Flower creator Jenova Chen talks about how he removed 'fun' elements from the game to keep his original vision intact.
Hot on the heels of Silicon Knights president Dennis Dyack saying that "gameplay isn't everything", comes the revelation that Jenova Chen, head of Thatgamecompany, removed features from the PSN game Flower in an effort to make it less 'fun'.
Now, before you leap on him and bash him for his hubris, let's be clear that by 'fun' he means 'like other games on the market'. In a speech at the Develop conference this week, Chen said that Flower had originally had more traditional gameplay elements like spells - included at Sony's insistence that the game needed more depth - but that their introduction spoilt the feeling that the game was meant to convey, so Chen had the features cut.
"Those emotions just derailed the experience - I didn't want to make a game where people just play and shout out 'yes!' all the time."
It raises an interesting question over whether games have to be 'fun' to be good. Indie titles like The Path aren't fun, not in the sense that Street Fighter IV is fun, but they can still be powerful experience. Chen addressed this point by saying:
"As grown up gamer I don't want to see the games I have been playing with love turn into toys. I think games need to have more mature content - but not like [Dead or Alive] or [Manhunt], but more sophisticated works ... Games should make the player think and touch the gamer's emotion. Gameplay needs to be like any other medium - it has to evoke all kinds of responses. Otherwise our industry will flatline."