Most games aren't good enough, says Total War dev

Creative Assembly lead designer says developers need to make design prototyping a focus, not advancing technological capabilities.

According to Total War Battles: Shogun lead designer Renaud Charpentier, most games today suffer from poor design, and as a result, are not "good enough."

Charpentier thinks most games aren't up to par.

"When you look at the market, probably 20 to 30 per cent of the games are confident, and maybe 60 to 70 per cent are not good enough," Charpentier told Edge in an interview published today. "Usually, they run. Most of them don't crash; most are competent technically. Most of them look okay or even good, but they play like sh**."

Charpentier believes that too many developers do not recognize the positives of prototyping game ideas and gameplay early enough in the design process. The designer stressed that developers need to make design a focus of game development, and not concentrate purely on advancing technological capabilities.

"Their biggest risk is not on the tech, not on the art, it's on the design," he said. "You have to front-load that: it has to drive many of the other decisions. Hopefully that's something we manage to do at Creative Assembly, and that we managed to do with Battles, but it's still something that I think is lacking [in the industry] and it has to change. We can't keep releasing games that anyone can tell are not interesting to play after 30 minutes when 20 or 30 people spent two years working on them. It doesn't make any sense."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

0 comments
benny32
benny32

2 of the worst example of terrible execution on what could have been great games, the sheer quantity of bugs in sleeping dogs and darksiders 2 on the pc. I bought these games after a few weeks of release hoping the issues had been patched and yet there are still big issues. And the basic control system of darksiders 2 is just piss poor.

Vaivod
Vaivod

This is something we have been aware of since a long time. How many times have we [gamers] stated that we could play a game with lower graphics as much as the gameplay keeps us hooked into it for a good average amount of time? I don't even know why developers keep on giving us eye candy. We might love it for a while, but as usual, the illusion will go away fast...

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

Why make a game that's 100% when you can rush it out the door and let players find the problems and then patch it via the internet.

metal_zombie
metal_zombie

Of course they would say that all they know how to make is epic games most other games make them looks like try hards

lordvulcan
lordvulcan

Nothing truer has ever been said about modern games. even the big releases these days are full of bugs that companies expect the end users to test them for them to fix

{see darksiders 2, damned thing keeps crashing, loosing sound effects and music as well as general falling through the level problems at least thats what I encountered}

 

In addition some games that have been released in such a state or are so boring that they make you wonder if they have even been tested at all. Anyone can tell just how much care and attention has been put into a game by playing it for a short period of time. 

csward
csward

Well said Renaud. Finally a dev in the industry is making some sense.

Uesugi-dono
Uesugi-dono

What a crap statement.  When in history have most of the games been great?  Shovelware has always existed and, as long as mega-publishers are around, it always will.

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

There's an echo running through the industry lately, "Nothing is innovative anymore but I'm not willing to do anything about it."

HappyBB
HappyBB

Well said!  Moreover, many of today's game don't deserve the full price they charge for.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

it makes sense in a way. I think a lot of people are starting to stick to familiar gameplay mechanics now and try not to stray away...but thats why its not innovating.

 

Then again, i think the game industry would benefit with embracing smaller budgets and/or selling games back to $50 and the older pricing models that were implemented last gen. i think more studio's will get more freedom to do better things if the pressure of making cod type sales numbers weren't hanging over their heads and gamers can be a little bit more experimental with their game purchases if we don't have to drop $60 on a game that looks intriguing

decoy1978
decoy1978

I actually feel quite strongly about this especially on MMO games. They are interesting for like two weeks and after that I lose interest. I've bought a lot of lemons recently for my console games as well, the latest I can recall was Dungeon Siege III. It was fun for week, but I gave up after that. It just got real boring real fast. 

Killer6b9
Killer6b9

Well if you don't think they are good enough......MAKE one good enough, don't talk smack and do you're job!!!

 

colekhoo
colekhoo

Gameplay quality is what these new games are lacking.

tanerb
tanerb

Finally someone saying the truth

lebman69
lebman69

Invest time in lore and mechanics to make the game enjoyable. Eye candy shouldn't be the only thing needed for a game. Everything that comes out looks good  but really sucks donkey balls

soheil_m
soheil_m

Yeah I agree with that too , some dev spend a lot of times and money and in the end the game looks like sh**t !! It's really a waste of time sometimes , and sometimes a waste of a very perfect idea !!

xloub
xloub

Mafia >(x1000) Mafia 2

pcostix
pcostix

When I look to my shelf and watch my games, It saddens how my older games are better than the new ones(not the graphics of course).

 

Mass Effect 1>Mass Effect 3, Crysis1>Crysis2,Farcry>Farcry2,

Dragon Age> Dragon Age2,FF7,8,9>FF10,12,13etc...

