One of the things we oftentimes hear about regarding gamers is that they're whiny, they're bratty, they're an “entitled” bunch. We often hear about how gamers “bite the hand that feeds” and that gamers should be “grateful” that publishers even allow us to play games. On the other end of the spectrum, some developers have sided with gamers, pretty much saying that a lot of games are trash.
Creative Assembly, best known for their Total War games, have acknowledged that a lot of games out there are crap. They're either samey, unrefined or poorly play-tested. In an interview with Edge Magazine, lead designer Renaud Charpentier actually comes to the aide of gamers, expressing frustration with the industry in works in, saying...
"When you look at the market, probably 20 to 30 per cent of the games are confident, and maybe 60 to 70 per cent are not good enough,"
Uhhhh, yeah...um...I agree. Let's clap for Charpentier.
While that above comment might make a lot of hardcore haters smile, let's try to add a little context to the message. I guess we'll have to assume the 20% or 30% are the Grand Theft Autos and Uncharteds. The rest are apparently games like Legendary, Bodycount or Syndicate, which are standard-fare crapfests or Blacksite: Area 51, Turok or Aliens Vs Predator or any other number of self-proclaimed AAA titles that release, are generic, don't play very well and leave a bad taste on the thumbs of gamers. These are the games I presume Charpentier is championing as “playing like shit”.
Sadly there are a great number of stinkers than there are smash hits in the mainstream arena. This is mostly due to arbitrary contracts made up in favor of publishers to milk games like never before, similar to Activision's bi-annual release contract or Capcom's new policy to push games out in half the time. I do find it odd that the lead designer from Creative Assembly would speak out on the matter, though, especially given that they're not quite top of the AAA tier but they're certainly above the indie-plateau status. They're more like double-A status.
Nevertheless, Charpentier goes on to say that...
"Their biggest risk is not on the tech, not on the art, it's on the design," ... "You have to front-load that: it has to drive many of the other decisions.”
Yes, yes, yes! I completely agree again.
This here is what gaming is all about, folks. It's the craft of entertainment...interactive entertainment. It's the excitement and thrill of the experience and the artistic vision of the designer being brought to life through the blood, sweat and tears of that creative hardship that comes with bringing years of engineering and artistic expression to life. You can't get that kind of experience out of a factory-line AAA title.
Charpentier finishes up his brutally honest purview of the gaming industry with this firecracker of a comment...
"As a player, I hate going through the burden of downloading a game, installing it, rebinding the controller, going through the tutorial, playing another couple of hours and then realising it's fucking boring!"
If I could have said it better myself then I'd be called Renaud Charpentier. But someone else already has that name, so I'll just stick with what I got.
Anyway, I love Renaud's attitude. I hope they continue making games they want to make the way they want to make them. They're obviously popular because Creative Assembly is doing something right and they're being well-rewarded for it.
You can check out the rest of the interview over at Edge Online. Creative Assembly's Total War Battles: Shogun has recently released for PC and Mac.