With the advent of the next-generation consoles there’s been an increased attention to the realism factor of gaming. However, with the phenomenal success of the Wii and the DS, which both focused on innovative gameplay rather than stunning graphics, a large question loomed on the industry: “What sells? Graphics or gameplay?” This and the role of the Nintendo platforms were the topics of discussion in a panel at the 2007 Montreal Independent Games Summit. Read about the discussion in the full article.
At the 2007 Montreal Independent Games Summit, industry experts gathered at a panel discussion to talk about the Wii and the DS, their role in the industry, and how they challenged the idea that good graphics sell games.
With the advent of the next-generation consoles there’s been an increased attention to the realism factor of gaming. However, with the phenomenal success of the Wii and the DS, a large question loomed on the industry: “What sells? Graphics or gameplay?“
The panel in the summit consisted of Patrick Fortier (who worked on Splinter Cell: Conviction), Ubisoft Creative Director Clint Hocking, Beenox Creative Director Thomas Wilson, and Electronic Arts Senior Producer Oliver Sykes.
For the most part, the industry experts agreed that with the arrival of the next-gens, the trend was to have games with more realistic graphics. Unfortunately, this sacrificed gameplay in some ways, and furthermore threatens to be the most important part of gaming.
They agreed that graphics play a major part of the experience in gaming – the better the graphics, the more immersive the experience, as some would say. However, some of them expressed how they wish some of the Wii and DS’s focus on gameplay experience could carry over to the PS3 and 360.
They agree that the entrance of the Wii influenced the market and broadened the gaming audience, but they express different views with how it exactly changed the terrain of the industry. Some agreed that it was the Wii itself rather than the innovative controller that popularized the Wii.
The introduction of the Wiimote is a good interface, but it was the way the Wii won over non-gamers – for instance, grandmothers – that defined the Wii. In the end they agree that graphics is important, but a game shouldn’t stop at just graphics. They conclude:
Hocking: I think it broadens what we talk about when we talk about gameplay. Holding a character in your arms with graphical realism might not be gameplay — but it changes the experience of play radically compared to some faceless guy with no emotional resonance.
Sykes: There are ways to think about this, both completely opposite. I can understand ClintÂ’s point, but I cried when Aeris died in Final Fantasy 7. IÂ’d spent 60 hours with this character.
Hocking: But a processor didnÂ’t do that.
Sykes: IÂ’m just saying itÂ’s not something new. [There are] things like Half Life where youÂ’re completely immersed even though Gordon never says a word.
Fortier: […] ThereÂ’s a big difference between what I saw the first Christmas and today. [The first] PlayStation was about 3D, PS2 was about making it look smooth, and this gen is about what can we do [to create] more complex game experiences.