Jeff Gerstmann from Giant Bomb takes a break from Zorking off long enough to join the GameSpot team for another edition of GamePlay. Game guy Kevin Dent is also on hand to give insight into Bioware's past and future. Tom Mc Shea, Carolyn Petit, and host Kevin VanOrd round out the episode with a liberal peppering of Ryu Habanero. Spicy!
Click here to subscribe to GameSpot Gameplay via iTunes.
Subscribe to this RSS feed to receive new episodes of GameSpot GamePlay through your favorite RSS reader.
Game design leads just need a man/woman with a vision. Focus test and all that feedback would just distort the final product...I remember I read an article once about a focus test for coke. What I remember was the man said something along the lines of "There isn't the BEST coke but the best cokeS" (don't quote me on that cause I don't remember the exact line) Anyways the point is that many people enjoy many different things, it doesn't matter if it's too sweet or too tangy everyone is different. The man in that article was fired from Coca-Cola I think but was later hired by Campbell. Now there are chunky soups and light soups and all that jazz. Even Coca-Cola came up with a variety of soft drinks.
imo the Mona Lisa wasn't painted with feedback >.>
Having said that if you don't have that vision a focus test on the market is great for making cod clones.
I actually think BioWare's spoilerific marketing are able to add to the experience of playing their games. Before Mass Effect 2 came out, for instance, they made a huge deal about the fact that anyone - including Shepard - could die during the game's final suicide mission. Though that's a pretty massive (potential) spoiler, going into the game knowing it'd be possible to sink hours and hours into the experience and still fail miserably made for an extremely intense experience. Had they left the potential for Shepard to die for fans to discover, I don't think it would've been particularly impactful. Going into Mass Effect 2 knowing just how high the stakes were, on the other hand, greatly improved the experience, and ultimately made the suicide mission much weightier and more foreboding than it would've been if players were unaware of its potentially devastating outcomes.
da2 not only had same rooms, but you kill the same blood mage packs n those slimy things with no legs from room to room, alley to alley. Further, thinks looked so less tension free that u cant feel much difference between side quests n mains quests
The common bioware fanboy/fangirl: they say they love bioware but have only like 5 games from bioware and dont know any thing about games like bulder's gate and neverwinter nights. Never figered such fanboys are in gamespot at list we have good old Kevin
1) Reviews without scores might actually be a good idea.
2) stop telling fans they are not allowed to be upset over the ending of Mass Effect 3. If you don't like it, don't buy? You can't find out if you like until you buy it, and you can't get your money back. And this only the tip of the iceberg why I have a problem with game reviewers/publishers/developers trying to tell us our feelings and expectations are irrelevant.
I really want to see the day when videogame reviews are past the numbers stage. No thanks to sites like IGN that is regressing, but Gamespot might be ready to take the next step toward a 10 point scale instead of a 20 point one.
I'm very glad that Giantbomb went with the 5 point rating system. Whats most important in distinguishing game criticism is the text of the review and not the score.
Here we are, minute 45:00 and the word "entitlement" crops up. Again.
A word now more meaningless than Visceral, Compelling and Polish all rolled up into one.
Please stop reducing any argument you disagree with by calling it a product of "entitlement". Feedback is feedback. Some people don't like Bayonetta 2 being a WiiU exclusive, probably because while they support Platinum games, they have no plans on purchasing the WiiU.
I agree with Jeff that they should just suck it up, because this is the only reason the game even exists, but the immediate lurch for the word "entitlement" seems unnecessarily insulting and reductive.
It's 24:50 into the podcast, and I can barely parse out the words Kevin Dent is trying to say.
Something about having eyeballs on the tips of the player's fingers. He made more sense before, and that was when he was saying that there is no way flooding the market with information can hurt your messaging and the way your game is experienced.
Need he be reminded of how Bioware blew the big Dragon Town twist in Dragon Age: Origins, and blew the most emotionally resonant moment in Mass Effect 2's entirety by putting it in the game's frikkin' launch trailer.
