GDC '08: Game designers sound off

Annual rant session sees most speakers surprisingly happy; Wii belittler Chris Hecker invited back to pick up a Duct Tape Award.

SAN FRANCISCO--The infamous annual Game Designers Rant took place today, with real life, lack of mature content, and stagnation some of the things that made the panel really, really angry.

Clint Hocking from Ubisoft was first up on the stage, and he was particularly angry about the lack of meaningful content in best-selling games. He said, "Why don't we make games that challenge people? Why can't we make a game that matters? Why the f*** don't we learn from these smaller games and plug them into our blockbusters? Why isn't Call of Duty--why can't it actually be about duty? Why isn't Medal of Honor about honour?"

He added that, "[It's] not surprising with this item fetishism that the most meaningful relationship this year in AAA games is with a f***ing cube."

Jonathan Mak of Queasy Games took an existential angle on his rant. The Everyday Shooter developer asked the audience to stand up, then gave out balloons and other party gear, and swapped places with a random member of the audience and asked her to rant--although she said she was perfectly happy and couldn't think of anything to rant about.

Hmmm...

Jane McGonigal from Avant Game was up next, and she chose to address the issue of how much real life sucked compared to games. She said, "My rant is about the fact that reality is broken and it's our responsibility to fix it. We need a real world as good as a game." She gave the examples of some games which could make everyday chores count as experience points in a role-playing game, for example.

Next, Zimmerman invited last year's top ranter Chris Hecker back for a special guest rant, and presented him with a roll of duct tape as an award for the 'most media-grabbing rant.' Zimmerman then gave Hecker a duct tape sash. Last year Hecker was widely quoted in the media as saying that the Wii "is just two GameCubes duct taped together." Shortly after this pronouncement he issued an apology.

He said, "I stand by my apology last year. The reason I'm still into ranting is because complacency equals death. Games could become the eminent art form of the 21st century, but on the current trajectory we're going I'm not sure we're going to get there."

Jenova Chen from That Game Company then took to the stage, saying that as a gamer he wanted to see more adult content, and by adult he didn't mean more Dead or Alive Extreme. He said, "I want more mature content for people who are grown up like us and still want to play games. We don't need any more Three Little Pigs; we need more The Little Prince."

Last up was Daniel James from Three Rings, who declared that he was blissfully happy with everything right now, and that once the session was ended, he was going to get "very, very drunk" to celebrate.

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37 comments
Lumenadducere
Lumenadducere

I really do wish we had more thought-provoking games. It'd be nice to see the industry mature a little more.

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

Jane McGonigal's opinion is certainly bizarre. And, as for that guy from Ubisoft, Clint Hocking, was very stupid, & looked really pathetic with what he was talking about. "Why don't we make games that challenge people? ..." and so on. Then why don't you **** make said kinds of games YOURSELF along with your teams!?! Shut up and go back to work on said games, coz that is the only way to remedy your complaint! Also, there's also a hidden message in there - he is afraid to criticize Ubisoft, the company that he works for, lol. It's nigh-impossible to make something that is non-casual, and not really catered for the mass-market consumption under Ubisoft. And that's because Ubisoft is afraid about the possibility of EA buying out Ubisoft, and thus is trying to reduce their stockholding percentage (It went down to ~15% from 20%). So why don't he just quit the company and work for or start-up a small team to make something that he wants to do?

itBit
itBit

big example on what SpazH3d said the Devil Mau Cry series IMO

SpazH3d
SpazH3d

Rant - I hate it when some random developher decide to make a sequal to an awesome game, and then making it easier, streamlined and more casual, to cater to the "retarded" console gamers. Arrgh.

itBit
itBit

RANT -- i want new game genres ... where the F*** is the innovation? the creativity? dont get me wrong.. I luv FPSs i luv RPGs i luv RTSs but i want to live a whole new taste of games .. i know that there are lots of creative ppl out there, n when i say creative i dont mean a new subject in games i mean a new genre of video games .... im happy that the game industry is rivaling the movies and becoming a multi-Billion dollar industry but if that is gonna F*** the innovation in the butt then that is a big ass disadvantage!

