believe me, I come down on the side that large chunk of games are no better than comic books, and *will* be no better for some time, and I’m not necessarily happy about that. But it’s idiotic to blame this on male power fantasies or sexism or whatever. People make the stuff because other people buy it. Gaming – or the large chunk of it Cage is talking about – is an industry consumed largely by teenage boys. Don’t agree with that? The sales figures say you’re wrong. The “average age” often bandied about just show that a critical mass of 20 and 30 year olds have the entertainment tastes of teenage boys.

    It’s the same thing with the hand-wringing over various verboten -isms and -phobias in “the game community,” Just because you stop being a teenage boy doesn’t mean that they stop making them, and as long as they keep making them, the most efficient use of your time would be to mute your headset rather than composing another piece of prose that will be every bit as applicable in 20 years as today.

    As for me, I’m happy – thrilled – at the thriving market of more thoughtful fare that I could never have imagined would exist even five years ago. The fact that they aren’t the AAA productions that they COULD be if game publishers wanted to go bankrupt does not give me cramps of the brow.

    • BooleanBob says:

      It all comes back to that AndrewC quote, which I shall now manglingly paraphrase: ‘Games are amazing. Imagine what they’d be like if they were any good.’

  24. toastie says:


  25. Shooop says:

    The “mass market” bit is this week’s best unintentional joke. If anything, games that are loud, obnoxious and just there for kids to kill time are catering to the mass market. That’s what most people want out of their games.

    What they aren’t is as respected as film. That’s because only recently have audiences started buying and praising more serious games in numbers. And that’s changing. Give it a decade and then if games haven’t become as diverse as movies you have a serious complaint. Games don’t have any problem with the “mass market”. They’ve had that cornered for years. Now they’re breaking into the art house and we’re encouraging them to do so.

    The factual errors really hurt the valid point Cage wants to make – that we can use the medium to be more than “something to make the kids shut up for a few hours”. In fact you even made that point before Mr. Walker. It’s amazing how a handful of errors can demolish an article.

  26. kwyjibo says:

    Cage is right.

    So what that the average age of the gamer has grown up, the games they’re playing have hardly matured, they’ve hardly matured. Games aren’t some place men goto for maturity, they go there to relive their childhood power fantasies.

    If the best game that the industry can come up with for women is fucking Farmville, then that’s a failure of the industry.

    • grenadeh says:

      Take your misguided feminazi bullshit somewhere it’s appreciated, that statement was incredibly ignorant.

      • kwyjibo says:

        No it fucking wasn’t. You don’t play COD for emotional depth, no one actually cares about Soap. The most popular game in the world is League of Legends.

        Maybe there’s stuff that games just can’t do, and we shouldn’t bother with them. But I really don’t think they’ve tried hard enough.

        Did you use the feminazi word because you prefer ad hominem to actually coming up with an argument?

        • darkChozo says:

          Is League of Legends a power fantasy? Seems more akin to a sport, if anything. Enjoyment via mastery of a system.

          Also, I’d say the Sims is a better example of a proper game “for women” than Farmville. Farmville is a game for terminally bored people.

          • RedViv says:

            Farmville and similar titles are so little game that I would seriously consider them nothing more than digital Skinner boxes. MMOs are masterpieces compared to that.

          • Consumatopia says:

            The Sims is probably a better example of following Cage’s demands than any game Cage himself made. A better argument that the industry’s target audience is too narrow or that their products are insufficiently accessible would probably focus on The Sims. Think of all the games that tried to be the next Call of Duty. Now count up the games that tried to be the next The Sims. Now, The Sims is well-established–dethroning it would be hard. But a lot of games failed trying to dethrone Call of Duty.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        Honestly fascinated with what must go through people’s heads before they throw out the term “feminazi.” Not a basic understanding of history or English, certainly. So what’s the thinking here? “How could I get people to consider my point? I know, I’ll use the clearest sign that I haven’t even considered it.”

        • RedViv says:

          Now, I do understand sufficiently enraged people using that term after being engaged by someone aggressively arguing in favour of equalising measures – which still doesn’t mean that it would be appropriate, but I would comprehend why that person used it.

          But knee-jerking like that? That’s just really silly.
          “Hey, ever thought about how power fantasies are a thing in games and” – “SHUT UP YOU’RE WORSE THAN HITLER!!!!!!!1!”

