Pullquotes: "This game is a new IP" - Ubisoft on AC3
CVG recently interviewed Alex Hutchinson, the new Creative Director for Assassin's Creed 3. While the full article has a bit of interesting discussion in relation to Assassin's Creed 3's production, Alex Hutchinson did have a few interesting things to say about Japanese games in general.
For context, the following quotes stemmed from being asked why Nintendo seems to get it right when releasing new editions of the same franchise each year.
"I think there's a subtle racism in the business, especially on the journalists' side, where Japanese developers are forgiven for doing what they do."
I haven't really seen this. However, I've seen Japanese developed games critiqued for their flaws. I'm not sure what relevant video game journalist makes posts about Japanese developed games in which narrative and design flaws are forgiven solely on the fact they're from Japan. I kind of feel this is both insulting and condescending to both game journalists and Japanese developers.
"Just think about how many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish. Literally gibberish. There's no way you could write it with a straight face, and the journalists say 'oh it is brilliant'."
While I find some Japanese developed games do possess some convoluted stories, to say they're incomprehensible is a completely different thing. With the source of these quotes being about Nintendo, I really can't even think of a Nintendo franchise that has a completely unintelligible story. Nintendo keeps it pretty simple, in my opinion, and that is one of the reasons they have been able to pull off each iteration of their franchises.
"...Gears of War comes out and apparently it's the worst written narrative in a game ever. I'll take Gears of War over Bayonetta any time."
To me, Gears of War felt like B-grade Sci-Fi war movie, in terms of narrative. Control-wise, I felt like I was controlling a large meat-tank. Said meat-tank needed to take cover behind conveniently placed chest-high walls, so I could kill all the dudes and move on to the next set piece. I did not come out of this experience thinking "Well this was fun and a great experience."
I wasn't a fan of Bayonetta, either what with it's weird story, time-travel, hair suit craziness, but I found the controls far more fluid and enjoyable.
It doesn't help Gear's case either, when Chuck Beaver, Story Producer (and not video game journalist!) for Dead Space, believes it's "literally the worst writing in games."
I feel like Alex Hutchinson believes that a narrative is what makes or breaks a game. While a good story is important, controls, mechanics, et. al. are just as vital. You could have a game with a great story, but terrible controls and you could rest assured that your game will not be as well received (Deadly Premonition). He also seems to be perpetuating the whole "Us vs. Them" (Western vs. Eastern) mentality towards game design and I think that type of thinking is a hindrance in the long run. I think both "sides" have a lot to learn from one another.
While this doesn't change my opinion towards Ubisoft or Assassin's Creed, it does, I think, highlight that some of our game developers are somewhat out of sync with the industry as a whole.
You know... I didn't even have to get into how Alex Hutchinson has the idea that Assassin's Creed 3 is a new IP. Oops.
With that said, I open the floor to you, Polynauts. What are your thoughts?