December 10, 2007 12:01 PM | Simon Carless
Steve Gaynor's Fullbright blog has some of the most interesting essays on gaming I've seen recently, and the F.E.A.R. expansion level designer's latest post is simply called 'Noir', and compares a stage in the history of movies to a stage he feels games should be reaching... around now.
He particularly notes - and this is the central point of his thesis - that film noir worked because it ended up "...focusing on flawed, unpredictable characters living out street-level conflicts between individuals in the mundane, modern-day urban world." His suggestion, then: "The noir approach promises games wherein the player isn't saving the kingdom, world or galaxy; wherein the ubermensch doesn't mow down a thousand men; wherein we can experience familiar settings in a new way, and infuse the everyday with the extraordinary."
Continuing: "Games that take film noir as a cue shouldn't emulate the surface-- trench coats, cigarettes, femme fatales and old LA. Games should emulate the structural and emotional underpinnings that made noir work as an experience. We can do this with readily-available, inexpensive tech; we can leverage older 3D engines and simpler lighting & shader models in the same way noir filmmakers used location shooting and expressionistic cinematography."
He concludes, triumphantly: "We already have our Gone with the Winds and Wizards of Oz, and a dozen Busby Berkley spectaculars to fill in the gaps; we need our Asphalt Jungles, our Kiss Me Deadlies, our Gun Crazies and Double Indemnities and Out of the Pasts. We've proven we can do big. Noir shows us how to take the small road, explore its every twist and turn, and connect with our audience in new ways." Yum.
[Oh, and then Gaynor caps it all in the next blog post by analyzing Kane & Lynch, suggesting the controversial, nasty, arguably morally bankrupt title might be just that noir game he's yearning for. That's set the cat among the pigeons, huh?]