Planescape Torment is the best RPG I’ve ever played. The combat system sucks and it seems to be as buggy as hell but oh the story more than makes up for it. You start off waking up in a mortuary, with no idea of who you are or how you got there. Slowly you start to uncover your past and the past of your companions (who you pick up along the way with the exception of a floating talking skull called Morte who’s turns out to be there with you in the mortuary). I wasn’t completely sold on it until the first sign you get of something being not quite right – more than waking up clueless I mean. But then betrayals, treachery, double crossing, love and hate and insanity galore – the plots are layered and woven with such depth I couldn’t stop playing for about 2 days solid.
Why do so few game companies realise the importance of hiring proper writers? Is it really the case, that linear half hearted/2 dimensional stories are the ones people prefer? I don’t really know, I mean I suppose going by what’s on TV that’s the case… The Wire for example has some really amazing writing in it but it doesn’t seem to be aired anywhere in the UK and I think up until recently even to get the DVDs you had to order from amazon america. My friend assures me that what sells are the tired old rehashes of previous titles, and that’s why there’s such a lack of innovation in the game industry. I’m not entirely convinced though. I recently (well, not actually recently, but since I last posted) played Portal and the dialogue in it was outstanding, and I’m pretty sure that’s a big hit. Apparently the only reason Valve can spend so much time and money hiring really good writers is that they have steam and were started by private funds or something?
And it’s funny, writers seem to really want to write compelling and absorbing plots rather than your standard trash, and all the gamers I know seem to want to play them (maybe I just move in very elite circles or something!). We even, you know, buy them! I just don’t understand how the best selling games of last year were all sequels to one game or another as far as I know (fifa, need for speed, pro evolution, the sims).