Not Every Game Has To Be Great. Good Games Are Just Fine.

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick sums up everything wrong with the "blockbuster" video game industry in a single sentence. Via Gamasutra.


    A game has to be good before it can be great!

    So consumers expecting quality when they hand over their hard earned cash is unreasonable?

    Great games make great revenue for a company, mediocre titles don't. Invest more time in making a few great games instead of 1/2 a dozen+ crap ones. Quality is always preferred over quantity.

    In short: don't turn into the film industry.

      except that you should note that you can't make quality over quantity it just doesn't work that way

      There a tones of quality games that have sold poorly and tones of terrible games that have sold well.

      Good Games are fine, but the issue is a 30mil production cost good game isn't so much.

      A key point would be the COD franchise the last 3 games have been pretty weak, compared to 4. And all of them have sold through the roof.

      not to mention how many games do you want throughout the year it's not like the market is flooded as it is.

      I agree.
      And - I don't want to sound like a total dick saying this, but - if they have to charge me 15 dollor more to make a good game a brilliant game. DO so. My time on this planet is precious, if I have to pay a dollar/hour more for a great movie, I don't even consider watching the "quite good" one on that night out at the movies.

    That's like saying go is the new stop.

      More like period is the new comma.

      No he's saying that not every game has to be the equivelant of a AAA 250+ million dollar cinematic Nolan directed megablockbuster. Sometimes games that are just simply good and fun are fine? These days if a games not 9 or 9.5 it's deemed a write-off. A failure. It HAS to get that magical 9 to succeed?

      It's ridiculous. I recently thanks to EBs buy 2 get the third free deal and JBs deals at Xmas picked up 15 cheapies all various ratings, from Alpha protocol to Kane and Lynch 2 thru to We love Katamari. Have to admit, I'm really enjoying a bunch of them more than I enjoyed the supposedly 9 out of 10 Bioshock with it's average gunplay, average level design but glorious architecture and great story for instance.

      So yeah, sometimes good IS good enough.

        yeah i don't get it game ratings should be like bell curves there should be a high amount sitting at the 70 that are worth the money and those at 90 are something special yet apparently anything below 80 doesn't exist.

        LOL! I played one hour of Bioshock and then got bored and just read the rest of the story off Wikipedia!


    Luke is saying good games are just fine, that not all games must be great?

    Well if that isn't a battle cry for mediocrity I don't know what is. What's the point in aiming for so-so, especially when you know that not everything you think will work actually does? If you aim for mediocre and only get 70 or 80% of your goals, where does that leave your game?

    Good games ARE fine, but designers and producers should never be so complacent. Good games are fine because they are unavoidable, there's nothing wrong with them existing in the world. There IS something really wrong with thinking to yourself "Its ok, I'll just do this half-assed and not worry about pushing for the best I can do, or the best my game can be."

    Take-Two came under fire about a year ago, just around the release of Red Dead that they should stop taking 3 or 4 years to make a 97 rated game and instead take 1 or 2 years to make an 85 rated game or something--this is from a corporate exec. I, however, congratulate them for putting their money where their mouth is and treating games like an art, and not a throwaway commodity.


      Complacently aiming for mediocrity is ridiculous.

      We've seen what games can do - emotionally, commercially, artistically - when they're backed by effort, resources and will. Why would any developer worthy of the name shy away from trying to create the best work they possibly can?

      Given the sludge of half-hearted games released every year, I think it'd be a great thing if more studios took the time to make their games outstanding.

      Actually what you are putting forth is the opposite of art. In a truly artistic medium, the struggling artist could have his one "great idea" and make a mediocre game with that one idea in it. This happens now of course, and maybe it doesn't reward the artist with great sales but in your world this game should never exist. So the only people who get to make games are those with enough money to afford massive budgets. This will clearly lead to mediocrity and lack of innovation in the long run.

    I think you missed the point. Completely. Strauss is saying the opposite of your headline.

    "Making good games just isn't good enough...I believe good is the new bad. ... Games need to be great."

    So not really summing up "everything wrong with the “blockbuster” video game industry". Trying to defend it, and Take-Two's position on top of the (Metacritic) pile.

      it's a subjective statement really you take it as you need to be good to stand out.

      another way of looking at it is don't invest in anything unless it's gonna sell like hotcake's.

      Which could be construed from the "Blockbuster" Video game industry as luke put it.