bardkieran
bardkieran

Rant - Put all the effin fanboys into a giant blender and chop them up.

bam226
bam226

RANT: why cant anyone make a good ninja STEALTH game anymore. i can only think of tenchu for psone, tenchu 3 for ps2 was decent at best but still lacked good enemy A.I.,after that eveything else sucked a$$. loved both splinter cell and metal gear solid series but i want sum freakin ninja stealth kill action, mostly during the warring states period,with good camera angles smart a.i. and a story to go with it,is that too much to ask for. and if anybody says ninja gaiden is a stealth game you need to walk in some oncoming traffic. theres thats my 2 cents worth.

gulamh
gulamh

It would be cool if life was like rpg, I would be one of the townfolks helping people in their journey.

SS2Dante
SS2Dante

Clint Hocking sounds like he actually knows some stuff. Nice rant, dude

ItsRichie
ItsRichie

rant WII WANT MEMORY... thats all.

nate1222
nate1222

My rant. Too many FPSs. PC gamings over priced GPUs (especially considering the fact that NVIDIA and ATI make the GPUs for consoles). Graphics mattering more than gameplay. Micro$oft forcing XBL on their consumers via "no bots" and "emulatiors" for BC. PS3's TOTAL LACK OF BC! 'Tech-head' fan boys dissing the Wii, when it's actually doing everything right.

sampleking
sampleking

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

Bigboi500
Bigboi500

Wow, that sounded uninspiring to say the least. No wonder the gaming industry is so slow moving forward. :(

quietguy
quietguy

I gotta visit the convention one of these days to listen to these rants, very entertaining. My rant for the day: We're running out of concepts and the current design teams are not even cutting it. Where's the damn inspiration gone to? And no to games with flair (ie. pretty boy antagonists, anim-"ish"drawings), I had enough with those.

filiwian
filiwian

All-in-all we have all our dislikes and likes. I myself see nothing wrong with Call of Duty 4 or the Wii since they're actually become one of the biggest sellers and many people have seemed to take an interest to them.

cmbradsh
cmbradsh

My rant on the state of video games... is the total lack of the any sort of creativity or inspiration.... For example Call of duty 2 and 3 had multiple missions that were absoulte rips offs of the band of brothers series. The reason I picked this example, was, the ridicoulus amount of memiors, battles, historical events, etc of that conflict . Its pretty easy to open a history book and find a description of a battle or skirimish and create something original, as opposed to watching band of brothers or enemy at the gates and plagerizing this show/movie for a half assed video game plot. System requirments for computer games.... Gaming is a hobby of mine, every few years I dont mind sheveling out some dough to get a top of the line system, to play the new killer app. But, I think its interesting to note that in best buy and other similar electronic stores they will have a game like crysis or supcom on their shevels even though there isnt a single system for sell in those stores that actually run those games at anywhere near the performance or graphics quality promised on the box. The influence of marketing and pr on the development proccess. My opinion is that there is a lot of people involved in video games development that dont have a clue about video games. For example, achivments in games... a few months back there was an article about how statisitcly games with achivments in them sell more copies. Now every game being realised now and for the near future is going to have some sort of half backed achivment system included in it. The thinking of the average game publisher is that lots of achivments = more money. But my opinion is that a game with achivments used to correlate with it having a certain level of polish... it used to be an extra kudo added on as a byproduct of game not being rushed out. Now, every crap game is going to come with some sort of half baked achivment system.... and it still going to be a crap, casue, achivments cant cahnge the fact that a game sucks anyways for the recored, I do really enjoy the call of duty games, and there are a few developers out there that actually seem to be creative; blizzard, relic, and valve, rockstar (occasionly) to name a few. But, the overall point of this post is improving graphics and ripping off cliche ww2 movies is not creativity, its just uninspired/ lazy game design.

