Rage Creators Weren't Prepared For Tough Questions

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, Gamasutra's Brandon Sheffield ran an interview with id Software's CEO Todd Hollenshead about Rage. In the interview, Sheffield expressed some doubts about the game, and wasn't convinced by many of Hollenshead's answers. It was a solid piece of journalism, and as our own Stephen Totilo pointed out, it's the kind of interview we could use more of.

Sheffield has penned an op-ed about the interview and the response it prompted. In the piece, he recounts playing the game at a San Francisco event, and how as he played, time and again he found himself flummoxed by the design decisions that id had made. After playing, he sat down to talk with Hollenshead and Rage artist Andy Chang and asked about the issues he noticed.

The oddest thing was how unprepared Hollenshead and Chang were for my questions. How had nobody broached these subjects before? It felt as though the game had been developed in a bubble, where they were told everything they were doing was great, without question. I can understand that, it's id after all. But Hollenshead seemed to genuinely appreciate that I had taken a laser-focus to the game's systems, and the air in the room was contemplative, not hostile. We spoke for an hour, and smiled and shook hands at the end.

After the interview ran, Sheffield describes receiving an anonymous email from only identified as being from a "AAA creative director" that described his line of questioning as "hostile" and "clearly biased", and claims to have instructed PR to refuse future requests form Gamasutra regarding their game. Sheffield doubts the veracity of this email, but all the same, wonders about the language used.

It's out of respect for id that I called them out on what I saw. I gave them an early chance to defend issues with the game that others were undoubtedly going to have upon release. If treating someone else's work the way you'd treat your own -- that is to say with scrutiny and criticism -- is disrespectful, then we clearly have different definitions of the word.

Opinion: Journalistic Rage [Gamasutra]


Comments

    Isn't this a repeat post from last night?

      Ignore me, I'm going crazy, was sure this was a few pages back a moment ago.

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        penny arcade to the rescue!

    The funny thing is, people have been saying that his questions were really negative and were an attack. But they weren't really. He can't help it that the answers to the questions were lacking.

    Yeah, I didn't find the questions that harsh at all... the were even worded lightly.

    At least the journo invested valuable time ensuring his questions explored and provided insight into the facets and mechanics of the game overall... Sarcasm - lets hope we don't have different definitions of the word.

    He's obviously a whale biologist.

    Can't blame him for that.

    While I wouldn't knock Sheffield for doing his job as he sees fit, I can't help but feel his questions during that interview had a slightly snarky edge to them. I mean, asking whether their art team was just basically phoning it in with the hollywood 'blue/orange' look? Taking issue with the contradiction between 'don't take kindly to strangers' and 'howdy partner!'? These seem like petty nitpicks more than 'tough questions' to me.

    It's ok to be critical, but the tone of the interview felt like something approaching an interrogation more than an interview in some parts. I can see why some people might not have liked it.

    I would disagree that the answers were delivered badly. This is something we see when the developer is asked something he has to think about, when anyone is, and most audiences simply aren't used to that.

    It's not that they're trying to spin it for pr drivel so much as they're trying to find a place to dig in with what they feel is important about their game.

    On the subject of their answers, I own the game and I can say that yes the environments are dense to a point that no other game I'm familiar with accomplishes. Not just visually or artistically, which the game is phenomenal at, but it creates and sustains an environment where you're not sure you're on stable ground; metaphorically and literally speaking. So far? I'm liking it a lot. What sets this game apart so far is quality of mechanics and environment.

    the answers in the interview were terrible in parts, they shrugged off so much stuff by just saying 'yeah thats just how we went about it' NO SHIT HES ASKING WHY YOU WENT ABOUT IT THAT WAY

    Fine. Now, game journalist, care to ask tough questions of Dice or Infinity Ward?

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