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Levine Is Trusting You

Two things bothered me about this video.
  1. GTtv's directing of this clip is such a slashed together chain of video clips and developer interviews that reeks of enough clique to turn my stomach.
  2. But, more importantly:
  3. (Designer and Irrational CEO) Ken Levine says, with some hesitation, "I trust gamers, and that's the thing - is that I think that a lot of game developers are like, 'I have to manage every single moment of a gameplay experience.' But I think that gamers want to do- the fact that gamers are a part of that gameplay experience is really important and that's what it's all about: to give the players more choices of what they can do in the world, what he does, and how he does it."



This bothers me because, Levine's right, a lot of developers don't trust gamers. They develop crappy, derivative, simple games because they don't trust gamers to know what to do with anything better. Gamers in general, it is these developers belief and/or experience, are total knobs. Thus, they develop games for knobs.

In developing BioShock, Levine is giving gamers more credit than that. He's developed a game that is an incredible experience and has deep, creative game play mechanics. It seems likely (as I have not yet played this game for myself) that BioShock will be at the level all games should be if they weren't developed for total knobs.

Levine is trusting gamers, but will this trust pay off?

Lets say that, despite all the apparent hype surrounding the game, its sales do not meet expectations. BioShock, if it is considered a failure, pretty much sends the message to Levine that all those other developers were right. That the gaming public, in general, is the total knobs that those developers believe them to be.

The bigger a budget a game uses, the more total knobs you need to support it. Perhaps, in the end, the true gaming connoisseurs - defined as somebody looking for something really neat that they can sink their teeth into as opposed to playing any old crap they can find on the market - might be relegated to small budget niche titles. True works of art, oddly enough, seem to be noticed by the next generation more than the current. It's unfortunate for computer games, then, that the next generation can't run them anymore.

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