Lunchtime Discussion: Perspective

Perspective is a big deal. Sometimes you need to get a little distance from things to understand what’s going on, a chance to see the big picture. Of course that’s far too deep for a lunchtime discussion, and not what I’m here to talk about anyway. I’m here to talk about perspective, the view point in games. Then again sometimes you do need a little distance I guess, third person perspective games that let you move the camera certainly help with that.

Now obviously not all games will work from a certain perspective. Playing a team sports game like FIFA or Madden in the first person perspective would be a little weird, and I’m not sure if anyone’s ever managed it. Thinking about it it’s something I’d like to try though, you’d certainly get an enhanced feel of realism. Having to actually spot your team mates on the field would be an interesting idea, I could see it working particularly well in the ‘Be A Pro’ mode in the newer EA Sports titles. Or maybe a fighting game from that perspective would be interesting, it’d be nice to see someone at least experiment with this sort of thing.

Of course the kings of perspective are always driving titles, letting you shift pretty much wherever you want inside or outside the car, giving you the best angle to take that corner. I’d really like to see this sort of option given in some genres, shooters that let you switch to the first person when you’re taking aim are certainly a step in this direction.

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Ultimately maybe it comes down to the genre. In a story driven title the director clearly wants you to have a lot of control over what you can see, whereas other titles are more willing to let you be flexible. For me a fixed camera angle can be an issue, it makes the game feel more locked down, more like a movie and less interactive. The whole ‘make it a movie’ aspect of games seems to be weird to me, but that’s a discussion for another day. Do you get annoyed by locked cameras, or do you want the freedom? Should developers be taking the Mirror’s Edge route and being a little more experimental with how they use perspective?

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