Points of view
Camera angles are among the most important tools in a filmmaker’s arsenal. Perspective, framing and focus can have a powerful effect on the viewer’s emotions and perception of a scene. A game’s camera, on the other hand, is something that’s rarely discussed as a narrative device, or is simply taken for granted. That’s partly since the player often has a significant degree of control over it – and in turn on how the action is framed – with many games effectively encompassing a series of long, continuous ‘takes’.
Yet during an online group Q&A about The Artful Escape with designer Johnny Galvatron, one journalist asked why he decided a side-scrolling platformer was the best way to present Francis Vendetti’s journey to discover his stage persona. “It’s just because the way the camera movements work [mean] that in gameplay, you can tell a story,” he said. “You can affect the camera and have some kind of narrative impact because you as the creator are controlling the camera most of the time. It’s just another club in your bag.”
You may be packing a very different kind of iron in Far Cry 6, but Ubisoft has clearly been thinking hard about how its guerrilla war tale is told. Where previous games have stayed in firstperson throughout, here cutscenes will shift to a thirdperson perspective, letting you see the reactions of protagonist Dani Rojas to unfolding events. The same applies to its ultimate abilities, the Supremos, where, as narrative director Navid Khavari puts it, “we pull back… so you can feel the impact and scale.”
Sometimes the decision to zoom out is about practicality as much as creativity. Weird West’s top-down perspective, in conjunction with its comic-book stylings, has enabled developer WolfEye Studios to make a world that, as creative director Raphaël Colantonio notes, “won’t take 200 people to make.” And in doing so, the developer has been able to push its immersive sim values further still. It’s often said that a good game camera is one that isn’t noticed. Perhaps it’s time we paid closer attention.