Sometimes, it’s hard not to see games as perennial underachievers. There are many entertaining experiences out there, yes – but occasionally the medium feels far too risk-averse to realise its true potential. There will, of course, always be a place for score-chasing romps and time-wasting toys, but titles like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice illustrate how truly affecting this medium can be. And it’s something we’ve always appreciated about Sony’s first-party output.
“We like the big story,” Worldwide Studios president Shawn Layden said as part of a panel at GameLab in Barcelona. “We like the narrative. We want to make people think and laugh and cry and get to know the characters and worlds we create. Hopefully you want to live in those worlds for a long time and listen to the stories the characters have to tell.”
He added: “For us, our entertainment medium is really about, can we move you? Can we get you to have a new thought, to see a new thing? I think that if you look at all of our games, that’s the one thing that knits it all together.”
It’s not the only thing Sony does, of course – there are still “traditional” games in its portfolio, like Everybody’s Golf and Knack 2. But we’d argue the organisation is at its best when it’s pairing interactivity with story-telling, and using that unique combination to make you feel something. Perhaps we – along with Layden – sound a bit pretentious, but it’d be a shame to see this medium stagnate, because there’s so much more potential in it than hopping on the heads of turtles.