Deus Ex designer criticises publisher conservatism

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Harvey Smith, the one-time Lead Designer of Deus Ex, now working at Arkane Studios, and Raphael Colantonio, CEO and Creative Director of Arkane have criticised the conservative business practices of the big-name game publishers.

Speaking to PC Gamer's mortal enemies at RockPaperShotgun, Harvey and Raphael said "We believe strongly that any game done well enough will make tons of money. People trick themselves into believing all these false rules about creative success. Some publishers try to predict the future based on past trends because it’s easier to operate that way."

They cite the success of gamer-friendly IPs like Fallout and Bioshock as examples of how complex mechanics and weird settings can and do resonate with an audience. "It makes people feel comfortable to believe they can project future sales figures accurately. 'First person doesn’t sell,' or 'RPGs don’t sell.' They’re afraid of unusual settings, new gameplay features, or in cases something specific, like, “post apocalypse.” Then Fallout 3 or Bioshock comes along, the perfect examples of awesome games that, according to common industry thinking, had every reason to fail: Cross-genre, weird world, slower-paced, story-oriented titles that took gameplay risks and gambled creatively in general."

Harvey and Raphael are working together on an unannounced game; Harvey directing Arkane's Austin, Texas studio while Raphael is based in Lyon, France. They speak with one voice. Like a creepy ogre.