    • kwyjibo says:

      link to kotaku.com

      “If we’re going to reach a broader audience, we have to stop thinking about that audience strictly in terms of teenage boys or even teenage girls. We need to think about things that are relevant to normal humans and not just the geeks we used to be.” – Warren Spector

      I’m sure we’ll get another rant telling us how shit Epic Mickey 2 was.

    • Beemann says:

      I wasn’t aware that my childhood power fantasies involved being a mute female test subject, a mad vampire (of either gender) trying to live in a world of backstabbing politicians (who are also vampires), or an omnipresent being who is forced to watch his townsfolk be eaten by spiders again and again (I’m not good at Towns…)
      And how about them “naked child firing tears at demonic entities in his basement because his mother decided God really needed him as a human sacrifice” fantasies? That’s some freaky stuff

      I don’t play CoD, because I grew tired of it, and I don’t play League of Legends because the genre itself doesn’t appeal to me. Additionally, neither game is any more representative of gaming than Titanic and Avatar are of film. It’s also worth noting that copying said games isn’t even going to guarantee success (see: WARFIGHTER)

      I absolutely play The Walking Dead for the emotional and storytelling depth. I played. I still go back and check out Baldur’s Gate and Planescape torment because the dialogue and storytelling appeal to me. To use David Cage’s own work against him, things I liked about Fahrenheit included:
      Character development
      The cat and mouse chase between three characters that I controlled

      What didn’t impress me was
      The overall story (arse-pulled science fantasy drivel)
      The completely random nude/sex bits that felt forced and out of place
      When characters shed their personality, either for story purposes or to shoehorn in the above scenes

      Also worth noting/discussing:
      If we only focus on the highest grossing product in a particular medium, don’t we get an equally skewed and awful impression of books and movies? As I previously mentioned, Avatar and Titanic are two of the highest grossing films of all time, but you wouldn’t boil down movies to “special effects and plot holes galore” would you?
      The Fifty Shades trillogy has sold tens of millions of copies worldwide, but we don’t jump to the conclusion that literature is about creating degrading sexual escapades based on fan-fiction.

      Could a portion (or the majority even) of the problem perhaps be that while film and literature have methods of promoting quality in all respects, and various methods of spotlighting what would otherwise be lesser known works, Gaming is currently “a product” moreso than an expressive medium, and as such sales are ultimately what determines what is noticed and what isn’t?

      Not only is the quality of a game dependent on so many factors, but resale/lending/etc. is getting more and more difficult, games on previous consoles have to be ported or emulated for future generations to even know what they are, and all too often, sacrifices are made in terms of artistic vision in order to squeeze more money out of the customer.

      • kwyjibo says:

        Take a look at the current box office charts – link to boxofficemojo.com

        Compare that to any video game chart. Tell me which one appeals to the larger demographic.

        Yes, you played the Walking Dead for emotional depth. That’s pretty much the only game to bother with that in 2012, it was a success! Journey tried something new too.

        The whole mastery of a system, hero quest stuff, yeah – power fantasies. The Road – not a childhood power fantasy. The Master – not a childhood power fantasy.

        • Beemann says:

          WHICH video gaming chart though? One on Steam? A wikipedia’d one?

          The top selling PSN title of January was The Unfinished Swan, followed by Little Big Planet Karting and Earthworm Jim HD

          The top 5 games on vgcharts excluding doubles (IE CoDBlops on 2 platforms) is
          Ni no Kuni
          Animal Crossing
          Far Cry 3

          So we’ve got a Studio Ghibli style game about a boy trying to find his dead mother in an alternate world, (Insert CoD Game Here), two games that poorly attempt to ridicule things that ought to be ridiculed and Animal Crossing
          so we’ve got 2 good ones, 2 attempts at good ones, and a CoD game
          That’s really not so bad, particularly since all of those are actual stories created for the games themselves

          XBLA saw Minecraft, Trials and Walking Dead in its top 3
          Fifa, Madden, Just Dance, Lego Batman and NBA were on the list of top selling games. While not

          On the movies list, going by top grossing for the year, we get
          The Hobbit
          Breaking Dawn pt 2
          Wreck it Ralph

          So we’ve got a bond movie, two movies based on books, a kids movie where the theme is video games and a biographical drama

          That’s real deep. Ain’t no hero quest or blatant power fantasy characters in there

          And because you keep going on about what grosses highest at the box office, the Road was ranked 150 for the year it came out (2009), and has an all time rating of over 4,000
          Again, Avatar is number 1 on the all-time list, and is about as shallow as a puddle

          Again, if we rate any artistic/entertainment medium by what makes the most money, everything looks bad

          • kwyjibo says:

            Yeah, so go compare those charts. Let’s see what caters to the Breaking Dawn crowd on VGChartz. Come back empty handed. Maybe there are things games just can’t do, maybe they’re just not trying though.

