By Kieron Gillen on October 23rd, 2008 at 1:17 pm.
Well, everyone else is doing it, we probably should too.
The forthcoming issue of videogame bible Edge has a large feature on Eidos Montreal’s development of Deus Ex 3. To tease it, Edge Online runs a short story with the headline “Deus Ex was “Kinda Slow” Says Deus Ex 3 Dev” before offering a quote from Lead Designer Jean-Francois Dugas: “There weren’t enough exciting, memorable moments. It was aimed more towards a simulation rather than a game experience.”. Internet explodes.
It is only part of the story. In a literal sense.
Because it’s a self-stated teaser of a much larger feature in the magazine, which shows much more light and shade. Hell, there’s material enough to be inflamatory in completely the opposite away. Edit the following quote down and you have a “Deus Ex 3 Lead Designer calls out Warren Spector and Harvey Smith quote”…
“They tried to console-ise it, but their way of doing this was to drop a lot of stuff and cut out a lot of the tactical management of the game…
In fact, even later in the tiny snippet, they include the bit that folllows that quote: “At this point we don’t know exactly which platforms we’re going to be out on. The PC, we’ll be there for sure. But for us, console-isation isn’t about dumbing down features. If we’re to go console we will want to keep the complexity alive. We want the menu interface and controller to feel simple without risking any of their potential”.
But no-one’s picked up on that bit, partially because it’s a bit fluffy, but mainly because of the title line being so deliberately inflammatory to immediately turn the calmest gentlefolk into Angry Internet Men before they even think of looking at the second paragraph.
Of course, these end up kicking up a storm at the DX3 forum, where Community-chap René Valen tries to calm people down…
The overall feeling I get is that people are worried DX3 is more IW/GoW than DX1. This is is not true. DX3 is more DX1 than anything. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating.
First off, yes some things are changing:
-Auto health regen (although we haven’t been told exactly how this will work…)
-Stealth to line-of-sight and sound instead of darkness
-Contextual third person elements
Maybe even just a slight change to one of these is a deal-breaker for you and I can’t change that so I’m sorry. However, if you think DX1 is much more than these three elements, then you will be happy:
-Different ways to solve any objective depending on your play style (social, hacking, stealth, or action)
-Customization of your character (augmentations) and weapons
-Deep story with a strong consipracy
-Lots of social interaction with numerous characters
-Consequences to your actions that affect things down the line
-A near future (Cyberpunk) setting
-Open levels with limited load times (think DX1 not IW)
-Random explorable elements with earned experience points
-More stuff I’m forgetting
His first reaction is more telling where he notes “Looks to me like a sensationalist headline to get site traffic. I can’t blame them I guess but I really wish people did a little research rather than jumping to conclusions.”
I disagree with the second point, but agree with the former totally. One of the current devices which almost all the major sites use is teasing a forthcoming feature piece with a news story, taking a quote out of context. The concept simple – they get two bites at the hits, one with one of the best quotes which may get linked by itself, the other of the feature is proper.
It’s possible to make this work – think simple confirmations of formats or features – but, in all too many cases, it’s games journalism of the lowest, most sickening order. The problem is that you sacrifice complexity and truth in order to actually get the cheapest hits. You’re deliberately distorting truth, muddying the waters and actively betraying your readers (whose fears you’re whipping into a frenzy) and the developers (Who you’re painting in the worst light you can).
This case is particularly sad. Edge is a bastion for journalism – like it or not, it’s probably the best we’ve got. The feature itself, while it includes more than enough elements to make you worry or believe in Deus Ex 3, is a complete and fair entity. The teaser isn’t. The feature shows balance and evenhandedness. The only question the teaser asks is how much outrage it can cause with the material it has available.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s a product of two different cultures. Magazine staff and the web staff across most publishing companies are completely separate. When it’s a case of the latter actively undermining Edge’s hard-won brand-equity, you have to question the priorities.
There’s an irony here. The real dumbing down in this Deus Ex story? It’s not from the developers. It’s from the journalists.