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Op Ed

Kotaku - Gaming's Biggest Problem Is That Nobody Wants To Talk.
The biggest problem in gaming today is that the gaming industry thinks we're all out to get them. They think gamers are the enemy, a group that needs to be treated with disdain and avoided whenever possible. They think the only way to fool us into buying their products is to cover everything in a shroud of secrecy, only drip-feeding us pretty trailers and juicy soundbites during carefully-tailored marketing campaigns. They think we should just sit there and lap it up.

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28. Re: Op Ed Aug 4, 2012, 02:17 Jerykk
eunichron wrote on Aug 3, 2012, 16:29:
I think Kotaku is confusing "disdain" and "aversion" with game developers doing their jobs. Developers make the games they want to make, yeah there are some exceptions when publishers begin to force themselves into the process, but in the end game design is not up to the gamers. As I read through the beta forums for a few upcoming, highly anticipated, games I realize that the communities have some truly awful ideas. It's not the developers job to make the games the communities wants, their job is to make the game that the designers want within the means that they are able. If the community does not like that, they can make their own studio and make the game they want. If the designers decide that they want community input and involvement in the design and development of the game, well that's entirely up to them.

That's not really accurate. Unless you're an indie or a big developer with a lot of leverage (like Blizzard or Bungie), publishers ultimately decide the direction a game takes. If they don't like a certain design choice, it's going to get cut. Doesn't matter what the designers want. They can try and explain why having the player losing limbs and being forced to collect them is a bad idea (see Neverdead) but if the publisher wants it in the game, it's going to stay.

Here's how it typically works:

1) You pitch a game concept to a publisher.
2) Someone at the publisher likes the general concept and decides to back it, provided that you make some changes in accordance with the publisher's vision for the game.
3) You agree to make the changes and the publisher gives you money to develop a prototype.
4) If the prototype satisfies the publisher's vision, you sign a contract to develop the full game.
5) Throughout development, every design choice you make has to be signed off by the publisher. If you refuse to abide by the publisher's demands, you lose the project.

Take Neverdead, for example. I'm 99% sure that Rebellion knew that the whole limb-loss mechanic was retarded. However, some suit at Konami really loved the idea so it had to stay. The game is released, bombs and Rebellion takes all the heat for such a stupid mechanic. If they openly admit that the mechanic was Konami's idea, they're essentially guaranteeing that they won't ever work with Konami again. When you're a developer that relies on publisher funding, burning bridges is a bad idea.

In the modern game industry, you aren't making games for the public or for yourself. You're making games for publishers.
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