          • Acorino says:

            What movie caters to the Minecraft crowd on the box office chart? Come back empty handed. Maybe there are things movies just can’t do, maybe…yeah, they just can’t do them.

          • kwyjibo says:

            Errmmm – pretty much all of them. Go to Minecon, and you don’t think, oh – there’s nothing in the cinema for these guys is there?

          • Beemann says:

            If creepy self insert romance is your thing, there’s always the massive archive of visual novels to sort through (until you find one that is creepy enough, and involving the correct genders)
            Also DA2, so that we can get a more mainstream example (heck, a good chunk of Bioware’s games work in this manner)

            And as Acorino pointed out, not every gaming demographic is represented in movies

    • Acorino says:

      The latest games I have played (as far as I can recall): Caesar’s Day Off, Serious Sam, Zeno Clash, Rayman: Origins, Skyrim, Thirty Flights of Loving, Gravity Bone.

      (I excluded some other small amateurish stuff from that list)

      Hm…I dunno, I don’t feel spoken to. I’m 25 fyi.

  27. grenadeh says:

    Evidently you haven’t seen movies. The vast majority of movies are even less mature and have even less merit than games. Look again.

  28. Llewyn says:

    Doesn’t David Cage make this speech annually? I’m sure I’ve seen the same stuff from him at least twice before.

  29. Laurentius says:

    I tried Faraenheit on PC and it was unplayable for me while certain aspects were interesting but…. i would take Minecraft over any of his games.

  30. AlexW says:

    Maybe he should lead the charge then, by not including a female character whose sole purpose is to die bloodily and/or be in nude shower scenes with voyeuristic camera angles accessible multiple times.

    That’s ‘not include’ as in ‘change to give her better and more important things to do’, not ‘just go with the guys that are otherwise driving the entirety of the plot because the female characters are superfluous or nonexistent’, by the way.

  31. grenadeh says:

    The thing here is that in a movie, you can experiment. If you fuck up, ok, you wasted someone’s money. At least you probably released a movie. In a game if you experiment and it doesn’t work, it gets scrapped, people get fired, you go back to square one, you lost someones money, and you hurt your reputation. People aren’t branching out in new directions for games because A) There aren’t any directions to branch out in and B) It != profit.

  32. osragati says:

    If you think Keith`s story is great…, 2 weeks ago my auntie’s best friend basically got $9430 sitting there twelve hour’s a week in their apartment and the’re co-worker’s sister-in-law`s neighbour has been doing this for seven months and actually earnt over $9430 part time on their computer. apply the steps available at this link, http://www.Cloud65.com

  33. Cerius says:

    Says the guy who has to include crappy, imature sci-fi elements into EVERYTHING, has an unhealthy obsession with showers and apparently thinks a women just has to get it with a guy with their only previous interaction being patch injuries up he doesn’t want to tell her about. (Or you know, having close to none actual interaction like in Fahrenheit)

    All the while thinking that this bullshit is *deep*?

    Yeah, Cage. I’m totally looking for the advice to *grow up* from a guy whose mindset is comparable to a pretentious teenager. Totally.

    • Llewyn says:

      Indeed. I agree entirely with the basic premise of the points that (I think) Cage is trying to make, but he is absolutely not the person to be making them; so far he’s part of the problem, not part of the solution.

      David Cage, from your position you need to show us how gaming can mature and develop, not tell us that other people should be making more mature games. Lead by example, don’t snipe at others who are doing exactly what you’ve done. It must be two years since you gave a speech saying exactly the same things about gaming, in which time you seem to have done absolutely nothing to contribute to the movement. In short, put up or shut up.

  34. RedViv says:

    Okay, David, you made 1.5 great games, and 1.5 mediocre to mind-boggling insane ones. None of that really included much mature stuff, unless nudity and sex minigames would be called that, which I would counter by calling the person that uses the term a complete langer.

    Sorry, but if the guy who wrote bloody Book of Eli manages to create a more mature, reasonable, relatable story – then you don’t have much to argue in favour of your stuff.