Had to stop listening to the podcast to say this. Regarding "If you don't like it don't buy it." vis-a-vis Mass Effect 3, this is a strawman argument - no one can know they won't like the ending of a game unless they either play the entire game (at which point they have all the moral grounds they need to criticize as heavily as they wish), or allow themselves to be spoiled on it (and these people likely aren't intensely invested in the game, and thus would be far less likely to present a vehement argument either for or against certain elements of it).
It's a false argument to say "Hey, you bought it - if you didn't like it, you shouldn't have bought it." That puts the cart before the horse in the most blatant way.
I also believe that if you think fan feedback shouldn't be taken into consideration, you should perhaps consider changing professions. It's your job to give your opinion on a game, and you'll notice that many people reviewing games have differing, sometimes contradicting opinions. Fans are the same, and Bioware can and should listen to their fan base, understand the wishes of that fanbase, and take that into consideration while planning the game.
Ignoring customer requests or wishes is something that kills development houses in all branches of software development, and frankly, that would be the very worst thing that Bioware could do.
Good podcast. And for me the scores are a illustration that can't make justice for a good review and it's really sad when you seen people debating about a number and not about a text and its ideas.
I even think that movies and game critics could get rid of this. It's not rare when people do not focus in the right thing because of this numbers and create a unnecessary buzz.
But I know that would be really difficult to happen, the public, the industry and the media are used to scores. As they say in the podcast the developers want something "precise" measure the quality of the game and to use this in advertising. Many people would freak out if a site like Gamespot started to stop using scores.
Once I saw a movie critic saying that he wanted to stop using stars on his site and the reaction of the public was negative.
I know that is difficult but I really whish that scores stop being used.
$$ made EA release day one DLC and streamline ME's roleplaying elements into a FPS and Dragon Age into an Action Adventure. Day one DLC is for the impulsive buyers but snipping out an entire level is kinda... yeah.... Maybe some other sort of cosmetic?? I mean there are people that just like to spend money on DLCs but if you take out an entire level it does seem a bit much. for streamlining... I dunno... Don't have the sales number.
Everyone hates the current Sonic but there's no doubt that SEGA's target market for kids still buy a sh!tzload of those Sonic games, and lets not forget movie game combos like 'The Transformers' which is just purely made for the $$ on movie release.
imo looking at ME and DA... I think EA wanted Bioware to make great original IPs, get the fame, and then market the crap out of it. ME app games and comics and all that = EA lol. Never read the comics or books but I don't think those are bad but the streamlining and DLC stuff kinda is...
Came back to haunt them with ME3 though... ME2 and ME3 still both sold sh!tloads I assume and even though everyone hates on DA2 I thought it was alright... Never played the original DA so don't hate me for saying that =/
@baumeden So they didn't know Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights music when hearing it. How does that make anyone a "fanboy?" What you are saying makes no sense. I don't even know if after these years I would recognize the BG1 theme when hearing it out of context. They didn't recognize the music; how on earth do you then reach the conclusion that they don't know anything about the games?
Besides, not everyone has played every game ever made. There are a number of Zelda games where I might not recognize the music because I never played the games. Would you attack me in the comments if I didn't recognize the music? I have never played all sorts of games, many of which are beloved. And I don't have a photographic memory--I have probably played hundreds of hours of games I would probably not recognize the music from.
In other words: what's up with the rude judgmental attitude? Goodness.
@baumeden The common bioware fanboy/fangirl: they say they love bioware but have only like 5 games from bioware and dont know ANYTHING about games like BALDER'S gate and neverwinter nights. Never FIGURED such fanboys are in gamespot at LEAST we have good old Kevin
@eiji1 We agree that Mr. Dent pursues a flawed argument, though it isn't a strawman. A strawman argument is one that misrepresents a statement so it can be more easily refuted. Mr. Dent's fallacy is argument by dismissal, i.e., "if you don't like it, don't play it." And be careful: you yourself commit a number of logical fallacies in your own post. Suggesting someone should "change professions" because they believe developers shouldn't always listen to their fan base, for example, is a false dilemma. (Either we agree with you that developers should listen to their fans, orwe should get different jobs.)
