GDC 07: Hecker apologizes for Wii comments

A day after bashing Nintendo at a GDC developer rant, Spore designer Chris Hecker offered a public apology.

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Spore designer Chris Hecker probably didn't realize that a firestorm of controversy would erupt over his comments yesterday regarding the Nintendo Wii. During a developer rant session at the Game Developers Conference on Wednesday, Hecker said that the "Wii is a piece of s***," slamming the system for its lack of power and Nintendo for only making fun games and not artistic ones. A day later, and after much outcry on the Internet, Hecker offered up a lengthy apology just prior to a presentation that he gave on Spore's powerful animation system.

"I was trying to be thought provoking and entertaining and fun, and a lot of the stuff went too far over the top on the entertaining and fun side, so that it was no longer thought provoking, just inflammatory. And in the process, I hurt a bunch of people I care about. And so, I want to apologize now," Hecker said.

He added that when he said those words, he was speaking for himself, and that he did not represent the views of EA or Maxis. Hecker also apologized to his coworkers, who he said were upset over the remarks.

"I do not think that the Wii is a piece of s***," Hecker said, and he applauded Nintendo for its innovation regarding the Wii's unique controller, its user interface, and the system's affordable price. He also commended Nintendo for its passion at making great games.

Hecker's apology was met with polite applause from the sizable audience. He then launched into an in-depth explanation of the animation system in Spore, the ambitious and long-awaited next game from Will Wright, the creator of The Sims and SimCity. Hecker's session was titled, "How to Animate a Character You've Never Seen Before."

Discussion

234 comments
codyw32
codyw32

The Wii isn't for hardcore gamers. It's for kids who like kiddy games and mario. I agree with Hecker.It's funny as I scroll down the comments, everyone that disagrees with Hecker has little anime girls as their pics LOL wow that's pretty girly, and that's pretty much what defines the wii fanboys

itBit
itBit

the wii doesnt just have very few good games but it also have few games overall .. if it the same games as the X360 it would beat the hell out of it easily hands down!

smitacular
smitacular

@pencilpusher69 I maybe could buy into your argument if the Wii had good games... unfortunately the best game for the system is still the one that comes packed into it for free. I have a hard time understanding why everyone loves the Wii so much when THERE ARE VERY FEW GOOD GAMES FOR THE SYSTEM.

Poisonshroom
Poisonshroom

I enjoy the Wii because the games aren't all about story or creative thinking; they're just fun! But I do enjoy the X360, but I don't own a PS3... but, it's like Coke and Pepsi; one side likes one, the other side likes the other, but I like both. He shouldn't have to apologize for what he truly thinks, though.

monco59
monco59

@ Captainintendo: "but game play and innovation are what keeps the "real" gamers around." I suppose this is why the Wii is popular with casual gamers and not hardcore gamers? I have a hard time believing someone named Captainintendo...

MarneBabe
MarneBabe

What a wuss. Just say what's on your mind and don't apologize for it. Personally, I don't Wii because A) Most of the games are bad, B) I find myself in physical pain after I play it, and C) I believe it's a gimmick. I am neither right or wrong in my opinion. And I'm not sorry for saying it. Political correctness is a cancer on society.

Captainintendo
Captainintendo

There is a reason that video games are still around after the crash of 83. Nintendo.....nuff said. Nintendo has made an affordable system that everyone can buy and the games are still 10 times better than any of the crap that comes out on the 360. Sony has ok games but they are all made by third party developers. The wii goes to show you that anyone can make an overpowered system that no one can afford but game play and innovation are what keeps the "real" gamers around.

goodridd
goodridd

eh, he was right the first time. He didn't mean his apology. He was forced to say it by his employer. Nintendo has the worst console this gen...again! Viva la PS360!!!

matrixman2k
matrixman2k

Never heard of this guy...So don't give a monkeys, what he has to say. Having said that, EA don't make a single title that i'm interested in anyway. Nearly all my games are created by the Japanese lot.

getoconnection
getoconnection

pencilpusher69/rarson ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Diddo

TheChronoMaster
TheChronoMaster

Bossman, you're totally missing the point. It's not what he said, it's how he said it.

BOSSMAN_2004
BOSSMAN_2004

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Tenjikuronin
Tenjikuronin

Quite a bit of unprofessionalism on Hecker's part. He's welcome to not like a console, but he needs to be professional about it. Using profanity at a professional event looks bad on both him and the companies that he represents.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

rarson - The graphics are hardly the only thing that have been hyped up, especially with the PS3. Sony's gone out of their way to talk about how the power and access speeds of the system combined with the storage capacity of Blu-Ray will make for larger, more interactive worlds than ever before.

