Dishonored Dev: “It’s Been A Poor, Poor Five Years for Fiction in the Industry”

Dishonored visual design director Viktor Antonov believes the video game industry is suffering from a lack of variety and overabundance of sequels.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Antonov said:

“It’s been a poor, poor five years for fiction in the video game industry. There have been too many sequels, and too many established IPs that have been ruling the market. And a lot of them are war games. And they’re great projects and great entertainment, but there’s a lack of variety today.”

Hear, hear. Antonov went on to explain how this lack of variety prevents new genres from being established, as anything that doesn’t fit the mold is compared to another title rather than a category of game. He said:

“So, when you step out of this established genre, people cannot grasp it, or the press tries to find a match. There’s a place for thousands of different sub-genres and genres. Imagine the times when you were in the ’40s and there were Westerns in Hollywood cinema: there were so many of them that none will be compared with another one, because there was a genre.”

For this reason, Antonov finds himself likening Dishonored to BioShock:

“We’re doing a historical piece, a retro-futuristic piece, which has pretty much nothing to do with BioShock except for the fact that it doesn’t take place in the far future, but has references to the past. And, unfortunately, BioShock and Dishonored are the only two games that go into that fiction for the past – how many years?

“So, lack of variety in what’s in the market leads to associations like this. There should be more historical realistic worlds out there. And too bad there are not; I was expecting there to be 20 games like this.”

Antonov finished with a rousing call to action for developers:

“I’m extremely happy of where technology has gone. But artists and art directors should make their own life a little bit harder by pushing management to take more artistic risks, and use the technology to a better, higher level. That’s what I’ve been doing and suffering by – I’ve been spending as much time creating, as convincing the people who are financing games how important it is.

“Games should sort of split up and specialize and assume that there’s such a thing as genre, and they shouldn’t try to please everybody at the same time and try to make easy, diluted projects. Let’s go for intensity and quality.”

I’m all for greater variety, but establishing a new genre seems at odds with that statement — how does one create greater variety by developing multiple games that will fall into one new genre?


via GI International

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6 Comments on Dishonored Dev: “It’s Been A Poor, Poor Five Years for Fiction in the Industry”

Robert

On July 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm

He’s saying the thing that many are realizing. Call of duty must die..

user

On July 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm

And yet you can’t eat the game. Talk about lack of variety. sheesh.

JB

On July 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Call of Duty games don’t really need to die as much as they need to be spaced out more and feature some drastic innovation. I don’t get how people buy the same game every year and not get sick of paying for a clone. I think over the last 5 years i bought world at war, MW2, and am now playing BF3 yet in that time there has probably been about 10-15 military fps games released. It would be nice to see some fantasy or science fiction settings in some of these games. I also wish more quality RPGs would be released but it seems like the industry is moving away from traditional western rpgs.

SevenCell

On July 20, 2012 at 1:54 am

Obviously, Call of Duty must be eradicated. However, I would disagree with the statement that fiction is suffering: Look at Mass Effect. Look at Assassins’ Creed. Look at Far Cry 3 in a few months. Look at Saints’ Row 3, for God’s sake. In the right places, writing is going from strength to strength.

wallydog1

On July 21, 2012 at 8:48 am

SevenCell, you are proving him right. If you read what he said, he said there have been too many sequals. Too many of the same IP’s.. Every game you mentioned is a sequal, not to mention not all that hot of story either. Mass Effect started strong and ended with a wimper. AC has never been about the story. It’s way out in left field, as it’s the game play that’s the draw. Far cry 3, now that I’m interested to see how it pans out.
What he’s saying is that there haven’t been any new and interesting games coming out. It’s all about the money and that seems to mean taking less risks. To work off known franchises.

CatmanStu

On July 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm

After a statement like that Dishonored better have a bloody good story or he’s going to look like a right hypocrite. (Wouldn’t that be a shock; a developer making hypocritical statements when pushing a new release.)
Regarding the statements themselves; I agree with what I think the final paragraph is saying.
Games, unlike any medium that has come before, has the unique power of audience choice. Not just binary, decision based choices such as the ones every RPG and their dog gives you these days, but also the the decision in how the experience is presented. If you compare Deus Ex to a movie genre then depending on how you play it you could have an Expendables style, balls to the walls action flick; a Bond style subtle, smooth talker with action beats; or a Clancy-esqe stealthy espionage thriller. (Admittedly these are exagerations but if games reach their narrative potential then they needn’t be)
Stylistic genres will always be necessary as writers and artists need visual and cultural jumping off points, but enforced pacing is a crutch that holds back games from being the truly unique form of entertainment they can be.