  35. frightlever says:

    This analysis feels like it deliberately missed the main point of what Cage was saying by running off down the rabbit hole that he simplified the main popular genres. Meh. It’s like when two drunks stare at each other across a table, lips flecked with spittle, clasping each other’s arms to smother any stray gestures that might sway an emotion, vehemently arguing their point of view, when both men are essentially saying the same thing, but in different ways.

    TL:DR more link bait.

  36. razorramone says:

    I’m glad I read this because it reminded me about Omikron – what a great game, minus the terrible action sequences.

  37. psepho says:

    Interesting question is what counts as mature.

    As I get older and move undeniably from ‘has kids’ into the full on ‘dad’ phase, I don’t necessarily want games that aim to shock or horrify or disturb or upset me. I don’t necessarily want games that are ‘so mature’ because children die or someone has sex. That’s not a magic bullet for depth. It’s just as often easy emotionalism and 18 ratings.

    I want games that illuminate the human condition. I want games that give me insight into my life and the lives of others. I want games that speak to me on an intimate and universal level at the same time.

    This is what great literature, music, art and film does — Middlemarch has no ’18 rating’ features at all, but it delves deeply into the human experience. Same goes for Citizen Kane or any number of other classics. Other classics do of course deal with sex, death and violence — look at most of Wagner — but it’s not an essential feature of ‘maturity’.

    Some games are moving in this direction — I thought Dys4ia and Hotline Miami both shone a light onto our humanity in ways which an equivalent film or book wouldn’t be able to — and hopefully it will continue. But for goodness sake let’s not have an assumption that ‘mature’ means adding in a bit of sex and dying children.

  38. IRiver says:

    ““Does Cage really exist in a universe where gaming is still a struggling niche hobby, failing to gain mass attention because of all the shooters?””

    Yes, in my country I’m still considered a jerk (or called a “kid” with a childish hobby, or retard at my of 26) if I’m talking about games in public. Of course It’s a whole different thing if you’ re “inside” of a gaming community. And that’s the thing. John, If I’m right, your colleagues are your friends, true? Then of course you won’t say things like “Gaming is NOT a respected medium’. That’s what that the whole industry is missing. They don’t think outside of the bubble. Because outside of the bubble games ARE NOT a respected medium. Not like films or books. Nope. You know, when I say things like “medium” and “games” at the same sentence most people laugh at me, and say “hey, games are like toys, go away, kid”. Maybe it hurts to admit, but games are (at best) at level of comic books when it comes to publically and socially recognised medium. And Comic books are also a niche medium…

    And when gamers/journalists say “there are millions of people in the world who’re playing games” – but most of those gamers are COD/WOW/HALO players. Just look at the sales on most lists. And It’s just exactly fits what Mr. Cage desribed as action (I know, Wow is not an action game, but you know what I mean) games. And yes, I think they just fits into the immature category as well. Not that I have any problem with them.

    And it’s a funny thing when gamers critizeses Cage’s storys in his games… Admit it: most games have a laughable story/theme if you compare them to films, books. There are only a few games like PS:T or The Longest Journey with such quality story that you can compare with other mediums. And that’s what he tried to say. That’s why we gamers should NEVER, ever say things like: “ohh, Heavy Rain, those games are more like films, there is no gameplay in them” – No, there should be ALWAYS games like that. And that’s the whole point here. MORE OPTIONS. Don’t we have enough GTA/COD/WOW/HALO games already?? Why is that a problem if you have MORE options??? Maybe then, JUST maybe, if a random (non gamer) person goes into a a hypermarket store and looks at a game’s cover and says: “Hey, it seems okay, I’m interested in those topics what this describes and it’s not even a violent one, I think I buy this.”

    Don’t get me wrong, though. There is absolutely no problem with games like COD and WOW. There are films/books like those with mindless fun, right? Of course there are! But at the same time people have more options when it comes to books and films. And I’m not even talking about high level art here…

    “Cage’s obsession with cinema, as if it holds all the answers for gaming, is his greatest flaw. – No, he is right. He thinks that games are not a respected medium as films. Maybe it’s hard to admit but that’s the case. And one more thing: America, Great Britain, Germany are not the whole world.

    I wish I would live in a world where games are treated as serious medium. Most of my friends are not gamers, my parents can’t even turn on the computer. But I like them very much as they are.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I have to totally agree with IRiver. I have no idea what John is on about. I don’t want to believe he deliberately missed Cage arguments.