Mikeh_515
Mikeh_515

Yeah All people who slag Nintendo off should be made to appolagise. Yeah it doesn't have brilliant graphics but tell that to the hundreds of new avid gamers it has created. Your just a moron because you can't see invoation even when it smacks you in the face.

rarson
rarson

I want to clarify though, what I meant was that graphics are often thrust to the forefront of the discussion when talking about new consoles. I don't agree with that. I agree that graphics shouldn't be the reason to go next gen, but it seems as though more often than not, they are what is focused on the most.

rarson
rarson

And yet they are the most mentioned aspect when discussions of consoles come up.

TheChronoMaster
TheChronoMaster

You're kidding yourself if you think high-powered machines aren't all about graphics. They are. They always have been. And they have to be, because the graphics are the tangible aspect of a game that clearly shows "this is next-gen" and shows people why they're ponying up more money for a new console. You're the one kidding yourself. Computer science may state that all computers can do anything any other computer can, regardless of power, but a higher amount of power WILL improve what can actually be done in the way of physics, AI, world size, and sheer amount of items onscreen or offscreen at once, in addition to simple things like load time and graphics. Graphics are hardly any reason to go next gen.

rarson
rarson

You're kidding yourself if you think high-powered machines aren't all about graphics. They are. They always have been. And they have to be, because the graphics are the tangible aspect of a game that clearly shows "this is next-gen" and shows people why they're ponying up more money for a new console. But getting stuck into this need for the "latest and greatest" is a common thing for people, and the desire to have the best ultimately just leads to wasting money. You'll never have the best anything because it'll soon be replaced by something better. I still laugh at the fact that people think the Wii's graphics suck. Sorry, RE4 bested any game on any last-gen console by a long shot, and that was a GC game. The Wii isn't just a GC with a new controller, it's more powerful than the Cube (not to mention it's got a lot more features). So if I have to "put up" with graphics on par with RE4, OH NO... I guess I'll just have to console myself with the fact that I saved $350 on a PS3 that doesn't have crap for decent games yet. The point is, in 3 years, the same graphics will probably cost 50-150 dollars less (for the console, that is). Then in another 3 years, they will be once again bested. So WHO REALLY CARES which one has the most muscle right now? If you can't make decent games on a system like the Wii, then you're not a very good developer.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

pencil - You're sinking to PatLTornado's level with that rant. As Hecker himself pointed out, high-powered machines are NOT all about graphics. AI and physics also require high-end equipment. High power is also used to generate those huge worlds that have become en vogue, so Oblivion couldn't have run on the XB1, unless you want it to run like crap the way Morrowind did. And look at the stuff they're adding to Fable 2. Fable 1 showed us just how limited the XB1 was, as evidenced by all the stuff Molyneaux had to cut from it. The fact is that all three of these systems are going to offer new and interesting gameplay this generation. REAL hardcore gamers can appreciate both ends of the spectrum without resorting to mudslinging, whether thay have all three systems or not. It's just too bad that Hecker had to have his perfectly valid points drowned out by his "piece of ****" tirade.

pencilpusher69
pencilpusher69

PatLTornado "Mark my Words, history isn't going to be kind to Wii, it will be looked at as a novelty console instead of a next gen,plus it's sad that thier last round in the home console market is a GC with a new controller, lack of HD big name titles and cheaply made." And you can mark my words, history will remember the Wii as the system that got non-gamers into gaming, and changed the way we play videogames. I find it troubling that many of you are SOLD on the bells and whistles of high definition graphics, when in fact you ARE PLAYING THE SAME GAMES, THE SAME WAY AS YOU DID IN THE LAST GENERATION. There's nothing new about HOW you're playing them, but you've been fandangled into believing that the last generation of systems aren't powerful enough to keep your interest. Next generation you will tell yourself the same thing. Look at God of War 2, and ask if you NEED a PS3 to enjoy that game? What is it exactely that any game on the 360 does, that couldn't have been done on the first xbox, with lower resolutions? Or the PS3 versus the PS2? Anything? I think you guys who NEED better graphics are deluding yourselves into buying new toys, because you need something NEW. I also believe that the main reason the 360 and PS3 are selling SO POORLY, is because most people believe that the last generation of games looked great, and can't reasonable justify spending 400 dollars or more on something that merely looks a little better. If you think the graphical leap from the last generation of games, to this new one is SO AMAZING, 20 years from now you will laugh at the idea. If you would still think that the leap was so fantastic, then it would probably mean that this was the last generation of videogames, ever. So keep telling yourself that you NEED better graphics to keep enjoying your games. Soon enough you'll bore of the new graphics, and realise you've been doing the same old things, the same old ways, merely out of habit. It's your limited thinking that would have us all still playing games with joypaddles and joysticks. And hey, you can take that from someone who predicted the Wii would clobber the competition, LONG ago.

