The Conclusion to the Brian "Psychochild" Green Interview - Page Three

Ten Ton Hammer: So the legitimacy of video games is just waiting for our latest generation of youth to grow up?

Ten Ton Hammer:
So the legitimacy of video games is just waiting for our latest
generation of youth to grow up?

style="font-weight: bold;">Brian:
Most likely, but this is not enough for me.  I would rather do
something instead of just sitting on my hands and waiting for things to
happen “naturally.”  I want to be able to
design games
that reach people and have a meaningful impact on their
lives.  I
can do this already, but the prejudice against games being a
“kiddy medium” prevents some people from enjoying
my work.

Plus,
I want the
best and brightest creative minds to want to create games.  A
friend of mine is a very creative person and a wonderful writer, but he
has turned his back on games and is trying to break into movie
writing.  It saddens me that as an avid game player he
didn’t want to get into games to tell stories. 
Unfortunately, for some people, video games are just a place for people
who couldn’t break into movies.

I
have to wonder
how many other people feel the same way.  If games were more
legitimate and respected, and therefore had more smart people working
on issues relating to engaging players and telling meaningful stories
in an interactive environment, how much more interesting would games be
if we had more smart people working on them?

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Few veteran designers have worked on making a
tasteful "mature" themed game, due to the subject matter. Vampire the
Masquerade: Bloodlines is one of the few mainstream titles that
included a sex-scene.

Ten Ton Hammer:
I’ve heard rumors
that you’re working on an “adult”
game….could
you go into any details about it? Is it going to be an MMO?

style="font-weight: bold;">Brian:
I’ve done a fair amount of consulting for various
games. 
And, yes, one game has a very heavy focus on sexual interaction, but
the focus was more on social interaction rather than gameplay as it is
traditionally defined..  I can’t name the project
specifically, but there is definitely some interest in developing
sexually-themed games.  The problem is, of course, that few
“legitimate” game developers are willing to make
such as
risqué game so you have inexperienced developers making the
same
newbie mistakes we struggled with in the past.  It’s
the
whole cycle of learning happening again.

Ten Ton Hammer:
Will making a
“good” pornographic game help bring sex and video
games
closer to attaining that legitimacy we were discussing earlier?

style="font-weight: bold;">Brian:
I talked about this on my blog at href="http://www.psychochild.org/?p=285">http://www.psychochild.org/?p=285
after reading an essay by Alan Moore about this topic.  As I
said,
I think one way for games to be considered legitimate is to stop using
juvenile sexual titillation in our games.  Treating sex as a
mature topic would be a great step forward, instead of treating it like
a locker room topic.

I’m
not sure if this idea is feasible or possible in games, but I thought
it is an interesting idea.

Ten Ton Hammer:
Judging from your blog,
you seem to have a fascination with “jaded” gamers.
Do
these sort of gamers hold a high place in your vision, or are they just
fun to watch rant and rave? Can the average gamer gain anything of
value from a “jaded gamer”?

style="font-weight: bold;">Brian:
Sometimes you don’t just the community, sometimes it chooses
you.  The “jaded gamers” are the community
I fell into
when I was working on M59.  There were a lot of kindred
spirits
there, people who enjoyed these types of games and could see their
potential.

I
think it’s
important to remember that the jaded people aren’t all jaded
for
the sake of being jaded.  I think some people, like me, are a
bit
disappointed how online games aren’t living up to their
potential.  Why do we see so many clones of a single type of
gameplay?  What’s the reality check behind the new
game
claiming to be bigger and better than all the others?  Despite
the
negative attitudes, these people have perspective that is useful for
developers and other gamers.

Of
course,
there’s also the downside.  Sometimes the jadedness
makes
them a poor audience to attract.  And, some of the people who
have
been jaded for so long that they cannot get excited about something
that is truly new and original.  It’s easy to
dismiss
anything new that comes along when you think you’ve seen it
all
before.

Ten Ton Hammer:
Can you talk about your
current MMO project that you’re heading up with Jessica
Mulligan?
Or is everything still under pretty tight wraps?

style="font-weight: bold;">Brian:
All I can say is that it’s an unannounced title currently
under
pre-production.  I will add that it’s a project
I’m
very excited about because it’s not the same old type of game.

Ten Ton Hammer:
In your opinion, what
do you think is the future of MMO games, both big and small? Where are
our virtual worlds headed, and what sort of advancements should we
expect to see in the future?

style="font-weight: bold;">Brian:
It’s hard to predict the future accurately. 
It’s hard
to take much science fiction written before the 90s seriously because
few people predicted the internet, which changed how our world worked
on a massive scale.  I like to think I’ve got my
finger on
the pulse of how these things will work, but I know I’m more
likely to be wrong as right.

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According to Brian Green, smaller games, like Myst
Online,  are going to be
the future of the industry.

With
that in mind,
I think the future is in smaller games.  One point I made in
my
talk at the recent conference is that WoW has changed our perceptions,
so that many games are considered “small” these
days. 
I think the future will be defined more by the games with 100,000 to
200,000 players rather than games with the numbers WoW claims.

The
funny thing is
that a game at this level is still highly profitable.  As long
as
you manage your development and maintenance costs, you can make a lot
of money off of “only” 100,000 users. 
Especially if
you start looking at other business models besides subscriptions,
because you can make more money per user and have a higher profit
margin.  So, there is little reason not to make this type of
game
if, like most developers, you cannot afford to make a game to compete
directly with WoW.

I
think it is also
exciting because it has the chance to give us a wider variety of games
to choose from.  If you plan your game to cater to 100,000
users,
you can make a game that appeals more directly to them instead of
watering down content to satisfy the least common denominator.

style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">If
that happens, then I think we’ll see all sorts of changes
that
make any predictions we could make now completely moot.  This
would be very exciting to see, in my opinion!


Make sure you check out the
first part
of  our interview with Brian Green
!

Do you think the future of
MMOs is in smaller, niche games? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?p=146376#post146376">Voice
your opinion on the forums!

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