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What's one lesson you wish developers and publishers would learn?

July 16, 2017 2 min read

Video gaming as an industry has been around for a few decades now. It’s older than I am, probably older than anyone who will read this. For 40+ years we’ve been gaming, and in that time I’ve seen, and probably you’ve seen, the same mistakes and errors repeated again and again. I’m not talking about bugs, bugs are a part of development. I’m talking about the problematic pillars of a game, those fundamentally flawed design choices that find their way into final products.

Last month was E3 and during that week the world got hyped to hell over all the new games seeing release over the next year. In the trailers and demos they look spectacular, but we all know most of them will probably fall short of their true potential because of some odd decision that was made too early in development to weed out.

While playing through Tokyo Xanadu for my review, I couldn’t help but notice how at-the-ready every NPC in the game was to tell me their life story. I get the reasoning behind that. This is a 50-hour game and these people need to say something, but it’s always one of those game tropes I have to suspend reality to get behind. I work in a big city and I can tell you right now ain’t nobody gonna tell a motherfucking stranger like me all their hopes and fears if I stop them on the street. I understand video games aren’t supposed to be completely realistic, but I also believe not every NPC in a game has to have a purpose or a personality. Sometimes, they’re just there to be props, to make a city or town seem as though they're brimming with life.

This is what was on my mind when I thought up this week’s Destructoid Discusses topic. Everyone on this site has played a game or two in their life and we all have opinions on how things are done, designs that are copied and driven into the ground. So I wanted to know what our staff members would want to tell a developer or publisher – or all developers and publishers – if they had the opportunity to. This isn’t to say we know better than the people who make the products we love, but I just think this is an opportunity to civilly discuss game design and marketing/promotional choices.

What's one lesson you wish developers and publishers would learn? screenshot