battelbrotha said: You've said on occasion that you get inspiration from things you enjoy, however I know Chris Avellone said the except opposite that he gets inspiration from things he hates. Have the two of you ever butted heads over these two opposite approaches while making PE?
Not specifically, no. When anyone on the team suggests removing or dramatically changing something they don’t personally like, I ask them how removing that element will make the game more enjoyable for our intended audience overall. None of us are going to personally buy a hundred thousand copies of the game when it’s released, so we need to think of the audience at large first.
Here’s a story of something I don’t personally like: casino games. In real life, I really dislike casinos. Traditional casino games like roulette and most incarnations of blackjack are structured against the players and toward the house. They prey on the worst tendencies of human beings to misunderstand probability and become caught up in addictive behavior. I can’t stand them and never personally play them.
That said, as much as it was like stabbing a dagger in my heart, there was no way I could have directed a Fallout game set in Las Vegas, New Vegas, or another other Vegas and not had gambling mini-games. New Vegas’ gambling games are mostly biased toward the player (Luck generally adds straight into your chances, pushing them away from the house). They capture the enjoyable aspects of gambling (getting lucky, which is much easier than IRL, being given perks by the casino, etc.) and even hitting a casino’s limit and being booted out is presented with grudging respect.
People playing F:NV didn’t need me to “deconstruct” gambling or “turn it on its head”. Like successfully charging ten armed raiders while armed with a tire iron, sweeping through the casinos of New Vegas on a whirlwind lucky blackjack streak is part of the same unlikely fantasy. My personal loathing of casino gambling wasn’t — and isn’t — particularly important.
Sure, it’s ideal if all of the designers’ personal tastes and preferences align with those of their audience, but that’s never the case. There’s a threshold of dissonance beyond which you should probably recognize that you and your audience are way out of sync (e.g. I have such a fundamental dislike of the zombie and mafia sub-genres that I don’t think I could successfully work on media in them). For everything else, it’s about balancing your personal tastes with those of the different segments of your audience. You want to enjoy what you’re working on, but you want the audience to enjoy it as well (unless you’re just making it for yourself, in which case, go nuts).
For me, it often comes back to a basic principle of creative work: do whatever you want in life. Just don’t expect anyone to pay or respect you for it. If you can get away with being a 21st century Diego Rivera, awesome. Most people can’t and unfortunately many are shocked to discover this.