In Defense of Scripted Multiplayer Chatter

Every E3, we’re shown live multiplayer demos and we typically make jokes about how the players on stage are too polite for this to come off as real multiplayer session. But now I’m seeing that a lot of people are being serious and are annoyed that the chatter is “scripted” and you know what, that’s stupid. Let me tell you why.

During the Rainbow Six: Siege multiplayer demo, I noticed a lot of tweets concerning the scripted multiplayer chatter.

Personally, I had no problem with the scripted chatter. It helped me get more involved in the game and didn’t prove much of a distraction like everything else. Watching the gameplay, alongside the scripted chatter, helped make the multiplayer experience look so fun. But other people didn’t seem to enjoy it. Other people want a more real approach. But it needs to be understood that the real approach is just as bad, if not worse, than everyone believes scripted chatter to be.

Do you expect game designers to go on stage and trash-talk one another? Call each other assholes? If the team mode focuses on team effort and communication, then that’s what they will and should emphasize. That’s the way they want their game to be played. Any trash talking would just take away from the presentation of the game. A perfect example is last year’s Killer Instinct presentation at Microsoft’s E3 media briefing.

Nobody remembers what actually happened in that demo but they sure remember the (definitely unscripted) comments that came off as a bit rape-y, which is something you’d expect in a real multiplayer match.

So if real chatter ends up on CBS News and scripted chatter brings on a string of complaints, let’s take a look at some of the alternatives.

Say nothing

This was a suggestion from Associate Editor Damien Munoz. Say absolutely nothing. Just let the player soak it all in visually. Presenting a multiplayer demo with complete silence would be awkward and perhaps more distracting than either scripted or casual chatter. For a game like Rainbow Six: Siege, which puts the focus on teamwork, silence obviously would not work. You’ll need to be communicating with your teammates at all time and that’s something that would need to be made clear during the game’s initial presentation.

Talk more about the game

A tactic used for single-player demos all the time. Instead of talking to each other, why not, perhaps, talk to the audience about what they’re seeing in the game. This is probably the most acceptable solution for those who have a problem with chatter during multiplayer presentations although most times it’s very clear what’s being shown to the audience. But it could also provide some of the smaller details of the game. It’s an interesting and welcome concept that’s worked in the past, I’m sure.

What do you think? Do you think scripted chatter is the devil’s work? What about casual chatter, which could possibly lean into something controversial. Or are one of the two alternatives the best course of action. Be sure to let us know in the comments section below!

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