 

Over 100 games only a few have sequels better than its predecessors, still Total War games have improved in my opinion.(Medieval<Shogun)

 

halobolola
halobolola

True some games are not good enough, for example, i have total war:shogun 2, and i have never played it, as i thought it was a bad idea for a game.

system3142
system3142

For once I completely agree. The tactile nature of the way a game plays should be the principle mechanic around which the entire project is based. Currently, only racing games seem to aspire to a certain level of control resolution alongside some of the multiplayer titles. Single player characters should be fun to control!

tightwad34
tightwad34

Why do all these devs think there are all these problems with the industry? I mean we got people saying games aren't creative enough, big budget games are on the way out, etc... I mean the devs certainly know more than we do, but I just don't see it. I guess I should just be happy they are trying to make us happy(most of them, at least). If all this outcry will make the industry better, then good move. If not, then just shut it and follow up on what you are whining about.

NoDzombie
NoDzombie

i would agree with this guy, probably around 80% of games released i dont even think about buying because i can see that they dont look good just from gameplay videos

 

then of the games i do buy, probably around half of those i end up being disappointed with and trading in before i even finish them

SpazldNinjaDude
SpazldNinjaDude

CA you just get it...Now release Rome 2 in it's current state and just patch it...that is the only time I will ever say that! Can't wait for Rome 2!

Deano
Deano

well there's alot of games on the market, you can't really cut it anymore with an average game when there's almost a few getting released every week. probably 90% of games released I don't even consider.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Smart guy, I agree.  Prototyping and testing to see if your concept's workable and fun is very important.  It's no use spending time adding polish and visual and technical bells and whistles to a gameplay design that's mediocre or even flat out sucks.

 

The baseline experience should be good.

jhonel83
jhonel83

 @Uesugi-dono

 I disagree! Maybe I was younger, but in the 98-2002 year period I was enjoying every damn game that came out. Look up 2011-2012 -you have 3 or 4 notable PC games. I could name more from a single quarter back then, not to mention that most games were masterpieces -they keep making sequels to those games even today

jhonel83
jhonel83

 @jsmoke03

The price is not really an issue. Bad marketing strats like not allowing you to play unless logged, bad dlc, day 1 patches ARE

jhonel83
jhonel83

 @decoy1978

 You played Dungeon Siege 3 for a week? Lol, that game is SOOO bad! How did you get the patience to do that?

Kataphract
Kataphract

 @Killer6b9

 I assume you're directing "MAKE one good enough, don't talk smack and do you're job!!!" towards the Total War dev team?Don't know what planet you're living on, but they and SEGA make awesome games.

jhonel83
jhonel83

 @pcostix

 Most agree that Rome is the best in series, followed by Medieval 2. But I won't argue tastes now.

csward
csward

 @tightwad34 There is a problem guy. I understand that you may be new to gaming or casual and can't see that, but we are being bent over for shovelware in many cases. Same goes for the movie industry really.

pound-u
pound-u

 @tightwad34

 Uh, because there IS a problem. I am glad some developers have the balls to speak. All we see these days are sequel after sequel.

Liferipper
Liferipper

 @NoDzombie

 I always look at gameplay videos and the like. And today I can usual tell a mill away if it's something want.

Also I think there should ALWAYS be a demo available. And of resonable length and quality.

jhonel83
jhonel83

 @SpazldNinjaDude

 I felt the same about Sword of the Stars 2. And guess what? They released it unfinished (rofl)-now, nearly 2 years later it's still not playable, not even close. Mostly because patches conflict with eachother, save games, options, custom maps and common sense in general.

Please don't support that kind of unproffessional attitude. Please.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

while i disregard most of them myself, i totally disagree with your point about alot of games being produced nowadays.   There are a fraction of the companies around that were producing games 10-20 years ago.

 

and those games were more fun to play and didnt require patching.  We have just come to live in an age of crap.

jhonel83
jhonel83

 @Kataphract  @Killer6b9

 Agreed, I can't count how many nights I've lost over Total War games. And that was even before I've tried the multiplayer!

halobolola
halobolola

 @TigusVidiks

 Well i played the tutorial, and then 1 game after, and i knew it was not what i wanted to keep playing.

jhonel83
jhonel83

 @pound-u  @tightwad34

 It doesn't take balls to poke at that competition. Imo it's a move to slander some other big company, don't give the article so much credit

SpazldNinjaDude
SpazldNinjaDude

 @jhonel83 Oh no...I don't want them to actually do it. But I just really want to play the game. This may be confusing but, I want it unfinished to play it, but I don't want it unfinished because it will be broken. Soo...I will just wait. And be patient.

SpazldNinjaDude
SpazldNinjaDude

 @MidNightStrikes I know, which is why I said this is the only time I will say it, I don't mind patches, but buying something unfinished will be 3Gb patches often is bad, but I just want to play Rome 2 soo bad! My most anticipated game.

jhonel83
jhonel83

 @Crush_Project

 The companies that were around 20 years ago are still there -they just merged (I used the term loosely, read as "forced","bought", "rammed") into the mammoths known as EA, Activision, Blizzard and so forth. The name is there, just the talent is lacking 

Deano
Deano

 @Crush_Project   you just need to look at the gamespot reviews to see how many games come out. last week there were 8 games released over all the console systems. That isn't counting the smaller indie developers/arcade titles that were released as well. there's alot more smaller indie developers because they can distribute over the internet digitally as opposed to only the large developers that use to exist. If you don't call 8+ games a week alot, then I don't know what is

halobolola
halobolola

Because i own a game but dont play it, i should give it away?

Thats just stupid.