Opinion: Isn’t honesty refreshing?

We often get the rare and incredibly fortunate opportunity to speak to developers about their games here at Develop. In fact, our Post-Mortem section just got its own menu, so you can find them all in one handy place. But there was a statement this morning from Warsaw-based CI Games, and its CEO Marek Tyminski, which is published below:

We’ve learned a lot as a team over the course of development for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, much of which I believe has shaped the talented individuals within CI Games and the entire studio for the better. When we began development of SGW3, we decided on such a relatively large scale of the game with its open world that now we realize it was just too ambitious versus what we could have been able to deliver in any reasonable amount of time. We simply made the wrong math considering the size of our team and the originally given timeframe. By positioning the game in a triple-A category, it took us away from what we could have done great. Instead, we spent too much effort trying to catch up with other triple-A titles in terms of their production values and features. That was a big mistake.

We all love to hear juicy gossip in the games industry. The amount of effort that goes into finding what goes on behind closed doors is huge, to say the least. Leaks, stories of development hell, disagreements – All of them are things that people want to know and, normally, they are negative.

Because no one ever wants to know the good stories or the positives that can come out of negatives. Which is why, after reading today’s statement from Tyminski, I find it utterly refreshing that a potential negative has become a positive. His statement continues:

All of that was a huge lesson for us and we’re now moving forward without any tag attached to our next project. We’re planning to make a great tactical shooter where we can focus on exciting gameplay, some key mechanics, and missions that have depth without all of the trappings of a large open-world setting. We want to make this game even more tactical than SGW3, and I believe the last three years have created a wonderful foundation that we can build upon for our next game.

That’s one of the great things about talking to developers when we do our Post-Mortem’s and our interviews. Not only do we as journalists and readers learn something about the game specifically, but we also learn that the developers of the game learned something.

For example, I had no idea that getting two players using the same controller for Overcooked was something that was a struggle for game certification. You wouldn’t know just how many projects Roll 7 was juggling as development on Not a Hero reached its height.

So it’s wonderful that, in this world of big business, share prices and corporate perception, we’ve actually got a company being honest and saying what they’ve learned from it. Because when things go wrong, you can only try and find where you can improve.

Anything creative is fraught with potential disaster, but most importantly, any designer on a video game will have something that they know they could have done better or would have loved to revisit. And I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s ok to say that out loud.

So let’s champion this. Let’s start being more honest about things because there’s nothing better than learning from your mistakes. Sure, the reception for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 was not great but that doesn’t mean the work wasn’t important for CI Games, or that the lessons to be learned from their experience won’t make future games or the development of the Lords of the Fallen sequel better.

I think CI Games are in a unique position here that they can be honest, without having to worry so much about the impact a negative statement can have. This statement says that next time, CI will be better positioned to make better games and that is good for everyone, developers and gamers alike.

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