My column this week is about how the Ubisoft excuse of “It would cost more to add playable female characters to the game” isn’t as absurd as it sounds. And then I follow up by pointing out there are much better reasons to be mad at them. And I didn’t even bring up Uplay. I hope you appreciate my self-control.
Is it just me, or does it feel like Ubisoft has their developers doing PR and their PR people designing games? The devs are out in front facing the public, and yet their games seem to be ultra-safe, ultra-targeted products where anything resembling a personal touch or a creative spark has been worn away. I’m still working my way up to my big Watch_Dogs rant – and I’ll admit that game probably impacted this column more than it should have – but if I had to sum up the game in one word it would be “sterile”.
I want to stress that I’m not coming at this from a social justice angle. This is about business and creativity. If Straight White Dudegames are really where the safe money is at (and I’m extremely skeptical on this point) then I’m really not going to demand a corporation like Ubisoft to deliberately make less money in order to make things more “fair”. I know some people do. That’s fine. This social justice stuff gets touchy, and in the end we’re all just trying to make the hobby the best it can be.
But like I said in the column, this is a hard thing to test and Ubisoft hasn’t even tried. (Read the article before nitpicking this.) And no matter which way the money goes, Ubisoft is still creatively impotent. Like, even if you can prove that games won’t sell unless the protagonist is a straight white dude, there’s still no excuse for Adrian Pearce, who has less personality than Gordon Freeman’s crowbar and less depth than the Adventure rectangle.
Also, if you don’t read my byline, the title of the article come from this Lost Levels presentation “10 Responsibilities of a Game Developer” by Ric Chivo:
Makes me laugh every time. I’d love to know who was playing Ric Chivo here. The video was by a Justin Hall, and I was able to figure out that the assistant is Sarah Elmaleh. Ric Chivo has a twitter, but I want to know who was playing him.
There's a wonderful way to balance difficulty in RPGs, and designers try to prevent it. For some reason.
A game I love. It has a solid main story and a couple of really obnoxious, cringy, incoherent side-plots in it. What happened here?
Philosophy of Moderation
The comments on most sites are a sewer of hate, because we're moderating with the wrong goals in mind.
Crysis 2 has basically the same plot as Half-Life 2. So why is one a classic and the other simply obnoxious and tiresome?
This Scene Breaks a Character
Small changes to the animations can have a huge impact on how the audience interprets a scene.