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A Human Work: Denis Dyack On What Games Need
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A Human Work: Denis Dyack On What Games Need

March 10, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

Right. Yeah, the thing that people would probably argue is that often you do find, as you're developing stuff, is that, "Hey! This works better! And this... I didn't realize that it was going to be so well suited to this," or, "This doesn't work at all." But, indeed, ideally, if we could figure more of that stuff our earlier...

DD: It's not a matter of making things out early. So here's my dilemma: I face those decisions all the time. As a director, when something like that comes up, it's my job to say, "OK, we thought X was gonna work. X clearly doesn't work." That happens all the time; I'm not trying to push this utopia where X should always work. That's a joke. Anyone that does video games knows that that won't work.

So then you're stuck with Y. And you know that Y works, everyone loves Y, but instead of saying, "Y is now going to change our direction all the way over to here," as a director, my job is to say, "OK, it's Y now; how does Y fit into the direction?" How do I turn that back in, to make this the original vision that it was supposed to be?

And if there's a point in time where you're so off, if you're trying to go to here, and you ended up being over there, I think you really have to say, "Should we kill this project?" And that doesn't happen very often in our industry. You get these sort of random, sometimes it works out, most of the time it doesn't.

Yeah. Well, I mean, it's really, people are definitely afraid to kill stuff. But it's funny, because people ask, or instance, Blizzard -- I don't know if you saw their talk...

DD: I did; I liked it. Yeah.

They asked them why their games are always good, and it's because they only release the good ones. And someone during the Visual Fight Club... he was saying that if you look at all of the successful, blockbuster, really good games, they were all delayed and late. Like, they were all finished when they were done. They tried to meet a ship date, but, you know, it wasn't the guiding principle.

DD: Absolutely.

It wasn't the thing that ultimately crippled them.

DD: Miyamoto-san said it right a long time ago: "No one will remember a late game; everyone will remember a bad game."


DD: And, you know -- maybe he was more positive, that everyone will remember a good game. You know, either way it shakes out, I hope it's pretty clear: We believe in that strongly. We live and die by our last game. And, you know, you're only as good as your last game. This industry is merciless, it's competitive, it's difficult, but it's worth the effort. But I agree with that. And it's pretty clear.

I look at -- I was listening to Mike [Morhaime] talk today, and the other day, when he accepted the award, talked about his family. Just wanted to go up there and hug him myself; I know what that's like, when your family is behind you, and it's tough. It's really tough up there.

Yeah. It's interesting that more people don't subscribe to that. Because if you look at Valve, or somebody? It took a really long time to get from Half-Life 1 to 2. But was it worth it? Yeah.

DD: It's a good game. Well, we as a company, we don't ever want to give in. If we think something is not working out right, we'll just take the time and fix it.

And I think we owe that to the consumer, and to the gamer, and we work for the gamers. Under any circumstance, or anything, in the end we have to be the people who deliver and fix the things. It's us that's ultimately responsible.


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