“It is currently on track.”
Without Ken Levine’s comments on today’s unveiling of BioShock Infinite’s development struggles, Kotaku’s story would stamp the game with worry and doubt. A game almost as pristine as its 1920′s art style would look like a pretty facade to a filthy room of broken gears and missing screws. Because he was willing to speak, the story didn’t read so harrowing for the progress of the next game from the developer that produced the original BioShock.
Jason Schreier opined last week on Kotaku that the biggest problem with the game industry is the silence and secrecy game developers practice when asked about their product. Instead of pasting “We do not comment on rumors and speculation,” into an email, he argues developers should be willing to speak more openly about their games.
Schreier’s right, but in order for developers to open up, it’s on the journalists to stop scavenging for misleading quotes and formulating “stories” out of someone mentioning “the new Xbox.” It looks bad, and it causes embarrassing retractions, hurting the developer’s and more importantly, the audience’s trust. Once the speculation is left to the audience, and simply the facts are reported, developers can feel safe opening up.
When that cooperation is successful, we get fascinating stories like Russ Pitts’ tale of how High Moon Studios landed Grimlock into Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. No amount of trailers and screenshots sold me on the game more than the dedication of the people putting it together. More content like A Life Well Wasted or the Brainy Gamer Podcast should exist. The stories are there, waiting to be told. They shouldn’t be the rarity like they are now.
We like to think games are growing as a medium. The way we interact with them and the stories they tell are getting increasingly nuanced. Our coverage should mirror that maturity. It’s going to take considerable efforts on both sides. Let’s start taking it seriously.
[Featured image credit: George Barcos]