      The Blockbuster titles i find these days are rather bland there either the same old shooter we have played before. or something else regurgitated a key example at the moment would be DA2 and while i haven't played it through the hour i fiddled with it at a mates place it seems to be a shadow of the greatness that was DA:O

      and while this is my personal opinion here, Take two's last games have all been boring, the last civilization wasn't was good as the previous RDR and GTA IV were snooze fest's(GTA was always about fun the realism and sensibility of the most reason was a huge disapointment) Bioshock 2 was a cash in off the first imo

      I haven't finished mafia 2 so that's all i'll say on that one.

      And borderland's iv'e played alot of multiplayer with friends so to me thats easily the best out of there more recent releases

      Bioshock would top it but thats a little too long ago to consider relevant now

      And I think you missed Lukes point. Completely.

      He's saying thats Strauss' statement IS what is wrong with the blockbuster games industry. He's saying (and I agree) that the whole 'games must be great' attitude is destroying small developers, who are forced to compete with massive studios.

      If Strauss is right then give the games industry a decade and every single title will be a slightly altered version of last years big hits. Say goodbye to originality, because that just doesn't come with the same guarantee of 'greatness'. Enjoy your cookie-cutter game future.

    This is perfectly reasonable given the scale of investment.

    iOS games need to be good; AAA titles which have multiple millions of dollars invested in them, hundreds of staff working on them, and selling at a premium price point definitely need to be the best of the best or there's no point in making them.

    Honestly, I don't have enough time to play "good" games unless they appeal immensely to my niche tastes (like tactical RPG, mech combat, etc). I am so busy and there are so many "good" games that it's not feasible for me to play them. As such, I don't buy them.

    The market is oversaturated, and as such, you need to stand out to sell out.

    So, Mr Plunkett, why is this comment something that's "wrong" with the industry? It's not the industry, it's the economics which drive it.

    The problem is that people are not happy to pay $90 for a good game, when they bought (what they perceived to be) a great game for $90 last month. Good games might be fine, for a proportionate price. Some distributors are learning this sliding scale, others are losing out by asking too much for a 'merely decent' title.

    As an example, I was considering buying NBA Elite, purely to get NBA Jam with it, but when Elite was canned and EA decided to slap a fullprice ticket on Jam, they lost me. $50? Hells to the yizzess. But no more.

      NBA Jam T.E. is still the better game anywayz!

    unless charlie sheen tests the games first and says 'winner' - it isn't worth playing anymore.

    I agree with him, 100%...

    Luke got the headline wrong... but good is the new average or bad if you want. I mean, what was the last big budget game to score less than about 7 on review sites? Developers are getting to a point where they can make a game to fit a generic mold and that's what people consider a good game. Singularity for example... (but this applies to A LOT of other games) it was a complete clone... I'm not saying that games that take after other games are bad either, but this was just uninspired from the get go. Though it got pretty good reviews, just becuase it wasn't particularly bad. Where a game like Metro 2033 got worse reviews because of it's technical execution when people ignored the fact that there was a really inspired, unique game underneath it. Singularity did not have that...

    TLDR people need to realise that games that aren't particularly bad, aren't particularly good either...

    I think I get the gist of what he's saying. I love my blockbusters but sometimes I don't feel like having to be 100% into the story and dedicated to 30+ hours of play time. Sometimes i just want to relax on the couch and have a bit of fun. He's not saying he loves the crap games, he's saying it's often enough to just be happily entertained and doesn't expect his mind to be blown at every turn.

    Considering all the hate Dragon Age II has gotten (just look at the Metacritic user scores!), I'd say he's kinda right.

    Majority of people didn't see the point the dude was making. So I'll sum it up. All titles are trying to be AAA titles, this means they're all doing the same thing. Same thing = stagnation. Whereas a good game is more likely to try new things, shake things up, be fun to play. I'm starting to get sick of every game coming out wanting to rival cinematic masterpieces with their fully orchestral soundtracks and their 50% pre-generated cutscenes. Give me something simple, good, with a soundtrack and can own some dudes with. Give me the next Unreal Tournament 2004!

    What is the measure of a great game? It's not always the games with an aggregate score of 'great' as judged by game journalists that I find fun to play. It's not always 'great' games that sell great numbers. Great games can languish while mediocrity profits. Is he talking philosophy, product or market or all? Great is such a shitty adjective! I don't know what he's saying! I totally agree and disagree!

      indeed, its much like the article from the other day

      The guy behind ico and SOTC basically said they were crap beacuse they didn't make money.

      Except that you will find people willing to pay north of a 100 AUD to get there hands on a second hand copy of a PS2 game just to play it.

      If those great games had appealed to a more profitable demographic odds are they wouldn't be the pieces of art that they are

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