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Mar 02, 12 at 7:14pmchautemoc


We have a lengthy conversation with Larian Studios' founder and developer Swen Vincke about what's broken with games journalism today.

Sorry about the intrusive post, but we actually don't have a suitable forum for this sort of thing, so this had to do.

Larian Studios Interview Pt. 1: Games Journalism is Broken

Thread Recap (last 10 posts from newest to oldest)

Apr 13, 12 at 11:51am
chautemoc


Supernova1332 CrisGer Thanks kindly to you both.
The second part of the interview has since been posted, if you missed it: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Interviews/larian_studios_pt2/



Mar 23, 12 at 12:03am
CrisGer


That was an interesting share. It was actually as you said, more of a thought piece and less of an interview than the title might imply. I would enjoy hearing more from Swen and hope to with the follow up piece, but it was useful to hear your own point of view.

I completely agree re the decline of the quality and integrity of reviewers in most fields, i have been a professional Creative for over 40 years, and have seen this as a chronic problem with each area of creativity starting with the fine arts, then literature and now games, in the heat of popularity and the pressure of sales and money, integrity goes out the window, and sadly not many writers rise to the top of related fields with the patience and discipline to actually learn about what they are reviewing, in the case of games, many don't play the game or often understand the genre and the communities involved. In the case of established communities of players, such as in RPGs or fantasy or simulations or Star Wars or whatever, there is a huge amount of "meaning" and interaction that the developer is relating to in creating a new titles or continuing a series that a reviewer may have no clue about..and sadly few appear to care.

So what we get are packaged 'blurbs" that masquerade as thoughtful reviews, and as for the Meta score, i have only scorn for such statistical nonsense. If you have a tree with 3000 good apples and 20 bad ones to rate the tree or your own individual apple that you pick and eat on some "average" score is the same insanity that makes a governemnt make decisions based on the "average" citizen.

Games are unique and deserve individual and unique responses. Thanks for the interesting share.



Mar 10, 12 at 10:57am
Supernova1332


Fantastic interview.
It's great to see two people who are so involved and passionate about a subject like this. It's not just another interview for the sake of having one, it's about the common goal of integrity and informative journalism. If only more sites were like Neo

I steer clear of reviews almost completely, other than the ones I catch on Neo every now and again. Not that Neo's reviews are bad or anything of the sort I just prefer to see actual in-depth footage of gameplay and be able to ask myself whether it looks like fun, if it's a grind-fest, or if it's even worth buying on sale let alone at full price.
Sometimes it doesn't work out and sometimes you need reviewers to point out awesome things that 'newb' players can't show in their gameplay videos.

While I wouldn't agree that Bastion was that great of a game, gameplay wise (The atmosphere, sound including narration, and graphics were all phenomenal) I would agree that the experience was undoubtedly the same even if we have a different perspective. At the very least nearly everyone can agree that it was pretty fun.

Edit:
Excited that it was an interview with someone from Larian studios though as I thoroughly enjoyed Divinity and Divinity II DKS.



Mar 05, 12 at 2:46pm
kik36


Excellent article Sean! I enjoyed the casual format, with both of you opening up to each other in a comfortable manner. I don't enjoy stiff and overly businesslike interviews. He comes off as very accessible as an individual, and very passionate about his craft.

A meta site for reviewers is a great idea, but it would have to be tightly controlled to avoid their friends and family from boosting their ratings.

I read a long time ago (forgive my old rotten memory), that just about any industry which depends on reviews or critiques, suffers from the same afflictions. People can be easily swayed and bought if the price is right. *cough* politics *cough*.

I can honestly say I have never received, nor have been offered, a "gift" in exchange for a positive review. And as far as I'm aware, it hasn't happened with other members of the team either.

Not saying a week in Ireland for a high score wouldn't be nice......I kid, I kid!!!

I enjoy working with Neo because of the high integrity and honesty of the writers, editors, and PR team. Without those qualities in place, I wouldn't feel comfortable being a part of the team.



Mar 05, 12 at 12:32pm
chautemoc


quote Vagabond
If you give a bad review are those companies going to stick around ? Most likely not.
Many do, at least on the games side. A smart publisher will take all fair criticism along with the praise; it's in their financial interest to do so. Managing review scores can only take you so far.



Mar 04, 12 at 5:59am
Vagabond


IMO he is completely right on most points. The thing that has always bothered me is that we (and all sites) make our money from the companies we review products for. At least on the hardware side, not sure about gaming. If you give a bad review are those companies going to stick around ? Most likely not.

Of course the fault is on both sides. Companies have found a way to buy loyalty and sites have found a way to make money. So, i don't know what would be needed to fix it, but it would be nice if review sites could make money separate from relying on the companies they review products for. Games or other wise.



Mar 04, 12 at 4:22am
chautemoc


quote Wakaman
Nice, I knew some people just wrote crap for the sake of a paycheck, Game Informer comes to mind heavily.
To be honest when I read you alls reviews I don't look at the score, I'm more interested in what you think the strengths that particular game has and it's drawbacks. Like the Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor 2 DS review, that was nicely done.

Also I wouldn't call it an interview, seemed more like a casual chat over a cup of good ol' Joe tbh.
Good man.

I prefer interviews to run more or less like that anyway, though this one was even moreso. It was intended as more a discussion than anything - "Interview" is just used for lack of a better means to frame it.



Mar 04, 12 at 3:38am
Wakaman


Nice, I knew some people just wrote crap for the sake of a paycheck, Game Informer comes to mind heavily.
To be honest when I read you alls reviews I don't look at the score, I'm more interested in what you think the strengths that particular game has and it's drawbacks. Like the Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor 2 DS review, that was nicely done.

Also I wouldn't call it an interview, seemed more like a casual chat over a cup of good ol' Joe tbh.



Mar 03, 12 at 12:08am
chautemoc


If a review is exceptionally long, we divide it into multiple pages for digestibility/faster loading. We don't aim for a specific length with reviews; they must simply feel thorough, something which varies from game to game.

Pleased you like the general format. I'm rather fond of it also. I think the more recent addition of headers really help things out a lot.



Mar 02, 12 at 11:54pm
Lorx


Exactly, measuring sticks really give a lot of creditability and information in a review.

On format, I've never quite understood the reasoning behind pages, some reviews hit a page or two, many are one. Kind of seems like it's not used really, but I'm not sure if it actually would need to be used in most cases anyway. The general format of Background>Gameplay>Nuances>Drawbacks>Conclusion is nice however, that I really enjoy.



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