Are Angry Fans Really Ruining Video Games?

Josh Olin, Community Manager at Call of Duty: Black Ops developers Treyarch, thinks that "pundits" and "angry entitled fans" are ruining creativity in video games. They're not.

In an interview with NowGamer, Olin - who admittedly must wade knee-deep through stupid questions from assholes as part of his job - says the following:

Personally, as a community manager who lives in the media or social media world every day, I think the social culture of video games is moving in a more negative direction as technology and social media continues to grow. Rather than growing with it, the trend seems to be devolving. More and more gamers seem to forget what this industry is all about.

It's a creative industry – the most creative form of entertainment in existence. Too many developers who try new things are getting burned by "pundits" and angry entitled fans who look to be contrarian, sometimes simply for the sake of being contrarian. The only thing this attitude aims to achieve is stunt that creativity and innovation even further, which is something that no rational gamer looking to be entertained would want to do.

He's right about the sentiment that's out there. The kind of people who actively comment as part of a video game community are, sadly, often prone to focus on the negatives, and can often be quite rude when doing so. It's enough to get a man down and make him think the world is out to get him.

But to say that's the reason creativity is being stunted? Come on. Haters Gonna Hate, Josh! If a video game developer designs its games according to the whims of the squeaky wheels, then it deserves to have its creativity stunted, because true innovation takes guts.

The audience doesn't know what it wants before it has it. It never asked for Ico, or Katamari Damacy, or Deus Ex, or BioShock ahead of time. Those games were dropped on them, from creative developers who weren't afraid to roll the dice and take a few risks, and became much-loved classics because of that.

If developers listened to only the whiniest, most vocal fans barraging them with ideas, our video games would look like the car Homer Simpson designed: perfect in that amateur's mind, but a monstrosity for everyone else.

So Josh, let the complainers complain! They're not the ones designing video games for a living.

Black Ops: First Strike DLC - Treyarch Interview [NowGamer][image credit]


Comments

    While there is a lot of innovation and creativity going on in the games industry, I'd have to question just how much of it is actually happening in the COD team(s) over at Activision/Treyarch.

      I honestly can't tell the difference between Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2 from what I've seen of my brother playing them both. Except that Blops has Sam Worthington...

      I second that.

      While Modern Warfare wasnt a gem for innovative design, it at least felt fresh (to me anyway). Black Ops has very much felt like a step backward, with the exception of zombies - and that probably only because I've never played World at War.

      The most striking example I can think of is actually in the campaign. Throughout the game up 'til a specific sequence (avoiding spoilers here), the game plays out entirely in first person. From the interrogation, to the killing of Castro - and then suddenly you're ripped out and you get to see yourself walking around. It suddenly felt like I was playing an action gamefrom the '90s, primarily because that sequence was done so badly. Besides suddenly using a 3rd person perspective, the sequence adds very little to the narrative of the story.

      If Modern Warfare got negative press for creating a negative image of the Russians, at least I could understand why they invaded in that scenario, and why everyone was fighting. In Black Ops, you're just a crazed American who's had his mind twisted by those 'evil' Russians. If they're saying that that's an appropriate metaphor for the Cold War, I can kind of understand. But that's the only way that makes any sense to me.

      Otherwise, it's just an excuse to have an American soldier gun down countless Vietnamese without issue.

        Ah thankyou! Someone else that was equally disturbed but the sudden shift from 1st person! That moment instantly destroyed any scrap of integrity the game still had for me

      "I’d have to question just how much of it is actually happening in the COD team(s) over at Activision/Treyarch."

      ESPECIALLY them, since they've got the golden goose of Activision in their hands... kind of funny that the people complaining about stifled creativity are the ones pumping out "Call of Duty: This Year's Release" titles.

    "the most creative form of entertainment in existence"

    PPPPpppffffffffffffttt

    Yeah, good one.

      Potentially, video games unquestionably are “the most creative form of entertainment in existence”, and there have been numerous games which I think hold true to this. To quote Raymond Muzyka of Bioware, “…games are one of the most powerful forms of art, because you’re the director of the experience, the actor at the centre of the experience, and you can also be the co-creator of the experience with user-generated content tools. What other form of art allows you to do that?” I believe this says exactly why games can be the most creative form of entertainment.

