Does it NEED to be creepy?

I’ve got some posts on the back-burner as of this moment, but I decided to dedicate one to a simple and very specific question:

When having a conversation, why is constant eye contact mandatory?

Let me give ya an example (skip to the 5 minute mark to see what I’m talking about)

I’m not a conversational expert, but this behavior seems to be completely creepy to me. I mean, the guy is sharpening an axe as he speaks and not once does he look away from you. True, this is mostly a problem with Bethesda-developed games (Oblivion, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas and now Skyrim), but I sincerely can’t remember any relatively new game where conversations happen more … naturally. People either completely ignore you while they talk or they never break eye contact. There’s nothing in-between. I want something in-between.

Am I asking for something impossible?

Well, no, as a matter of fact, it’s a perfectly reasonable request.

As a side-note: Regardless, I have to say that Skyrim looks like an interesting game. For now at least. Though the environments shown in the video seem a bit too linear for my tastes. Oh well, we’ll see when it comes out.

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2 thoughts on “Does it NEED to be creepy?

  1. Mass Effect 2 tried to mix it up a bit by having the characters move around more in conversation scenes, since the first Mass Effect definitely had this problem. But I think they overdid it a bit and it felt contrived. It’s probably a tricky balance to strike.

  2. Diego Doumecq

    Oh …. dammit, I forgot about Mass Effect 2. Their approach does avoid having characters stare blindly at each other while they talk, but I kinda feel like that’s a side effect of their cinematic aspirations. In that game conversations don’t feel like an extension of the game, but a cutscene where the player presses a few buttons to keep things going. To me, it feels almost like a glorified QTE (both for good and for bad).
    Skyrim on the other hand tries to integrate conversations with the game proper (for example, it doesn’t lock you into place to talk). It seems that it also falls into the trap that is tree-based conversations but that’s a whole other topic for another time 😛

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