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AH: Right. And those are the experiences that we had in PlayStation 1 and 2 games that we treasured and were like, "Why not?" It's a deeply cerebral question, but: "Why can't you build a whole game around this idea of the vista?" But luckily we're indie developers and we can just do that.
MS: But that kind of stuff probably gets into those big games, also, because they're collaborative projects. And maybe several of the artists work together to create that vista. And I wish the game designers would pay a little bit more attention to that, to make that more accessible to people who are interested in that, and not downplay it as just "eye candy" or something like that.
MS: I think so. I can't even touch the computer without innovating! There's so much potential. It's so ridiculous. Of course, it takes a bit of courage to embrace it, and go with it, and work hard to make it something that other people, perhaps, can enjoy as well. And that's where falling back on conventions is very seductive. But in and of itself, yeah, it is much easier to do something new, I find.
AH: And it is about embracing it when it happens, and seeing the potential in that idea, or that mistake, or in that thing you did on purpose that you've never seen before. Because I think this is something that happens to designers all the time, and they just go, "Yeah, but, this isn't like Halo!" or something. "I wanted to make Halo!"
MS: It's what you said before. There's a certain fear that it's not going to be popular enough, and it has to be, because the budget is so big. I think that's a pity -- to live your life in fear. Dare and fail.
MS: What I think is a pity is that because they stick to those formulas that they have, that they know will be successful, and that gamers understand, that very choice excludes everybody else. And while the technology and the artistic skill of these people is now at a level where they could actually open up to many, many more people -- I mean, they think they're big now, but they could be so much bigger if they would only allow these people to enjoy their work. They would enjoy it! Because it's all there. There's a lot of stuff there for a lot of people to enjoy, but they don't allow them, because they give them a gun and say, "Go shoot these people." It's not even that these people don't want to, it's that they can't! They don't have the experience and the skill to get through the first level.
AH: We've seen it happen many times.
MS: And so what they do is that they play Angry Birds -- though that's a bad example, because that's hard, too! But more casual games. It's kind of a pity that they're losing so much potential audience.
AH: That was more for us than for other people, because for some people that's incredibly important. But for us, we found that we got very sentimental about certain games. It's not that we'd try to make them again; it's that you can't get hung up on that. And we would never recommend anyone to make games just because you love games. I don't know -- maybe that means stagnation.
MS: It's one of those things where you're not seeing the medium, the whole medium, and limiting yourself too much. Yes, that was interesting and that was fun, but you have to think of it more broadly as just something you make for somebody else to enjoy, and not necessarily in this or that specific way. It should be your task as a creative person to figure that out, and find, maybe, new ways of doing those kinds of things.
AH: I also feel like a blank slate right now. The games I was really passionate about are all from, like, 2005 or something, or before. I'm just feeling like now that I'm not passionate about any games, and I don't feel this need. There's nothing I want to copy. It's almost like achieving some sort of Zen state of nothing. And you realize that the nothing is all. It's like, "Oh, this is great." And who knows what comes from that?
And then going forward on our next three projects, it feels so exciting and new again. Game development becomes new again because I don't have this baggage from the past, thinking about games that I would like to live up to, so to speak.
MS: It did take us 10 years to get to that. Ten years of thinking, "I want to make that game, but without that, and without that."
AH: Subtracting everything all the time. And now it's more about, what are we adding to this? What can we add to people's lives?
MS: Starting much more lower on the potential of the medium.
AH: Thinking about the multiple positives of game development, for a change, and really feeling that.
MS: Since it took us 10 years, this is a difficult road to take.