A Moment in Uncharted 3
I randomly got to thinking about a moment in Uncharted 3 today. It really exemplifies the whole Uncharted design philosophy.
There’s a moment in the game where Drake is surprised, unarmed and unprepared, by a squad of goons. As he hides behind cover, bullets impacting the dirt beside him, he declares “I’ve gotta get a gun!” A few seconds later, one of the goons rushes out of his cover and charges Drake’s position. It gives you the perfect opportunity to use a melee attack, grab him, and take his gun.
The event is: Drake has an opportunity, takes out an enemy, and rearms himself. This could have easily been a cutscene (press Square to punch!) or a heavily scripted event (like a guard standing, oblivious, with his back to the hallway). Instead, the event is presented in the normal language of the game, with the player in full control of his actions. The guard rushing forward seems natural (you’ve been rushed in cover before) and it’s up to the player to put the pieces together and realize that they have an opportunity to do a melee attack.
Keep the player in control as much as possible. When there’s something cool to be done, let them do it, not just watch a movie of it. Everyone enjoys a cool moment, but it’s even cooler when you let them be the ones to create that moment.