Silicon Knights President: "Gameplay Isn't Everything"

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Silicon Knights President: "Gameplay Isn't Everything"

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Denis Dyack, founder and president of Too Human developer Silicon Knights, expressed an unusual opinion at the 2009 Develop Conference, telling attendees that "gameplay is not everything."

Dyack touched on the work of early Italian film theorist Ricciotto Canudo, who wrote that movies were the "Seventh Art," following architecture, sculpture, painting, music, poetry and dance, and said games should be considered the "Eighth Art." "Canudo argued that cinema incorporated the distinctive elements of both the spatial arts (architecture, painting) with the temporal arts (music and dance)," Dyack said. "In a similar way video games synthesize architecture, sculpture and painting with music, dancing and painting, utilizing elements of each but adding interactivity to move art on to its eighth form."

Dyack also said he believes developers should continue to move toward incorporating film industry techniques into their games. "I would encourage us to apply filmic technique to our creations. If you can replicate these techniques extraordinarily well, the your game will resonate with people on a deep level," he said.

"It's an unpopular viewpoint, but I don't believe that gameplay is the most important aspect to games," Dyack explained. "I have a theory: That engagement is greater than or equal to art plus story plus gameplay plus audio plus technology. It's all of these things combined, and one is not more important than another."

"If you look at the most popular games today, they are far more narrative-focused," he said. "If games are to follow the trajectory of films, then the dominance of gameplay will diminish in place of an increased focus and importance on gaming's stories and the ways in which they are told."

Source: Gamasutra

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"gameplay is not everything."

Me begs to differ, GAMES need good GAMEplay.

Well, this guy apparently made Too Human.

Trust me, gameplay is IMPORTANT.

He sounds like a proper art snob.

Saying games don't need gameplay is like saying paintings don't need paint.

Putting film industry techniques into games? No! Films are films and games are games! You don't put music in sculpture do you?

They definetely showed that in eternal darkness.

Spoken like a true non-gamer.

Gameplay is absolutely the most important thing in the gaming world.

This is why I'm playing Playstation One Games on a Modded PSP instead of all the latest bullshit.

They look like crap, they sound like crap, sometimes the story is terrible, but the gameplay is so spot on almost every goddamn time that I'm left being extremely pleased.

You can polish a turd, indeed it'll be a pretty shiny turd...but it is still a goddamn turd.

It depends entirely on what the game is going for.
If it's a shooter/fighter/sport or some other skill-focused game then yes, gameplay is important.

But then there's the non-gameplay focused games. The Fahrenheits, Planescapes, Psychonauts, Metal Gears, No More Heroes etc. that focus on the plot and characters. Yes, they need passable gameplay, but they can do without it.

A good balanced is necessary, an RPG with no story will be uncompelling, but with poor gameplay the story becomes painful to advance.

sirdanrhodes:
"gameplay is not everything."

Me begs to differ, GAMES need good GAMEplay.

Seriously gameplay makes a game, even more so than graphics or any other aspect.

And to think I used to love Silicon Knights(That's due to Eternal Darnkess mind you)

Nimbus:
Spoken like a true non-gamer.

Indeed. So we weren't meant to enjoy the gameplay of too human, that's a relief... What were we meant to enjoy about it then, the deep artistic sentiment of bastardising Norse mythology into a cliché somewhere between the Matrix and 300. He seems to be more defending his work (albeit badly), that actually advancing any points on the artistry of gaming, which is a shame because its an interesting subject.

"Gameplay isn't every everything!" I loled on that one.

Yea I'd say that if the game I made was known for it's repetative gameplay and overall crappyness. Nice try Mr. Dyack, but you failed.

Buuuuuut, the line "gameplay isn't everything" is still quite correct. A good game is a perfect blend of gameplay, art, music, etc etc. All parts working together in one smooth, well-oiled machine. That's no excuse for gameplay that makes you yawn ofcourse, Mr. Dyack.

*rolls up newspaper*

Bad! Bad Dyacky!

Games are only art if they involve user interaction. The moment you remove that interaction and focus more on the look of it, the music, etc. it becomes a film. And I don't think anyone is rushing to the streets to declare GOW2 the best movie ever. The games that work as films would be mindless summer blockbusters. The games that wouldn't work as films, well, they're GAMES. Hence.

See above for my feelings on this matter.

Seriously, what's this guy thinking? I still enjoy the old Mario and Sonic games to this day. Is that because of the story? No!

It's because they were great games, and still are today. Thanks to the GAMEPLAY.

Of course he gets bashed for this statement. People don't like you saying stuff like this.

WrongSprite:
Well, this guy apparently made Too Human.

As well as the original Blood Omen and Eternal Darkness.

WrongSprite:
Trust me, gameplay is IMPORTANT.

Did he say it isn't?

Cpt_Oblivious:
Saying games don't need gameplay is like saying paintings don't need paint.

Did he say they don't?

You guys need to teach me how to not read.