      His attack on Cage is one of the most violent pieces in gaming journalism I’ve seen in recent times. And all against a man that is clearly as passionate about games and what they can offer to us as he, John, is. I don’t think I have ever seen such a violent attack by John on that part of the industry that deserves this vitriol, as he’s done here to a fellow gamer.

      Sorry John, but your article is as asinine as you claim Cage to be if you really don’t want to understand what Cage means by “mass market” in the present reality… even — let me say it again — EVEN in our western societies. If you truly believe that what we have in Europe and the USA is a mass market for the computer gaming industry you are all deluded inside the bubble you chose to surround yourself with. The industry and gamers alike are constantly under attack by a society that still doesn’t understand this medium and you really think we have a mass market? You equate this being a mass market on account of it being a billion dollar industry? Don’t try to compare. You have an industry made up of more studios and capable of producing more discreet products per year than the film industry, my friend. All serving a market of consumers through an almost direct distribution channel, and with profit margins that can put a blockbuster to shame.

      Do you have any idea of what my wife thinks of my hobby? Or my father-in-law, or some of my friends? I too have examples and contrary to you… my father totally disapproved it. I think we are about the same age you and I take it or leave 10 years. I’m 43.

      Is your reality somehow more valid than mine? Don’t even answer that!

      Keep looking at best selling lists, John. Keep pretending that a consumer made up of mostly 30 year old people makes all the difference. And certainly keep believing that Cage lack of artistic skills is a de facto invalidation of his arguments.

      At worst Cage may be accused of being an optimistic. Someone that believes the world can be saved. But that certainly didn’t deserve what you did here. Shame on you, Ben Kuchera of RPS.

  39. Xardas Kane says:

    I salute you, Mr. Walker, but quite frankly Cage isn’t really worth it. The guy is a pretentious twat, who makes somewhat original, but deeply flawed interactive movies. He actually hates games. He doesn’t like them, he doesn’t play them, he doesn’t care about them at all and he has stated as much on multiple occasions. That anyone even listens to him I find rather bewildering.

  40. Buemba says:

    I’ve disliked every single game Cage has made so far, but I’m still glad he makes them. The execution may be flawed but I still admire the fact he tries to make things differently and always manages to con companies into funding his crazy projects.

    It’s time for him to hire a proper writer though, because he fucking sucks at it.

    And while I’d never say the CoD games have ok stories, I disagree they’re about as thematically ambitious as Wolfenstein. Moments like “No Russian” ended up failing laughably due to their awful execution but Wolf3D never even aspired to do anything like it.

    • tobias says:

      “It’s time for him to hire a proper writer though, because he fucking sucks at it.”

      Very much this. Rather hard to take seriously a man who writes like an enthusiastic teenager.

  41. derbefrier says:

    I have always just considered gaming a hobby, like playing golf, or maybe the guys that like to fly remote control airplanes. It doesn’t have to be mature anymore than some other popular hobbies, its a game, all it has to do is entertain me and that’s all i expect from it. It doesn’t need some deep message or anything equally pretentious just let me log on and kill some shit with my friends and give me some fat loots and I throw money at you all day. If i want something artsy I’ll watch a movie or read a book, they do it much better anyway.

  42. alex_v says:

    I think Cage is broadly right, and I’m really glad to hear another figure in the industry say it. And I think if you take the emotion out of it, we all would agree with him to some extent.

    I particularly agree with his point about meaning, that few games really have any. It’s a very tough argument to have though. because meaning and worth are such hard things to objectively assess.

    I don’t understand why the quality of his games (or lack of it) is relevant here. Either he’s right or he’s wrong or somewhere inbetween. Attacking his games is an ad hominem and an unwelcome distraction. Unfortunately John, your article here has almost wholly missed the point and stifled a worthwhile debate.

    • tobias says:

      It’s inevitable that a person making statements about their industry will in turn have their own work examined in light of those statements. It would be naive to expect otherwise. It gives what he says context, as it adds the inference to his statements that it is his example that others should follow; he considers himself an authority. Otherwise why preach multiple times about the same subject?

    • kwyjibo says:

      Warren Spector saying it.

      link to kotaku.com

      I’m sure we’ll get an article with pictures of Epic Mickey in looking stupid.

  43. Shazbut says:

    He’s one of the most prominent people who are trying to take gaming into more mature places and trying to merge interactivity with narrative. I am right behind him. His rants might not be factually accurate but neither are John’s or indeed anyone’s.