        Wow... Brave call. Here's a thought, have you ever heard of this old media, it's called books. Considering how many Books are turned into Movies + Games, and considering how lots of the titles coming out this year - especially for the PS3's huge year of games are all [Franchise] [insert version here] I think you either live in a hole on mars with blinkers on and fingers in your ears OR, you're just not all that bright.

    Just take a look at the Blizzard forums. Theres an argument going on between those who want the game to be difficult and challenging, and those who believe that since they pay money, they are entitled to be able to access and complete all content without committing time or effort or even learning the game.

    Just take a look at the blue post trackers.

      i can kind of understand this from a MMO point of view

      as someone who no longer has the time to raid endlessly with other theres alot of high end content that ill quite simply never play nor complete because of it.

      be kinda nice to have a story mode type thing so it's achieveable with a bunch of drunk mate's who know what there doing but aren't running around in the maximum most gear possible

      and not have it give you a reward

      but at the same time i've seen people bitch that they should be given a special piece of headwear because they didn't log in during 2010 halloween.

      i'm sorry for something that required a log in to get you don't get to complain

        "i can kind of understand this from a MMO point of view

        as someone who no longer has the time to raid endlessly with other theres alot of high end content that ill quite simply never play nor complete because of it."

        Ok, that sucks for you, but it doesn't mean that the industry should change because it is no longer perfect for you.

        I mean I think snowboarding looks fun, but I don't have the time to learn how to do it. Does that mean that snowboarding hills should put a snowboard on a rail that I can ride so I can get the experience of snowboarding without having to invest the time to learn? Hell no.

        The world's not perfect. If you don't have time to play games anymore, then you don't have time. Period. Go see a movie or do something else. Don't ask the industry to cater to you and thus end up inhibiting others.

          Which is why I suggested something along the lines of a story mode something that lets one play it as if it was a movie

          With no rewards it inhibits no one,

          The mmo raid was an example I don't have time to raid anymore because I chose to do things like go outside.

          My point was more that in some circumstances it is a semi reasonable request.

          More often than not though the people who are botching want the same reward( ie gear rep and what not) as the person who raids nightly.

          I have plenty of time for video games just don't like having to do the same things a million times over to progress because someone wot let you raid unless you have a lvl 90 e peen

    "The kind of people who actively comment as part of a video game community are, sadly, often prone to focus on the negatives, and can often be quite rude when doing so"

    Are we talking about Yahtzee here? It sounds like we're talking about Yahtzee.

      I dont think hes talking about Yahtzee but he should listen to his advice...

      "Fans are clingy complaining dipshits who will never ever be grateful for any concession you make. The moment you shut out their shrill, tremulous voices the happier you will be for it."

      No I don't think he is. Everyone knows Yahtzee has a particular comedic style.

      All the joking aside, he loves the true potential of games - which is something we have only seen mere glimmers of in gaming so far. And is why its so frustrating when most games continue to be creatively bankrupt by-the-numbers rubbish, they need to be called out for what they are so we can hopefully strive for something better one day

    If developers want to be creative, a sequel will always limit them to producing something like the previous game. He thinks he is being stiffled yet he was making the 7th game in the francise of COD.

    I can't help but think the almighty dollar plays a part in "ruining creativity in video games".

    Seriously, as a gamer, it seems like we are always the go to target when the industry wants to vent or defend a failed product.
    Maybe devs and publishers should start looking inward to solve the problems that "stunt creativity and innovation".

    That's possibly the greatest job description of all time.

    If you cant do 'it', teach 'it'.

    If you cant teach 'it', then complain about 'it'.

    " must wade knee-deep through stupid questions from assholes as part of his job "
    I would say he sounds like an asshole himself but... that quote sounds a little too much like me some days at work too.

    I'd do it in a more private forum but if you cant complain about work what can you complain about.

    when your actually willing to be creative, even in a minor way if your so scared of the stink it will presumably cause then maybe ill listen to you

    but as a company that has been pumping out the same games for years now you have no right to even say this.

