Matter of Perspective

Zyngor | Sunday, August 10, 2014
Immersion can sometimes be a tough cookie to crack when it comes to gaming. While role-playing games (RPGs) strive toward a higher level of immersion and connection toward the game world, one could argue that most all games where you are given control of an avatar could loosely fall under being an RPG. That doesn't stop with organic personas - that racing game you play contains a smorgasbord of vehicles that you (usually) upgrade during progression, and you assume the role of a driver every time you decide in which event you'll be competing.

As game companies are designing their titles, they must decide if they will opt to develop multiple camera perspectives to accompany. What's our genre? Who will be playing our game? How do we want to convey our content to the audience? I'm no game developer, but I figure the work that must be put into developing multiple perspectives can be pretty darn tough (not to mention time-consuming for the art team to create all the proper shifting assets).
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit: Third vs. First-Person
So a game is released, and it has multiple camera perspectives. Is there a certain perspective we are "supposed" to use? How do you choose? For myself, it usually doesn't take all that long. I do love immersion in a game - it lets us forget our real-life issues, and just jump into the skin (or chassis) of an alternate reality. However, I find I can suspend the perspective aspect of immersion in many titles, for the sake of the real me gaining a tactical camera advantage. As such, I generally prefer to play in third-person to enjoy a greater field of view. Sure, it makes it playing safe that much easier, but sometimes I just need all the help I can get.

That being said, I don't mind a fixed-first person title, such as Far Cry 3 or a Borderlands title. As both make it easy enough to fluidly swivel on  the horizontal axis, I can manage to deep an eye on danger from any direction. When it comes to third-person, I never feel that I'm really "cheating" at any point, as there is no deviation from how the developers designed the game. Who knows, maybe I'm some strange floating orb behind the character, who happens to project a body-controlling incantation on my target. That being said, I also respect however any player decides to play, so I'm certainly not making it an ultimatum that third-person is king (especially when it comes to extremely immerse titles like the Elder Scrolls series, which I do prefer first-person).

Skyrim, one of the few titles where I need first-person to enjoy
Ultimately, it's up to you. I feel you can still enjoy an immerse experience in third-person by suspending the shifted camera angle, but I understand that others will not feel the same way. It can definitely jump from game to game, and will depend on the challenges each title presents to its hero. I suppose game perspective really is in the virtual eye of the beholder!

Do you have a set of rules when it comes to choosing from multiple game perspectives? Does it jump from genre to genre? Share in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. It tends to change from game to game for me. I usually prefer first person or an isometric view, though. I've never been too keen on the over-the-shoulder third person stuff. It tends to feel too clunky to me, for whatever reason.