    And criticising Heavy Rain’s story as being derivative of thriller movies is…I mean…jesus…

    It IS derivative but it still stands head and shoulders above 95% of other game stories. I don’t know where to begin. This is not even a discussion worth having.

    What, you prefer The Longest Journey?

    • Acorino says:

      If not it, then how about: Day of the Tentacle, Planescape: Torment, Azrael’s Tear, Death Gate, Portal, Chrono Trigger, Beyond Good & Evil, Mission: Critical, Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey, To the Moon, The Book of Unwritten Tales, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Silent Hill 2, Gravity Bone, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Outcast, Zeno Clash, Machinarium, Psychonauts, Broken Sword, Gabriel Knight, Seiklus, Mafia, Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis, Resonance, Rayman 2, The Last Express, Digital: A Love Story, Shadow of Memories, King’s Quest VI, Another World, Syberia, Jagged Alliance 2, Cart Life, The Curse of Monkey Island, Shadow of the Comet, Sam & Max: Season 3, Half Life 2, Thirty Flights of Loving,…

      From my point of view, it’s a discussion worth having.

  44. Greggh says:

    Is that David Bowie’s face in the third screenie??

  45. dE says:

    Whenever I feel like games are horribly inadequate, I generally take a look at the head honcho of high culture: Books. Just a quick glance at the newly released books helps set my perspective straight. You know, for all of games shortcomings, it could be worse. It could be an endless river of vampire romance games and crime stories.
    There are even similarities, we too get the idiotic war on terror kind of content. Same as books. Weeee.

    Everyone demands a gaming Citizen Kane. Fair enough. I’d like a modern one in books. Or movies. Either one is fine. But for some reason that stuff isn’t fancy high culture stuff either.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Heh, yeah. When will [i]movies[/i] have their Citizen Kane?

      • dE says:

        As much as I get the urge that you wanted to be smug about it, you really dropped the ball there. I explicitely stated recent releases. While movies had their Citizen Kane, I’m willing to bet they didn’t have one in the time it took videogames to come to life and prosper.
        Works like Citizen Kane need the appropiate timeperiod. Things need to fall in place, like puzzle pieces, social changes are generally at their most extreme. It is when people question existence and morals, that great works are made. The time during which games were nurtured into existence, is a time of generally high western living standards.

        Wait a couple of years, allow shit to REAAALLY hit the fan and you’ll get the Citizen Kane of gaming somewhere inbetween. What my post also meant is a sarcastic comment about how movie producers feel superior, just because they had their Citizen Kane. But it’s not a very recent achievement. And it’s certainly not theirs.Keep pumping Robot Battles and Vampire Romances, I don’t care – but don’t turn around and blame games for being so stupid when your own shit is just as idiotic.

        • ffordesoon says:

          Wait, what? Why are you lecturing me for cracking what was pretty obviously a joke?

          I am well aware of everything you said. I was simply parodying the famous – and famously trite – headline, “When will video games have their Citizen Kane?” That’s all.

  46. Baal_Sagoth says:

    Great article. I had just heard rumblings that Cage supposedly held a somewhat odd speech. I always found his take on games quite weird and never chose to buy one of his titles so I’m no expert on his portfolio. But reading this strong yet still considerate take on some of his concepts was very interesting.

  47. nedo51 says:

    “I don’t like The Nomad Soul – I’m not insane. ”

    I liked that game a lot, whole open-world adventure thing specifically, it had decent story and atmosphere. But that was long time ago. It tried to do too many things/be too many genres at the same time for its own good though.
    I still hope he’ll finally make a second one in near future.

  48. ffordesoon says:

    Just voicing my agreement with John.

    The cult surrounding David Cage is as mysterious to me as the cult surrounding Tale Of Tales. Actually, it’s more mysterious, because Cage openly apes Hollywood. Whatever else you want to say about Tale Of Tales’ tedious little exercises in obtuse symbolism, they at least attempt to convey meaning through mechanics and player agency. Cage just watches emotionally manipulative American movies and has his crappy French actors reenact the parts he likes in his games. Dean Koontz would be ashamed to write such shallow pap.

    Hopefully, the emergence of a game that did exactly what he’s always been promising to do exponentially better than he’s ever managed to do it (The Walking Dead) will make him irrelevant to the discussion.