    And the innovation you might claim is normally ripped straight from a mod anyway(Ie Gun game)

    I find it hilarious that someone who makes COD games for a living is blaming other people for a lack of creativity in the industry.

    Call of Duty is a black hole of generic by-the-books gaming that is sucking the life out of games.

    If you think Bioshock was ahead of its time then you haven't played System Shock. OMG I'm doing it!

    I think much fo the super negativity online is because the 'quiet majority' are off happily playing their games.

      The problem is the 'quiet majority' are the people out there who are happily buying and playing games like dead space and think they have 'great stories' because no-one gives them anything more interesting to benchmark them against - millions of copies get sold and the negative reinforcement continues.

    It's interesting that the guy responsible for releasing CoD #3443 is claiming to be part of a "industry of creativity".

    Hey, let me fix what he said to sound abit more TRU and honest. Warning! May cause immense butthurt and rage.

    ''personally, as a whore who sucks cock in the media or social media world every day, I think the social culture of video games is moving in a more negative direction as technology and social media continue to waste resources on "ooh, shiny". Rather than gobbling shit down, the trend seems to be revolving. More and more gamers seem to forget what this industry is all about: Money.

    It’s an economic industry – the most creative form of entertainment in existence apart from all forms of art, most books, most movies, many documentations and even some afternon talkshows and soap operas. Too many developers who try new things are getting burned by “suits” and angry entitled fans who look to be contrarian burn the other "spew shit out as fast as possible" developers, sometimes simply for the sake of being contrarian. The only thing this attitude aims to achieve is get the suits off the developers and make them realise that their industry is at least as much about creativity and innovation as about money, which is something that every rational gamer looking to be entertained should want to do.

    Lectures on creativity from a studio grinding out another faceless military shooter - that's a bit rich. If you ever consider NOT making clone games and calling them a "genre", I'll be happy to chat.

    Josh Olin, the TREYARCH community manager, is complaining about stunting creativity? Really?

    I bet all the developers actually working on new and innovative content are really enjoying you're consuming all available dollars by riding the COD franchise and spamming ads all over television.

    Here's a thought, maybe so many people are becoming negative towards treyarch because you aren't actually innovating and you're stagnating the industry in favor of catering to the lowest common denominator? No, that couldn't possibly be the case. I mean you added zombies after all.

    An interesting few blog posts I was reading on this topic the other week:

    Why Game Devs shouldn't read their forums: http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2011/01/three-reasons-creators-should-never.html

    And then why they should:
    http://twofoldsilence.diogenes-lamp.info/2011/01/actually-some-developers-should-read.html

    I think online engagement has the potential to work both ways; a mature community of loyal fans can contribute a lot in terms of feedback and constructive criticism, whereas a huge forum userbase and masses of barely coherent posts means a lot of diamonds are buried in the sludge.

    Perhaps it's journalists who mistakenly praise games as innovative when they were simply copies of an older formula, much like the Bioshock story being an almost direct copy of System Shock 2's story. I guess the creativity there was an extreme dumbing down of the gameplay.

    Maybe if Call of Duty: Black Ops for PC wasn't a buggy poorly optimised buggy mess, he wouldn't have to deal with the angry entitled fans and pundits.

    Did he ever think that with the multiple new threads per day on the forums, complaining about low FPS, crashes, disconnections were not because of fans trying to stifle innovation, but rather, that they should fix their shit?

    Create a "gamebreaking bug" free game where the only complaints are from game balance, and then you might have a leg to stand on Olin.

    As for the bug free flagship XBOX360 version which is 2-3 patches ahead of the PC version, did you really expect the XBOX kiddies to do anything BUT whinge?

    "The software is provided "as is", without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall the copyright holder or holders included in this notice be liable for any claim, or any special indirect or consequential damages, or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of this software."

    These companies and their "products" are held to no standards yet they expect to have the same benefits and protections of companies that produce tangible goods which have to meet actual standards.

    Bought a game that crashed regularly or filled your computer with malware or simply wasn't enjoyable? Tough luck, they don't give a crap.

    Now they wonder why everyone is bitter and jaded? That's rich.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now