Terran499
Terran499

LOL this is too funny. Wish I could be there, I got a rant or two

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

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

yoyoman10
yoyoman10

"the wii is 2 gamecubes taped together" lol. the only reason he took that back was because its selling so well. he is more or less right about the wii rant.

yoyoman10
yoyoman10

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

reneetruss
reneetruss

I think most of these rants suck especially the real life sucked compared to a video game. I think somebody needs their head examined for coming up with that one. The only other thing I agree with is the subject about more adult content in game. Most game are based on teen fantasies of the world. A first person shooter aren't mature, but only receive a mature rating because the blood and violence in the game. This doesn't matter a game mature only make it violence and rating system is only there to guide parent in purchasing game for their kids. But this doesn't guide adult into finding game that would appeal to them, unless you like first person shooters. Porn doesn't have a game mature either. I just think there need to be some balance. There are books, magazines, tv shows and films that are just for adult. Why can't there be video games on the same level for adult? I think the only game that comes close to give adults what I want in a video game is gta. but there still need to be more variety because the everyone likes action and crime games. I want to go back and say I think first person shooter are mature too they are like sci fi and horror thrillers. But there needs to be more depth added to these game.

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

i agree with barret_rob. I can have kids in Fable 2, but I won't be able to see my wife naked? At least something in the lines of GoWar or something... And more games should have stories like Bioshock, that actually makes you think about reality every now and then, and about real life itself.

barrett_rob
barrett_rob

A lot of us adults want mature games with blood and sex not kiddy games and not just sex mini games as that is not what I mean, just games with adult themes

Stryker521
Stryker521

THANK YOU!: Jenova Chen from That Game Company then took to the stage, saying that as a gamer he wanted to see more adult content, and by adult he didn't mean more Dead or Alive Extreme. He said, "I want more mature content for people who are grown up like us and still want to play games. We don't need any more Three Little Pigs; we need more The Little Prince." LOL: Jane McGonigal from Avant Game was up next...She gave the examples of some games which could make everyday chores count as experience points in a role-playing game, for example. Maybe she needs a *cough lifetime cough* dose of WoW?: She said, "My rant is about the fact that reality is broken and it's our responsibility to fix it. We need a real world as good as a game."

Gamer_152
Gamer_152

Well as funy as it was I'm not sure this series of rants really achieved too much apart from what Jane McGonigal was talking about.

connor93
connor93

lol at duct tape and two gamecubes stuck together

Gravidtron
Gravidtron

OK, The Little Prince is obviously an analogy for Super Mario Galaxy, since they're both about visiting groups of small planets. But what could he mean by the Three Little Pigs?

PS360owner
PS360owner

I can only speak for myself, but my life is a heck of a lot better than any game. People who think life sucks compared to games need to go to school and get a good education, work harder, find a better job, or travel more and see what they're missing out on. I agree that life in the United States can get boring if you don't have enough money or education. But, this should motivate you to work harder so that you can escape your predicament and visit exotic and exciting places like the pyramids of Ghiza, Stonehenge, and other places featured in games that really exist. It's much better to experience something in reality than in video games. Video games should only be for recreational purposes, to relax after work., they should not be the center of your life. If they take over your life, no wonder you're so bored with it and feel like real life sucks. You need a balance.

BradHummr
BradHummr

"Jonathan Mak of Queasy Games took an existential angle on his rant. The Everyday Shooter developer asked the audience to stand up, then gave out balloons and other party gear, and swapped places with a random member of the audience and asked her to rant--although she said she was perfectly happy and couldn't think of anything to rant about. " Ha ha! That's pretty funny.

PatchMaster
PatchMaster

Oh, you best not be hatin' on my companion cube Clint Hocking! Ha, they should present Daniel James with the "empty bottle award" next year.

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Yeah, I remember last year's rant vividly.

daveg1
daveg1

well hopefully it wasnt all talk and games this year and next will show this.

Sly_Hippo
Sly_Hippo

I completely agree bout real life sucking compared to games. :P lol we need more dragons and stupidly insane sword battles!!!! someone fix it please. and link me to the patch ^_^