My Thoughts On Game Developers
Every now and again when I’m asked if I would like to review a specific game that I’m otherwise not entirely familiar with, the first thing I do after checking out its Achievements list — I’m not even kidding — is check out who developed it.
It’s my standard procedure recently as I’ve found that I tend to enjoy games from particular development studios, but also I’ve experienced common patterns among certain publishers and developers. As an example, I love Visceral Games and I find their games to be pretty awesome even though they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Think Dead Space, Dante’s Inferno and that Simpsons game from when cell-shaded graphics had just become a thing.
Now on the other side of the coin, if I find out that a particular developer — or publisher, in the case of Konami — worked on a specific title and I have issues with that developer, for whatever reason, I find that I’m a little more apprehensive over playing their game. I realise that this isn’t necessary a “right” sort of thing. But work with me on this…
The best example I can use is that of Notch, with Minecraft. I’ll be straight: I vehemently dislike Notch. I believe that his sudden popularity with the indie gaming crowd has elevated his ego to that of super-celebrity status and though he claims to be a soldier of the people, fighting for gamer rights and all things gaming, what he actually does is use it as an excuse to hate on anything and everything, being condescending and at times spiteful towards other developers who no doubt work just as hard if not harder to get their games out, only for publishers to fuck them over. This of course is purely my opinion and I’m sure the man couldn’t give less of a fuck what I think of him, but that’s kind of the point sometimes. How does he purport to be a guardian of gaming purity and then not care what gamers think about him? Is there something more to his disdain at the industry or is he just using the perch he’s been given to make proclamations ‘for the lulz’?
These days it almost works in a pattern: 1. Game studio makes some announcement. 2. Notch criticises announcement in a tweet. 3. Notch makes worldwide headlines with millions of fans retweeting him and praising his godlike knowledge.
Again this is just my personal opinion.
Coming back to my point, I was asked if I would like to review Minecraft for Xbox 360 and I outright denied the privilege because I refused to play the game, based mostly on my opinion of Notch. I realised that Minecraft is a decent game and that I’d probably enjoy reviewing it, I also realised that I’d be passing up some GamerScore as well. I just didn’t really care about all of that because when I think of Minecraft, I think of Notch. And my mood sours a bit.
It’s not that I hate the man, it’s just that I think he could be less of an internet douchebag, as he no doubt thinks most others are, who challenge his thought process.
So this random musing basically, was brought about by my disinclination to review Minecraft for Xbox 360 because of my opinion of its creator Notch. Again I realise that it’s not necessarily a valid reason to not play a game and at times it’s downright stupid since there are other people in the industry who are far bigger assholes with a certain Bobby Kotick instantly springing to mind, yet I play the Call of Duty games with gay abandon.
I’m not here to defend my thoughts though. What I’m here to do is ask you all if you’re the same.
Let’s use an extreme case of this: Let’s say a developer was guilty of sexual harassment, or racism — this was actually the case with Fez developer Phil Fish who criticised the Japanese prior to the game’s launch — or something even worse. Something you could not forgive. Say a developer was a convicted sex offender, or played Halo. Would you then buy their game, knowing what they were guilty of? Would it at all affect your purchase decision?
I may not like Notch very much but I do think that Minecraft is an enjoyable experience and one that I will give him kudos and respect for crafting (see what I did there?), but even with that I do not find the desire to support any of his games as long as my opinion of him remains the same. Asked on Twitter about an upcoming game by the man, my honest reply was that I would not be interested even if I knew the game in question.
On the flip side of the coin, I can’t wait to see what Casey Hudson, Jade Raymond or even Cliff Bleszinski bring to the table, next. Regardless of what it is, or how not amazing it might be.
I fought the urge to title this “Cavie’s Corner” but know that it’s not a QotW article, it’s just a random musing of mine that I thought I’d share.