TheChronoMaster
TheChronoMaster

Mark my Words, history isn't going to be kind to Wii, it will be looked at as a novelty console instead of a next gen,plus it's sad that thier last round in the home console market is a GC with a new controller, lack of HD big name titles and cheaply made. Still have bad memories of the Saturn, Sega CD, and Dreamcast, eh Sega fanboy?

ADANIEL
ADANIEL

Reading the history of these rants from previous GDC, Hecker is being true to form. He has bashed Microsoft and Sony for their inability to perform "out of order execution" on their platforms - stating that for AI and gameplay the Xenon and Cell were no better than the celeron inside xbox1. He was looking to Nintendo as a saviour, and Nintendo just didn't come through. Porting a PC game with really high end AI(Spore) to a console with in order execution and make it work well must be a pain. I don't believe Hecker was apologising for himself - as an indie developer he probably got used to getting by without much money, and probably would have told "the man" to "stick it" if he was forced into it. I suggest he really was apologising to his fellow developers at Maxis for overstepping the mark. I don't agree with his "Art" comments though. You don't call yourself an artist. Michelangelo painted pictures and sculpted, Will Wright & Miyamoto design and program games, the beholder calls them artists.

PatLTornado
PatLTornado

I can't believe Hecker apologized for a true statement, he's just doing what the fanboys want. I mean after all,Kerry didn't have to apologize to the neo-con Republicans last fall for his joke, because they didn't win. He doesn't have to listen to them, he should say what he feels and he has the right to speak the truth because Wii does suck, with the lack of big name titles by the end of the year less and less people will want to buy a gamecube with a new controller because thats what happens to novelties. So far not ONE next gen console has impressed me although 360 and PS3 are not bad consoles, I can't see myself buying a next gen console right now because there's no hardcore games of arcade import ports. Maybe in the next round of consoles when SEGA releases a new console I'll buy one. Don't get me wrong I 've always liked Nintendo, I just lost my faith in them after Gamecube, so for now I don't trust them and think they should just stick with handheld consoles, thier strong point. Mark my Words, history isn't going to be kind to Wii, it will be looked at as a novelty console instead of a next gen,plus it's sad that thier last round in the home console market is a GC with a new controller, lack of HD big name titles and cheaply made.

ferrethasfamas
ferrethasfamas

sorry guys but hecker was sort of right about the wii

FilthyYamBag
FilthyYamBag

so wait fun games are bad? What a loser Hecker is.

Gen-Gawl
Gen-Gawl

well, maybe that's what he intended. As the old saying goes: sometimes it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.

wwonka666
wwonka666

I have a Wii60, but I know exactly what he was saying. The games are fun, but come on Nintendo your charging us $249 for a souped up Gamecube with a controller and attachment you could have released on the Gamecube. I'll probably get turned in for a T.O.S. violation for saying this but open your eyes it's true. And all of you so called gamers who have suddenly jumped on the Nintendo bandwagon, where were you during the Gamecube days? Why has Nintendo suffered so much during the past two generations? Because of fly by night fans. Same reason Sony is getting bashed for the PS3 costing so much now. You Wii fans are the same people that made the PS2 the number one selling console. That's all i'm saying. Nintendo is officially one graphical generation behind with the Wii and that's what this Hecker was trying to say, they have to now downgrade Spore if they want to put it on the Wii because technology has advance and Nintendo while creating a great control didn't advance with it.

cjcr_alexandru
cjcr_alexandru

If you work for a gaming company you can't say that a gaming console is a "a piece of s***"...or you can... and be fired afterwards.

josheat
josheat

I think he should be entitled to voicing his own opinion without having to apologize.

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Sounds like a corporate-induced apology if you ask me. Sounds like Hecker really DOES think the Wii is a piece of s***. But yeah, not the most professional thing to say... certainly not the smartest.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

The thing is that he knew what he was going to say walking in - thus his presentation title "Fear of a Wii Planet." He needed to say his piece - whatever it was - in a civil manner. I doubt anyone would have complained had he just spoken like the high-profile developer he is and not some PS3 fanboy.

7thRonin
7thRonin

nah he wouldnt lose nothing hes too ranked. its just that it wasnt profesionnal... word but whats interresting here is that its evident that hes not the only ranked dude within the industry that shares the same opinion or opinion on another console that is. we'll never know why he was looking to express himself... but one thing is for sure and that is that hes now known

theKSMM
theKSMM

Those comments, simply put, were unprofessional. Chris Hecker isn't some moron with posting rights on a game forum. He's a developer working on a high-profile project representing two of the biggest names in gaming. For him not to have the foresight that his comments would start a flame war was pure foolishness. I'll also add that it's easy to think he's a wimp for apologizing. You can make inflammatory comments here on GameSpot about various topics using your pseudo-anonymous username. But your "opinions" won't cause you to lose your house, car, lifestyle, and family. When you have all that on the line, a simple apology doesn't seem so far-fetched.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

Por - I think people forget that other people have the freedom to respond to you.

