EA Exec: "Our Games Are Too Hard To Learn"

Plus, Shadow of Mordor director says he thinks we'll see more and more games with RPG systems in the future.

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Tonight at the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, Electronic Arts chief creative officer Richard Hilleman spoke about how video games today are often too hard to learn for new players.

"Our games are actually still too hard to learn," Hilleman said during during an on-stage interview with other developers. "The average player probably spends two hours to learn how to play the most basic game."

"And asking for two hours of somebody's time--most of our customers, between their normal family lives...to find two contiguous hours to concentrate on learning how to play a video game is a big ask," he added.

Hilleman's comments came in response to a statement from interviewer Pete Holmes, the comedian, who said he would prefer that controller layouts and button maps stay the same for future installments in established series and even across franchises.

Also on-stage for the interview was Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor design director Michael de Plater, who said he thinks we'll see more and more games adopt RPG systems in the future.

"Every game is an RPG now," he said. "You wouldn't make a game without progression and levels and XP. And I think every game is going to be a social game...good ideas propagate."

What do you make of the comments from Hilleman and de Plater? Let us know in the comments below!

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PaulusAlone

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Y'know you could apply that same comment: "our games are still too hard to learn" to just about any game from Chess to Monopoly or from Poker to American Football for God's sake!

If you already have the intelligence to setup your console or computer then nothing in any videogame will take you 2 hours to learn...

Now the mastery of a game is a different subject - That will (and should) take you hours!

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Xmayne93

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"Every game is an RPG now," he said. "You wouldn't make a game without progression and levels and XP..."

Uh, no, that's actually incorrect. There is still a huge market for the TONS of games that aren't RPGs. Seriously, there are more non-RPG games than RPG games. What the hell is this guy talking about?

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Xmayne93

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Of course this was said by an executive who probably rarely plays video games. Nice try, but games have gotten WAY easier, actually. If you find that gaming is too complicated and it takes you two hours to learn how to run around and shoot a gun, then maybe gaming isn't for you? Or maybe that particular game isn't for you? It's really not that hard of a concept to grasp.


I love how this executive said the exact opposite of what is true. It's bizarre, really.

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yourbadopinions

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Yes Dice, your games are 'too hard', better just completely make them all effortless lock-on crutch garbage from now on. Who cares about competition or skill?

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KingFish1984

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"he thinks we'll see more and more games with RPG systems in the future."

Oh no please... please I can see it now... running up to someone on the battlefield and having a final fantasy style meter pop up is not the way to go.

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Ronaldo_Lopes

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Shut up. That's never gonna happen.

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oflow

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I'm actually surprised that more game developers havent gone in the other direction and made more games with zero instructions or handholding.

I would love to see a huge sandbox RPG game with mechanics sort of like Journey (sound, physical and visual queues as the main mechanics) that gives you basically no instructions and you have to figure your way thru it,

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Delston

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Go play battletoads on NES and then come back an tell me Battlefield is too hard...sissies..

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oflow

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<< LINK REMOVED >> well the good thing is battletoads is probably coming to X1 in the future :P

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twisted_outlaw

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too hard to learn. ffs. when will indie devs start making badass FPS? H-hour is my most looked forward to game in years. I can't wait to play alpha.

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oflow

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<< LINK REMOVED >> even if an indie made a great FPS, BF & CoD would still suck the majority of ppl in because they sell on marketing and brand recognition, which the indies cant match. The indie game that does it will be an anamoly not a norm (like Valve games) and when they actually do it most sell out to big corporate interests and stop being indie. (See Blizzard)

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twisted_outlaw

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> The indie scene is huge and growing rapidly.

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DuaneDog

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I agree games will adopt RPG elements but as far as EA games being 'too hard to learn'? That kind of logic worries me as I'm tired of games that spend four hours trying to walk you with baby steps to learn each and every part of the game before you get any sort of challenge. In the least I want game developers to stick with offering difficultly levels so we can choose not to have the hand holding carebear gameplay some hold dear.


EA games too hard to learn? Is he being sarcastic?

