The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Gunstar Green
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Gunstar Green Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:21 am

I can see both sides, the argument for some kind of artistic integrity and the fact that video games are a product that need to please fans and sell copies. The latter usually being more true than the former.

Also I think player outrage due to offensive content and player outrage due to unpopular content are different cans of worms. Offensive content in particular has the potential to upset people outside of the game's core audience and go beyond simply player outrage.

While I'm a staunch defender of people's right to offend each other there are lines that can be crossed in some cases. Tastelessness and bigotry is still tastelessness and bigotry and it comes down to whether or not any deserved backlash and rejection is worth it to the game's creator.

As for simply changing content because it's "bad" I find that kind of silly but video games do have the unique ability to add content after the fact. Other forms of media will often retcon unpopular story decisions but games are able to do it before the sequel comes out.
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Ack
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Ack Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:33 am

Was Apple's reply in response to the Pillars of Eternity thing that Ds linked? I haven't read it yet.
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by AppleQueso Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:35 am

Ack wrote:Was Apple's reply in response to the Pillars of Eternity thing that Ds linked? I haven't read it yet.


yes
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by BogusMeatFactory Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:36 am

I want to bring up an interesting example from a game recently released, which happened to also be a kickstarted game, Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey.

In the first chapter you are introduced to two characters. One, a foul mouthed, tough-as-nails tinkerer who throws insults and obscenities at a rapid fire pace. Her companion and best friend, which is introduced as a brother of sorts to the tinkerer is a simple person, never speaks and is said to be autistic. They set things up that their relationship is strange and can be construed as abusive, but there is a loving rivalry between the two.

The loud mouth constantly refers to him as a retard and people were getting horribly offended by her berating an autistic person.

The developers were adamant that the two characters may interact in a seemingly offensive way, but as you watch the two, the more and more you see how much they care for each other. It is just that the loud mouth is the most politically incorrect person and it is part of her character to throw slanderous verbiage at everyone. They refused to remove or change the dialog, because it is important to know that it is the characters themselves that are insensitive and not the writers. That the same insensitivity is vital in telling the story.

In the case of Pillars of Eternity, it was a little rhyme on a tombstone from a backer of the game and as you can see it represented hate (intentional or not) of a group of people. This wasn't telling the story of a hateful person, nor did it represent a grander story arc to shine light on such a message. I completely understand why a person would be offended and in this case it is ok to remove it.
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Exhuminator Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:41 am

dsheinem wrote:Do you think this kind of thing is ever a good idea? Is it reasonable/acceptable in certain circumstances but not in others??

I believe allowing your audience to dictate your creative output is tacky. It's just subjecting yourself to the vocal minority's moaning. For every one complainer there's a dozen people who were fine with whatever the issue was, and another dozen who didn't care either way. And of course if you do change something to appease the vocal minority, another one will rise up to complain about what has changed. It's a catch-22, all day every day. Developers are already at the mercy of their publishers and shareholders, I see no reason to add entitled "fans" on top of that list.
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Ack
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Ack Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:44 am

In the case of something like Pillars of Eternity, don't the devs get final say in what they are comfortable adding to the game and can reject the input of contributors when they believe it would offend? I thought most contributor benefits from Kickstarter operated this way.
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by MrPopo Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:01 pm

Exhuminator wrote:
dsheinem wrote:Do you think this kind of thing is ever a good idea? Is it reasonable/acceptable in certain circumstances but not in others??

I believe allowing your audience to dictate your creative output is tacky. It's just subjecting yourself to the vocal minority's moaning. For every one complainer there's a dozen people who were fine with whatever the issue was, and another dozen who didn't care either way. And of course if you do change something to appease the vocal minority, another one will rise up to complain about what has changed. It's a catch-22, all day every day. Developers are already at the mercy of their publishers and shareholders, I see no reason to add entitled "fans" on top of that list.

Or you could do what reasonable people do and listen to the criticism, then determine if you think it's valid enough to change things.

Another example: Magic the Gathering introduced a character in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 named Kiora Atua. Afterwards they were informed by several people that "Atua" has sacred meaning to the Maori and others. Wizards of the Coast decided that they weren't wedded to this name they had created independently and dropped it from the character; her first card was Kiora, the Crashing Wave. They certainly could have said "we came up with this that coincidentally is the same word" and stuck with it but they decided it wasn't worth it.
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by noiseredux Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:21 pm

Ack wrote:Was Apple's reply in response to the Pillars of Eternity thing that Ds linked? I haven't read it yet.


Me neither, my response was about ME3.
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by BogusMeatFactory Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:40 pm

noiseredux wrote:
Ack wrote:Was Apple's reply in response to the Pillars of Eternity thing that Ds linked? I haven't read it yet.


Me neither, my response was about ME3.


It isn't much. In Pillars of Eternity, there are these tombstones that have writing on them from kickstarter backers. One person wrote a rhyme about a guy sleeping with a woman, finding out she was a man and then committing suicide by throwing himself off a cliff. People found it offensive and the developer removed it.
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Ack Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:14 pm

Having read it now, Obsidian said they didn't properly vet it and they wouldn't have let it pass if they had, so they went through the same process that they would have done anyway.
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