Edit:

WanderFreak:
Games are only art if they involve user interaction. The moment you remove that interaction and focus more on the look of it, the music, etc. it becomes a film.

You, too.

He's right it isn't everything. However it is necessary beyond belief. I still want music and story in my games, but without gameplay, it's not a game.

Malygris:

"It's an unpopular viewpoint, but I don't believe that gameplay is the most important aspect to games," Dyack explained. "I have a theory: That engagement is greater than or equal to art plus story plus gameplay plus audio plus technology. It's all of these things combined, and one is not more important than another."

Makes sense to me. The gameplay can be brilliant, but alone it's not going to make the game stand out, perfect your gameplay but neglect any motivation or story and you're left with a game that you'll only pick up every now and again to kill some stress, without motivation it's all for naught.

Maybe it's just my opinion and someone will pick apart my arguement like vultures with a carcass, but hell, I want to know what I'm fighting for before I start ploughing through legions of squishy enemies.

Wow, that's the stupidest thing I have heard a smart person say.

Cpt_Oblivious:
He sounds like a proper art snob.

Saying games don't need gameplay is like saying paintings don't need paint.

Putting film industry techniques into games? No! Films are films and games are games! You don't put music in sculpture do you?

Films are art but sometimes they are crap and the crap tends to make 400 million dollars a week. I don't want films in my videogames the same way I don't want to have games in my movies. Years ago studios tried to introduce game like elements into movies ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_movies ) and it failed terribly because you stopped watching the film in order to engage in a "vote for this" contest to decide what will happen next. The same goes for games, does anyone really enjoyed the fifteen minutes of rambling at the end of Metal Gear Solid when the chick danced around the fact that she doesn't know when the Foxdie virus will kill Snake?

Goldeneye103X2:
They definetely showed that in eternal darkness.

Yer but the game play was good in E D but it was awful in too human

sirdanrhodes:
"gameplay is not everything."

Me begs to differ, GAMES need good GAMEplay.

I totally agree!
Sexy "Crysis-Like" graphics can only get you so far

I also belive its not the most important thing, imersion is, if your immersed you don't care if the gameplay sucks, or the story. And if ones bad the other compensates for it, and too human (from what i under stand) failed in both departments.

Gameplay is the glue that keeps games together, without the glue it wouldn't be a game, without anything but glue you would only have a sticky puddle for an excuse of a game.

A game is the sum of all its parts, not just the gameplay.

I sappose it depend on the whole concept of the game but of course there is other aspects of a game which makes it great like the story and characters but gameplay is a large part of a game.

Tetris seems to work and all that is game play Unreal tournament another example

This is the company that created Two Human...the gameplay was terrible in said game...it did poorly...

See if the mass effect Head dev said this No one would argue.

Too Human was one of the most frustrating games I have every played.

He does have a point. Story and narrative are equally as important, and to have awesome game play but no context does not always make a "great game" in the sense that it will stand up to a movie in terms of how it touches the audience.

But I think he also forgets that games are inherently different from movies, and while many developers are experimenting with games in delivering narratives in new ways, some of the best, most entertaining games did not have a story at all, such as classic arcade games and more recent FPSs such as Doom and CounterStrike.

I will point out that at no time did he actually say gameplay was unimportant. But it's hard not to try and see something in between his lines and conclude that in his quest to add games to other art forms, he's overlooking what makes games different to begin with, and that missing factor was all too apparent in Too Human.

Games can exist without storyline not the reverse

He's not entirely wrong you know. Of course gameplay is the most important thing but sometimes other stuff the game brings to the table helps you overlook a games gameplay flaws...Look at Mass Effect we all know the combat in there wasn't really the best thing ever but everything else surrounding it balanced that out.

Don't be too quick to jump all over him.

Was he high on incompendants or something

I agree that gameplay isn't everything. But it's a big part, just like graphics, story, characters, voice acting, etc. Best games have a good measure of most of those things. Dyack shouldn't try to diminish gameplay, he should try to make all other aspects of a game of equal quality.

I disagree with anyone who says: "X isn't important! All a game needs is great Y". Wrong. Maybe that's all you want, but people enjoy different things.

Game developers should aspire to make their games stand out in every aspect. I think that's how we get quality games.

I don't know what the fuck this guy is talking about.

COD/Halo/Gears are not narrative driven pieces. They are multiplayer/gameplay driven pieces. It's why they sell millions of copies at launch.

This guy took ten years to make a steaming turd, so I care little for his viewpoint.

"Denis Dyack, founder and president of Too Human developer Silicon Knights"
Need I say more?
Idiot.

what?!? you know why i still own all my old games? because despite having bad graphics by todays standard, they are fun to play...in my opinion, games are no where near as fun as they used to be and maybe this guy has something to do with it -_-

EDIT: this might get me some hate, but i really don't care how pretty a game is, after the first look at it i get the "oooo pretty" out of my system...but i have to actually play thru the rest of the game and i'd prefer it to be a blast instead of just trying to get points with a pretty picture.

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