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Chippiez

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People love to deny, but this is somewhat the truth for some core franchises. Madden, which is arguably their biggest cash cow, akin to Microsoft's Office apps, is insanely complicated for a casual to pick up and play decently without sinking hundred of hours. Yet Madden requires casuals to buy the game because there are not enough *hardcore* fans to sell to (less than 1/8th of Madden copies are bought by "core" users). Casuals buy it, and get frustrated because there are so many actions tied to so many buttons. There is a place for games that are "easy to pick up, but hard to master", Those games, like Tetris, have simple interfaces and controls, yet have legs to keep on going, and going, and going and going. Conversely, RPG games like Dragon Age, which has myriad different "systems" does not usually appeal to casuals, therefore making oversimplification of the game systems and controls unnecessary. It varies from game to game based on the target demo. Peace out, mofos.

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Xmayne93

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I played Madden at a friend's house for basically the first time a couple months ago, and understood the mechanics within a few minutes. It's really not that hard. Also, part of the fun of a game is learning how to play it. If you don't find any of that fun and think it's all too complicated, then video games aren't for you.

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twisted_outlaw

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Not really. Madden is pretty pickup and play. Problem is, the game is horrible and inconsistent, and the controls are awful.

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Ultric

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SO
I PUT CLICKY MOUSE BUTTON

ON BAD MANS

BRAIN HURT.

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Skalponesis

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EA moron: "Our Games Are Too Hard To Learn. I still haven't figured out how to start them, so many buttons, makes my head hurt."

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Epyx911

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Wow...as an older gamer (42) who lived through Trip Hawkins era, which was arguably EA at its finest...I can say without hesitation that this exec has absolutely NO connection to the wide and varied gamer demographic. Sometimes you wonder where they get these guys from? They are executives, likely with an MBA from somewhere prestigious...they likely worked for companies selling widgets but they have absolutely NO gaming knowledge and are usually not gamers themselves.

Just as Anita has done these execs lump all gamers into one category...one way of thinking...one way of marketing...

Wow...just wow.

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bigruss51

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

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Glasscut32

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EA Exec as EA moron.. Are you serious go ahead ea make a stupid game and see if you make stupid money which you will = no money.. Ridiculous games are too hard.. Okay when games like metal gear solid can make millions with the new casual millenials what makes this exec even spread her lips and vomit those words.. Good luck EA you will end up where radioshack just ended up..

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DigThat32

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EA has always assumed their consumers to be morons. Now that they know none of their words/actions have any impact on sales/bottom line, they're not afraid to publicly vocalize it.

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TheMoD1234

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How can they have such a distorted view of this? It is ridiculous. I'm personally not a huge fan of the dark souls series but I'm so glad it exists because it reminded publishers of something that they seem to have forgotten about 10 years ago. The fact that people who buy videogames aren't complete morons with an attention span of about 2 seconds. There were times when games told you almost nothing about how to play them. You had to figure out most of it, or even everything yourself. They trusted that you would maybe, oh I don't know, try pushing the buttons on your controller and see what they do?

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velcroboy

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Almost 400 comments and not one person agrees with this statement. Come back to reality EA, or get the fk out.

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jenovaschilld

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EA- "Our games are actually still too hard to learn," Hilleman said during during an on-stage interview with other developers. "The average player probably spends two hours to learn how to play the most basic game."

GROANNNNNNNN.... this makes my prostate hurt.

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AyatollaofRnR

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"Our games are actually still too hard to learn" Let me guess Anita Sarkeesian told you that when you brought her in to consult for you


At some point you have to accept a certain barrier of entry or sacrifice complexity of gameplay.

If you are completely new to games then any 3D game presents the challenge of navigating a 3D environment using dual sticks. Once you pick this up you have a foundation to play most modern games.


If you play one shooter you'll have a grasp on the necessary basics for most shooters.


There is absolutely no need for two contiguous hours of play to learn a game. Most tutorials last < one hour. You can come to grips with the game more fully in successive levels.


Seriously EA, get a grip.

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RobDev

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<< LINK REMOVED >> what on earth does she have to do with anything?

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AyatollaofRnR

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Well she's part of the new wave of critics railing against the core-gaming market. Gamers are dead etc.


The notion that games are to hard to learn for new players is a silly notion that publishers get about dumbing down their games so that a mythical audience of casuals will play them. Who does EA think they are selling games like Battlefield and Dragon Age to?



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kenryk01

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Perhaps a Pong remake would suit your average consumer.

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simuseb2

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Yelp. Looks like EA's going even further down the drain.


Dear god, they might as well just make video games play themselves if they are too hard.