But I digress. Personally, I am perfectly great with developers that hear what their audience has to say, to the extent that they don't allow feedback to take the place of development creativity. I have often said that the best games aren't the ones developers thought I wanted (which is why we have lesser games like Homefront and Ninja Gaiden 3--games that followed trends to the detriment of creativity), but the ones I didn't know I wanted until I had them (I would never have imagined a game like Vanquish, but I am glad someone did!) As Jeff said: it's all about what developers do with that data that makes all the difference.
@Falzonn The problem is that actual entitlement is how people resented Capcom for DMC4 not being a PS3 exclusive. I've heard the word entitlement used a lot since March, and always seemingly in an effort to dismiss opinions that differ from the speaker's. People who wanted a better ending for Mass Effect 3 are no more entitled than people who want Madden to be less iterative, or people who wish they didn't need to buy a new console just to play Bayonetta 2.
@Kevin-V Well, to be frank, I was intentionally flagrant with my "changing professions" comment. Not in meaning to troll, but more to show the problem with wide-reaching exclamations like those made by Tom and Kevin Dent. It's an odd sort of hypocrisy when you say that fan feedback is contradictory and is given by non-game-designers, when I know of very few people in the game critic profession who've been actively participant in the process of game or software design.
Nevertheless, I'm glad you agree with me on the importance of fan feedback. I think game makers should, as Jeff said, pull in all the information they can and attempt to disseminate that as they can. I think it's crucial that game makers do that not only because (much like in politics) knowing your base and what they're looking for from you is a key element in producing a product that will be successful with them.
As a computer programmer and software designer, I know very well that acquiescence alone is a recipe for mediocrity, but there is value in knowing the weaknesses and strengths of your previous work, in understanding them and in building upon that knowledge.
And for that, I'm sure you'd agree, user feedback is nothing less than crucial.
@twillfast@TomMcShea@Kevin-V I wouldn't say there's an inherent difference, between those, simply because fan reactions vary and the level to which they delve also varies.
Second, I don't believe it is wrong for me to describe what I like, what I don't like and how I would have solved what I didn't like. Not only do I think the latter is important for a developer to understand the criticism, but in all the places I've worked as a software developer, one of our guiding principles have been "If you can show me a problem we have, try, at the very least, to find a solution for it."
@TomMcShea@eiji1@Kevin-V This is a bit of a mess of a thread I think. To say that fans and critics are alike (non-game-designers) is absolutely true, but there are differences in the way they present their criticism. Fans often present critique along with what they think would make the game better. Critics usually stay more objective and say what's right or wrong with the experience instead of assuming they have the perfect solution.
I agree completely with Tom here and the Mario Kart analogy is brilliant. If my critiques would've been taken in consideration during all game development, some of my favourite games would never have been made. And some others would've been rotten apples.
@eiji1@Kevin-V I ultimately trust BioWare more than myself (or other fans) to make a good game. That's why I made that comment. If I could have weighed in at Nintendo years ago, I would have told them that putting Mario in a kart is a bad idea, and yet, Super Mario Kart turned out to be my favorite game. I have faith in developers, and once they subvert their vision to please the dissenting voices of fans and upper management, the end result may not be as strong.
@eiji1@Kevin-V Ultimately ignoring fan feedback is never a good idea regardless of what product you're making (be it games or anything). Not taking consumer feedback into account when developing products is a great business model if you have no care about people continuing to purchase your wares. Games may be art but developers are making interactive art for public consumption so a certain degree of fan service is necessary. It's up to developers to sort through the minutiae and have a good minds eye to recognize what fans are honestly asking for with their feedback. It's obviously a tug-of-war to try and meet fan expectations and publisher demands while still maintaining creativity toward the ultimate goal of making a game that is the developers artistic vision, the publishers financial success, and the fans perfect gaming experience.