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February 26, 2009

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On my way home I thought of a question I wished I had asked.

What are your thoughts on the impact of influence? I'm Generation Y ('84) and grew up playing everything between Jazz Jackrabbit and Gears of War 2. I've 'punished' myself with everything from 60 hour RPGs to countless hours of Counter-Strike and countless months of Ultima Online. The most popular games played by Gen Y right now are games like FC2, GoW, Fallout 3, etc. I think a lot of people want to enter the industry with dreams of making these unforgiving hardcore games that are a product of Gen X, but which they grew up with nonetheless. I guess I'm just a cynic and think we're in for a few more decades of games made by people who have no moral objections to WoW and believe God of War is genuinely challenging/fun.

Well, the fact that I'm writing this as a Gen Y soon-to-be game designer myself only supports your ideas and actually does give me hope. I'm sure there must be people like me who grew up with games and have since become dissatisfied. Somewhere?

Thanks for the great lecture the other night. I wonder if some parallels could be drawn between Board Game design and Video Game design with regards to their culturally driven evolution? Can we find lessons from the Board Game history that could be applied to Video Game development? Also, with Xbox live hosting digitized versions of great board games like Carcassone or Ticket to Ride, where does the line between those games and true school computer games lie?
All these questions, and more, will be knocking around in my head... I'll get back to you.

Best, George

No problem Clint, I could tell you were quite busy. It was nice meeting you, albeit briefly.

Clint?! We might have met back in the Chaos Theory days or Double Agent, hell you might have been involved in Essential too yet thats not the main focus of this post.

Clint, Please get rid of the " I kick your ass" button system. I tried telling Tremblay, Ofoe and didnt get through to Daot, yet no one gives a damn what their testers say. When it bugs, it'll anger gamers. If i really want to knock someone out, ill punch him out 1-2-3 combo IF he spotted me, maybe even a takedown, whatever, better than a late knockout hit after taking a few shots.

Splinter Cell just doesn't feel rewarding: No Bosses, no Video logs, no hidden weapons, no in-game wink at the creators, nothing to really show us Sam Fisher evolving as a character, that 2 faction meter in SC4 should have been scrapped since the 2 ending thing was a trend back in the ps2 days, there's just many many things that haven't evolved in splinter cell and could potentially make it a bigger franchise.

You have to promise me that you guys will find ways to integrate better storytelling to this franchise. Screw the 30 minutes cutscenes from MGS and screw the computer intels since they can easily be missed.


Im counting on you.

Hey Clint, great talk as usual, I know a number of public speakers who could learn a thing or two from your style...

Popped open Saturday's Gazette to find an article in the Working section you might find interesting: http://tinyurl.com/ah5hmr

It covers the same Boomer-GenX-GenY dynamic you were addressing, from the perspective of an industry that's perhaps a few decades older than our own. There might not be a 1:1 mapping of ideas, but a few quotes stuck out:

"In the end, she says, 'the Ys told us they were so happy to learn why the baby boomers were so conservative and why Gen X didn't want to share information with them.'" (I picture Mr. Durden here.)

"For [Gen Y], it's just another way of learning. They're really focused on their development. They want to continue to grow and learn. At the same time, they have an amazing sense of community and friendship. Families are smaller, with fewer siblings, so friends are important when growing up."

Hope you find the article interesting (once you cut through the PR lingo), and perhaps beneficial for future rants.

Oh, and remind me to ask you some time about what you think of the future of procedural generation, beyond skyboxes and vegetation patterns; whether the future of immersion is going to move towards a content-heavy---and thus necessarily procedurally-driven---series of "episodes," unique and (maybe) customisable, at the expense of the much larger, monolithic narratives generally dominant in games today. How's that for a run-on sentence...

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