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bigruss51

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Isn't that where it's at right now? So sad

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HailToTheGun

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We've been seeing RPG systems in games for over 20 years. Nothing new.

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Jonnyboy696969

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Social features? Like, uh Destiny? Please dear Zeus, NOOO. I don't want to chit chat when playing a single player game. I don't want crap dumbed down because some fool thinks it's "too hard" to read or experiment. If you don't have two hours to learn a game you shouldn't really be playing games. You're just a casual at that point and should be playing IOS and Android games. I don't need XP or achievements or levels or "statistical" progression. I just need a "sense" of progression. A sense of character growth, of story growth, of lore growth. I want to affect things in my game world, possibly affect the outcome. I could care less abot +250 XP and congratulations you hit level 3.

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bobbo888

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EA doesn't give a shit about anything but numbers. They lop a bunch of people into some BS internet survey and that's how they get their numbers. How about you just make a game YOU like EA? If every developer started doing what the consumer wanted, every developer would eventually be the same.

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BattleStarX

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I'm not entirely sure what to say here. Games are hard now-a-days? Way too hard? Must I dig out my ol' NES? There's a reason the Nintendo Hard phrase exists.

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joehendrey

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"You wouldn't make a game without progression and levels and XP. And I think every game is going to be a social game...good ideas propagate."

Yeah, because extrinsic reward systems are exactly what we need more of. Why bother with anything actually worthwhile when you can just appeal to animal instinct?

Many RPG elements are only fun in the same way that pokie machines are. Just because many people get addicted to something, does not make it good.

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nurnberg

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The only thing EA cares about is for the dumb players to be capable of entering their credit card number to buy DLC.

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oflow

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adding EA games to my dont buy list as of now.

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yashazare

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Hilleman said during during an on-stage interview... you typed during twice! good job Mr. Editor

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deactivated-5b1fecf308e18

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'EA: It's in the game!'


..... What?,.... DLC !!
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deactivated-5ecec65061e12

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It's this kind of thinking that butchered three of my favourite franchises. One of them is temporarily deceased, another has become a Skyrim/MMO wannabe and the other turned away from the RPG genre and tried to appeal to the shooter crowd (which, unfortunately, was very successful).

There's nothing wrong with taking away frustration. But the moment you start gutting huge features that no one asked to be cut, you're treading on dangerous ground. I remember playing through Mass Effect 3 and choosing one dialogue option throughout an entire conversation - on 'RPG mode'. I was dumbfounded.

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CrouchingWeasel

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Just what gaming needs, another idiot championing the further dumbing down of games.

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holifeet

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Idiotic comments like this are probably why EA is screwing up so much. Part of the fun of games, Mr Hillman, is learning them and discovering all they have to offer. When I first jumped in to Dying Light I was awful at it. I'd fall off walls, I'd miss jump after jump and I couldn't kill a zombie if it prostrated at my feet. But, you know what, I worked on it and I found that Dying Light is a wonderful game full of great features.


If EA start to limit the scope of their games then they're going to have even more people begging for them to up their act. But, you know, given the last year's efforts from EA, would it be too bad if they fell of the radar?


I found this article because a friend suggested my hopes for Star Wars Battlefront might have taken a hit. You better not screw that up, EA. Of course shooting a storm trooper in the face is the hardest thing since rocket science! Isn't it?


Do these execs even play their games?

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deactivated-5b1fecf308e18

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

'

'I'd fall off walls, I'd miss jump after jump and I couldn't kill a zombie if it prostrated at my feet '


Congrats, you learnt to move around, jump with R1 and hit with R2. Baby steps

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holifeet

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I use a keyboard (I'm a real gamer ;p), but my point was that it's not hard to learn these games even if you start bad. It's not as dire as an EA exec seems to believe it is.

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Barighm

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Oh, great. Another PC elitist. Your point just became invalid.

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holifeet

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I was joking. I had to to relax my brain because apparently the games are too hard on PC. An EA exec told me so.

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TheGreatGhoul

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Games are getting better theses days because they add more rpg and evolution features.

Peoples want to feel that they are going somewhere and that they are getting results for their work, they want to grow stronger in a game.

RPG elements are very important and are one of the pillar of evolution of the video game industry.


There is new gamers everyday of course but they are not all retarded and those who have been playing video games for quite sometime know the drill.

So don't say games are too hard to learn or too complexe for the community, its a big nasty lie or a lack of jugement.

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