    The only problem games have as an artistic medium is a perception problem. That will go away as the people who see games as a threat bite the dust. It’s not a problem that will be solved by making games accessible to everyone. We’re actually getting to a point where the medium is so saturated into our consciousness that people who would have never played games in their lives are playing games without even realizing it.

    My stepmom plays Angry Birds and Scrabble on her iPhone, and I had to explain to her that those are video games; she’d never even considered the possibility, because games are stigmatized in her eyes as things for kids. But she was playing the games. Getting those sorts of people to self-identify as gamers is the key. We already have the market share; it’s just hearts-and-minds stuff at this point.

    David Cage keeps conflating market penetration with – if I may use a loathesome little marketing term – mindshare, but they’re not remotely the same thing. Android devices have more overall market penetration than iOS devices last I checked, but people still think of Android smartphones as “iPhones” or “off-brand iPhones.” Because Apple’s brand has more of a presence in the average person’s mind than Android. It’s the same with movies; more people play games, and more interesting content is being made on cable television, but the inertia of “cinema” and what it means to people means they still think of film as the dominant artistic medium of our time. But movies are slowly receding into the background, and more and more people are thinking of them as these things that will always be here rather than something . If we want to beat them, it seems to me that all we have to do is wait.

    The heady, emotionally involving work is already coming in dribs and drabs, and as the medium matures, the market for those experiences will grow, as will the power of them and the speed with which they can be created. This has happened over and over again throughout the history of mass media, and we’re right on track at the moment.

    And we’re still going to have experiences that are dumb as a sack of hammers in fifty years, too, because people like them. There is always a place for godawful romance novels and airport thrillers, because man cannot live on caviar alone. Sometimes, we want to relax and enjoy some unchallenging, narcotic bullshit. And that is dandy.

    Do I wish the medium wouldn’t be so goddamn awful sometimes? Of course! But I wish that of all media. It’s not like it’s substantially worse than any other medium. We just have an inferiority complex. And David Cage is the face of that complex. When we get over him, we’ll have gotten over it.

    • Risingson says:


      I don’t like his games as they are pure exploitation that are dressed as “serious”. No, they aren’t serious at all. They are as badly written as a Connie Selleca tv movie, but with QTE on them.

      I did like Omikron for a while… it was a beautiful game with dubious design choices. But the story wasn’t the strongest either. Now, If I try to think of a “mature” storyline it’s not Kojima or Cage, but Jane Jensen in GK (most of it, anyway), the metaphoric storyline in “Braid” and… and very little else, but that’s fine. I prefer pulpy fireworks if they are done well.

    • Kadayi says:

      “It’s not like it’s substantially worse than any other medium.”

      Really? Where’s this years gaming equivalent of Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, The descendants, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grey, Rust & bone, Killing them softly, Amour, Skyfall, Looper, The Master?

      • ffordesoon says:

        You’re employing a logical fallacy. Those are exceptional films in a sea of average ones. No, our highest highs do not reach the highest highs of film yet, but can you think of a recent game that was as aggressively unenjoyable as a Michael Bay Transformers flick? I certainly can’t. Our lowest lows, in other words, are nowhere near theirs. That says to me that our medium is not substantially worse in terms of quality than any other.

        I’m not counting Duke Nukem Forever, BTW, as it was simply finished recently. It’s kind of a special case.

        • Kadayi says:

          Please.It’s not about the lows it’s about the highs. You don’t measure a mediums critical success by failure rate (logical fallacy indeed….what a fucking joke).

          That plenty of disposable pap is made by Hollywood every year doesn’t remotely invalidate the reality that film and television as mediums are far more capable of delivering compelling adult drama that resonate with people on a cultural level than the vast majority of games haven’t ever been able to achieve so far. The Walking Dead is certainly a step in the right direction (and honorable mention to Spec Ops:The line) but it’s the first game in years that really struck a cord with people in that regard.

          You might label Transformers as unenjoyable crap, but there are plenty of children & teenagers who enjoy it. The point with films and TV is, there’s a lot more choice in terms of what you can watch, and not everything largely revolves around 50 shades of violence. Sure we have Sims & Sims City and minecraft if you want a bit of creativity, but they are inherently sandboxes and lack any real degree of narrative to them beyond what you as the creator provide.

          This idea that somehow everything is fine and dandy in the world of games and that David Cage should shut his cake hole is up there with the ‘devs owe you nothing’ spiel apologists regularly trot out whenever they feel the industry as is, is under attack. I don’t think Cage has yet delivered on his beliefs (who knows maybe with Beyond: two souls he will), however his own achievements don’t undermine the criticisms he has of a medium that is maturing at a snails pace.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            Very well put.