7thRonin
7thRonin

no Im not saying that u cant say **** about the wii, specifically, Im saying that in the videogame industry when u have some position or whatever position, u just can say bad things about other consoles ( 360, wii, ps3 ) because u are reflecting the compagny you work for. its politics and marketing, Ive heard things like that happen a producer that was asked to say something about a console "y" by a reporter... ,like 2, 3 months ago, he was like... its a junk... and the marketing guy was like no uhh you have to say something good about it ,please... so the producer ended saying good things but that werent really related to the gaming side of it... so in the end Hecker said what he personally thougth... but hes been told after to apologies because : maybe the co. / marketing didnt like that... because whenever he or other collegue speaks they reflect maxis or ea ideas... which is wrong to say **** about any console and yes there is that mentality that u cant say **** about nintendo.. but heres not the case.

uberjannie
uberjannie

Well, it doesn't matter if he did it. he did it in heat of action. And then discovered the error and apologized like an adult. Well done!

porphyrous
porphyrous

Here is the thing about freedom of speech: All speech has consequences. Freedom of speech is about speaking your mind and not being thrown in jail. It is not about speaking your mind with insurance that absolutely nothing bad will happen to you afterward. We get this distorted view of freedom of speech that seems to suggest that anything goes, anywhere, at any time. 7thronin: If I'm following what you're saying, you're suggesting that nobody can criticize the Wii because it's untouchable and Nintendo is untouchable. That is not the case. Any number of people have criticized them, are doing so now, and will continue to do so. If they do it in a professional fashion, probably nothing bad will happen to them. I don't see why this is so hard for people to understand: It's not his opinions that cause the controversy. It was his blatant lack of professionalism in a professional forum. Nobody is proposing that Mr. Hecker get thrown in jail. Even if you hate EA, you have to recognize that Will Wright is one of the good guys in this industry, and Hecker's spewage harmed his company. Spore is no longer "Will Wright's latest project". Instead Mr. Hecker has, through his thoughtless actions, made it "that game being worked on by the 'piece of ****' guy". I would imagine that the people who wanted his apology were the rest of the Spore team.

porphyrous
porphyrous

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

GAMEGEEK1
GAMEGEEK1

TheChronoMaster sry i was tired i actually meant freedom of speech in a broader seance and not the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 19 kinda "freedom of speech".( a bit annoying to get things across when so many people make so many things synonymous with others) kinda threw me off when all your examples are based off of verbal taboos and not textual ones also.(and the person that u were replying to used verbal only as well) what i meant was that basically every one in the world has the freedom to speak there mind but like i said every thing comes with consequences including speaking your mind in a country that censors everything and "silences" those with "radical" ideas like the USSR under Stalin's rule.

Mr_Fan
Mr_Fan

You must be pretty shallow, and quite frankly not "artistic" enough if you believe polygon count = Art. The Wii is FAR more than capable of creating visually stunning games, we've moved from the Playstation Nintendo 64 era, games are crystal clear and the hardware is capable enough. Look at Okami. I don't believe that was on a Playstation3 hardware and yet it was a beautiful game. Get creative, or get the **** out. It's only his creative limitations holding him back. He speaks based on Wii Sports, I believe, and ignores the rest in terms of in game art.

TheChronoMaster
TheChronoMaster

freedom of speech applies even tho those who abuse it tho there is nothing u can do that does not have some sort of repercussion whether it effects u personally or others that u might not even know exist. You're kidding, right? You must have never heard of "Censors" on the internet, in the media, and "Taboo" in public.

faizali86
faizali86

the wii is good but i think its life cycle is short. i dont see too many games being made for it after 2010.

GAMEGEEK1
GAMEGEEK1

I'm glad hes man enough to speak his mind and not care what others think but i agree that he should have chosen his words more carefully. TheChronoMaster freedom of speech applies even tho those who abuse it tho there is nothing u can do that does not have some sort of repercussion whether it effects u personally or others that u might not even know exist.

Gen-Gawl
Gen-Gawl

To Pablo: Yes, we do have freedom of speech. But we are also held accountable for what we say. One doesn't work well without the other.

7thRonin
7thRonin

yeah porphyrous... thats absolutly right ... Ive that kind of stuff often.. he couldnt bash the console and no professional in the industry can .. expect top marketing of consoles itself... because of profesionnalism.. and marketing issues so hecker said its mind the day before... and told false apolies to meet profesional ethic that he forgot thats it no other debate

TheChronoMaster
TheChronoMaster

(which are better than the GameCube, are probably on a par with the PS2 and XBox, and are certainly not on the level of the XBox 360 or PS3 If it's better than the GCN, it's far better than the PS2, and probably better than the Xbox. The PS2 was the weakest console in terms of both power and graphics last gen, and look how that turned out.