Occasionally I Do Good
Freshly back from San Francisco, after having spent twice as much time lurking in the airport than it actually took to fly back to Edmonton, all I want to do is curl up into a ball and not talk to anyone. I hit the limits of my social endurance (which isn’t very robust to begin with) by about Wednesday, but I soldiered on with all the networking and shaking hands and interviews because… well, because I had to do this.
“Why?” a friend recently asked me, prior to my leaving for GDC. “Aren’t you tired of getting crapped on? This is just going to expose you to even more of it. Why would you do that to yourself?”
I didn’t have a ready response to her worrying, and if I’m honest I’ve had those same thoughts— and expressed them to my friends from time to time. I wondered whether my saying anything would really reach anyone who needed to hear it. Maybe I’d just be preaching to the choir, and all I’d do is stir up more anger from the willfully ignorant and the activists who’d take issue either with my words or any impression that I was a white male looking to be lauded as a Good Guy. Wouldn’t I rather just keep my head down and concentrate on my work? Shouldn’t doing good work be enough?
And I suppose the answer is: no, it shouldn’t.
On Fan Rage
Do you believe it is worth the ‘fan rage’ to have a companion betray the player for narrative purposes? Have you considered it in the past, and (if possible) what did you decide? — cimeas
Ah, fan rage.
It’s interesting that you mention it, not necessarily in the context of a companion character’s betrayal, but just in general— it’s something with which BioWare has a bit of experience, after all. Why? Possibly because we make games that draw people in on a personal level… a companion’s betrayal is a betrayal of the player and not their character, for instance… or possibly it’s something that always existed and it’s the advent of the Internet and its inter-connectivity which allows such rage to propagate and find a life of its own rather than die out.
On "What If" and Innovation
So if you could make any kind fo game at all and didn’t have to worry about stuff like budgets and sales what kind of game would you make? Would you make an RPG? Do you like RPG games? Would you ever do a Kickstarter game? I’d give money to a Kickstarter of yours. — Anonymous
Woosh. Tough questions.
First off, let’s put aside the fact I already work for a developer— and they probably wouldn’t appreciate me going and starting my own project (Kickstarter or no). I imagine they’d believe it’d interfere with my work for them, and rightly so.
While the idea of starting your own project and making your own creative decisions has appeal, I can’t imagine anything less daunting… can you? Not everyone is up for that sort of thing, I’ll bet. I kind of wonder how much someone who starts such an endeavour actually gets to work on creative things and how much of their time is spent making business decisions. I suppose only someone who’s done it could say for certain, but what a scary proposition.
I’m also uncertain about where the current Kickstarter trend will end up. I’ll admit, there’s a cynical part of me which is waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the first “big” Kickstarter game to get canceled or for one to get released to a possibly negative reaction from fans who were upset by it not going in the direction “they paid for”. But there’s also a hopeful part of me which really wants all these Kickstarter games to succeed, and succeed in a way that shows publishers a “middle market” for games exists and perhaps is more sustainable in the long run than chasing blockbusters. I’m no business guy, so I’m certain someone could sit me down and prove to me my perceptions of the economics involved are unsound, but even from a creative standpoint I like the idea of what the indie scene does for the industry as a whole— more experimentation at the very least, instead of some things not being tried at all because they’re considered risky.
You’d also have to ignore that I rather like my job. Which you shouldn’t, because I don’t. And it’s also difficult to ignore the realities of budgets… even a Kickstarter game has to keep those in mind (heck, perhaps they need to do so even more than others)… and it’s so ingrained in a developer it’s hard to just dismiss that thought outright.
Still, the hypothetical question of “what kind of game would you make?” is a fun exercise.