            And what annoyed me most about this article was a) exactly the larger than usual number of logical fallacies and b) this idea that the people Cage was speaking to at DICE were dumb and ignorant and didn’t understand exactly what Cage was saying, because they choose instead to put their own meaning to his words.

            This article is well among the worse things I’ve read on RPS. And being that I’m starting to look at John Walker as some sort of loud militant who at some point decided to trade reason for activism (on this and many other aspects of interactive entertainment), I’m starting to consider that I should probably start ignoring his material. I certainly don’t to waste my time getting mad at someone being mad.

          • Kadayi says:

            I’ve been in that camp for a while Mario. I try and give everything its due, but repeatedly it seems to be the case that reason (and a modicum of common sense) long since went out the window. Everything falls to the extremes like some patronising pantomime where in the heroes are unquestionably good and noble (and thus beyond the remotest degree of criticism) and the villain’s are to be condemned in ever more hysterical fashion for their myriad crimes against humanity. It’s a world view that eludes any sense of proportion or reality.

          • Infinitron says:

            “Sure we have Sims & Sims City and minecraft if you want a bit of creativity, but they are inherently sandboxes and lack any real degree of narrative to them”

            You say that like it’s a bad thing.

          • ffordesoon says:

            You’re right that my last post was dumb. I disavow it entirely.

            That being said, your argument is based on a ridiculously false premise. I implicitly bought into that premise in the last post, but that was a mistake. Movies and games aren’t the same thing. When I said that no medium was substantially worse than any other (which was, I admit, a terribly confusing way to word that), I was saying that every medium has its drawbacks and advantages. A great game’s narrative might be substantially worse than a great movie’s narrative (though I’d argue games are closing in on movies faster than I thought they would), but if it has great gameplay, that makes up for the deficiency in terms of storytelling, to my mind.

          • Kadayi says:


            ‘You say that like it’s a bad thing.’

            I’m not (I’m a massive Simmer), but the point I’m making (and you’re clearly ignoring ) is that the combination of creative game coupled with authored narrative (as opposed to sandboxes like the sims) is largely nonexistent.


            Decent game play doesn’t make a weak story line better, it just merely masks its paucity. Consider Dishonored. Great premise, and some innovative mechanics, but woefully predictable story-line and largely lackluster voice acting/characterization throughout. Max Payne 3, visually fantastic and pretty decent voice acting, but a kill count that was ludicrously at odds with what appeared to be some attempt at verisimilitude (I think I killed half of Brooklyn at one point) and narrative beats so telegraphed that nothing surprising happened throughout.

            Prometheus is a well directed, well acted film but those aspects alone don’t make up for the utter stupidity of the plot or the apparent at times nonsensical behaviour of the characters in it, and by on large the review scores for the film both from the critics and public reflect that. Yet our gaming press seems unable (or more worryingly incapable) of applying the same holistic approach to reviews. Instead they hand out high review scores to pretty much any game that is slickly produced and doesn’t crash, and whether the narrative experience makes even a jot of sense doesn’t seemingly even appear to matter.

    • alex_v says:

      Good post. But the irony of it is that you make many of the points that Cage makes himself. I think you might have more common with him than you think, as does John Walker imo.

      • ffordesoon says:

        Oh, I completely agree. Like Walker, I wish David Cage wasn’t so fucking terrible at his job and so in love with movies, because there are plenty of things he says I agree with.

        • jrodman says:

          At first I thought you were backhandedly saying that Walker is terrible at his job. Then I read it again.

  49. JasmineGibbs22 says:

    til I saw the draft for $8970, I have faith that…my… best friend was like actualy bringing in money in there spare time on their apple labtop.. there neighbour has done this for under fourteen months and resantly cleard the morgage on their condo and bourt Honda. read more at, Fox76.com

  50. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Eh. This blog post is a bit annoying. Ridiculing someone is one thing, and analysing/dissemination a speech is another and this post does both. And in my view it’s probably better to stick to one rather than both. If it’s to ridicule and make fun of someone it’s easily ignored and otherwise I can actually feel the time spent reading was actually worth it.

    Sorry, that may have come across a bit harsh. But to get to the gist of it this post read a bit incoherently. Then again, it is labeled as a rant.