Wednesday, June 20, 2007
BRING BACK THE SECRETS?
So Sony Playsation has their very own blog. If you have not dropped by, please do so at: http://blog.us.playstation.com/
Man,I just love it.
I think it's a fantastic idea to get voices from all areas of the company speaking directly to Playstation fans. One day it's a producer, the next day it's a junior tester, and then a few days later, you're leaving comments to the head of the freaking company! That's just cool, man. And I love how even though Playstation is this very large division within this very mega corporation, the blog just feels so intimate. To me, it makes your relationship with Sony Playstation alot more cozy and personal. I'm a big, big fan and am eager to see how the new site continues to grow.
But it's got me thinking about how much access we- as game creators- should allow to the players.
Not in terms of the kind of stuff Sony is doing with the blog, or even the kinds of stuff that I do here. I'm talking about concept art and behind the scenes videos showing how the titles get made.
Now I love that stuff; loved watching the 'making of' movie stuff as a kid and I am sure lots of players today love the 'how games are made' docs that are all over the place now.
But do you think it ruins some of the magic of the final product? And if so, how much?
Think about this: You NEVER see concept art or behind the scenes footage from first party Nintendo games. You never see wire frame models of what Princess Zelda's castle looks like, or voice recording footage of the actress playing Peach. Or if you do, it's very, very rare. And it's one of the reasons- I feel- that the Mario and Zelda characters almost feel real, alive, and magical. Granted, much of this comes from the fact that they are just amazing characters who inhabit amazing games. You can't deny that part, to be sure. But I think they are on to something when it comes to how they- as a company- protect those characters and worlds; like how you never get to see the actors changing out of the Mickey costume at Disneyland. It's an illusion that pays off big for them.
So while I think direct access to players and fans is the way to go and what is so much fun about life with the internet, I am starting to wonder how much access we should be giving players when it comes to revealing how we make the games. Shouldn't some tricks stay secret? And even if they are not secrets, aren't Kratos and Sweet Tooth and even the criminals in Calling All Cars (or the seals in SOCOM or the hero from UNCHARTED) stronger characters if you only ever see them when they have thier make up on, costumes fitted, and are lit just right?
On a blog like this, I get lots of readers who want to be in the biz one day. So I can see those guys/gals wanting all the access they can get (just like I, as a wanna be filmmaker, used to love to watch how movies were made). But assuming your goal is not to work in the biz (or even if it is,put those thoughts aside for a moment), tell me this: if the end goal is a strong game and a much loved franchise, do you think it makes the product stronger or weaker to allow players even the tinniest peak behind the curtain?
ps. sorry I can't give any more info on those pictures I posted. I'll have some updates on that space very soon. But to answer a few of the comments:
a- those pics are from a space in Utah
b- thanks for the industry vet and his well wishes/luck wishes. I know it's a tough biz...let's hope we both get lucky, eh?
pps. I know Nintendo has given some press to Charles Martinet, the man who does the Mario voice. I see him at trade shows from time to time, doing the voices and doing the PR thing. I am not sure why Nintendo does this as it seems to fly in the face of all the other 'keep it secret' decisions that I am assuming are intentional. Maybe because it's trade shows, Nintendo doesn't feel the info gets out to the majority of the public so it doesn't affect 99% of the players. Same with the recent Zelda deconstruction that went on at GDC; I mean, most folks are not going to find information on that unless they really seek it out and that is a small % of the players. I don't know, just wondering.
Ok, gotta get some work done. Talk to ya'll later. Nice to be back blogging!