Talking to US Gamer, Call of Duty: Ghosts executive producer Mark Rubin discussed why the developers behind the popular first-person shooter series will continue to employ linear storytelling techniques for single-player campaigns.
“We want to guide the player through the story and have a story happening,” Rubin told US Gamer. “We don’t want to go into the open-world idea of, ‘I can do whatever I want. I can break my story. I can make my story uninteresting.’ It’s a weird, fine balance.
“We want to ensure that the player gets the story and the experience that we’re trying to craft for them, but not have that ‘Press Y to watch the cutscene!’ feel, or put the player in a position where they can make the wrong decision and get stuck or get lost or otherwise not feel like they’re part of the story.”
According to Rubin, part of the purpose behind linear storytelling is to keep the player focused on what the experience the developers have designed. Too much freedom—while fine for some games—often proves distracting in Rubin’s eyes.
“One of the first things that can happen when you get away from what we try to plan for you is that you realize you’re in a video game. ‘Let’s go see if the toilets flush!’ Flush the toilets. ‘Oh, look, the toilets flush!’ That’s cool. I did it in Duke Nukem every time I saw a toilet,” said Rubin.
“But it pulls you out of the story. You remember that you’re in a game. For us, it’s always about making sure that the player feels like they’re in a movie, that they’re in this cinematic experience. I really think that kind of stuff can pull you away from there.”
Call of Duty: Ghosts launches on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 November 5, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions to follow.