Mercurio Silver – Gentleman Critic. Found in a public restroom in Camberwell, passing judgement on the merit contained within certain examples of graffiti present on the walls, he attached himself to the staff of your favourite gaming blog and refused to let go. In an ill-conceived attempt to get him to stop judging our various fashion styles as “contrived and unprecedented in their ugliness”, we at The Reticule gave him an article through which, hopefully, he can vent his spleen.
I don’t like reading interviews. The barefaced lying of the interviewee does nothing but get right up my nose. How many times have you read an interview that has gone like this:
Interviewer: So, Mr Kingsley St. James Moriarty, Creative Overlord of the upcoming “Dark Fantasy Lords versus The Assassins of Light”, what is it like to work on such a big project?
KSJM: <Pointless waffle about how talented his team of talented talents are. Much emphasis placed on how much they enjoy the game they’ve haven’t bothered to finish yet.>
Interviewer: <Hilarious joke about something trivial mentioned by the interviewee,in an attempt to look as though they are friends.> Anyway, what can you tell us about <Game mechanic X>
KSJM: I’m afraid I’m not really allowed to talk about it. We’re still in the early stages of the game and a lot of stuff is in flux and what-have-you. What I can say, however, is that it will be awesome!
Interviewer: Oh well, that’s understandable. What about <Game mechanic Y>?
KJSM: We’re not really ready to talk about that either, but we will be within the month. <Obligatory marketing message about checking his company’s infeasibly confusing website for more information.>
Interviewer: <Still remaining cheerful despite the utter lack of merit in the interview.> But surely you can tell us about <Game mechanic Z>.
KJSM: Well, I’m not really supposed to, but… <Worst kept secret in the world, presented on a silver platter, garnished with various herbs and spices, pepper, disguised as a premium steak and veiled by the pretence that this was confidential information.>
Interviewer: Wow! What an exclusive that is!
KJSM: Keep it under your hat though, no-one is meant to know about it! <Except for people who have actually played a game, ever, who will already have figured it out from the name of the blasted game>
Interviewer: <Onto the pointless questions about how hard everything is and how KJSM can cope.>
KJSM: <Unimportant answers to questions above.>
Repeat until a golden brown and serve with white wine and canapés.
It’s not so much an interview as an exercise in futility. The two parties talk and talk, but nothing is ever said. All games designers work this way, even the indie ones, yet you people insist on gobbling up the stuff like it is a delicacy.
“Good lord, someone who makes computer games has talked! Oh the insight he can give us into the development processes!” that is what you shout. Don’t lie, I’ve heard you.
Have you not noticed by now that these people never actually tell you anything of worth? They’re not like celebrities, they don’t do interviews to make their egos swell (with a few notable exceptions, naturally), they’re only doing it so that you are aware their game even exists. They don’t want to actually give you any detail on it though, then you might realise it will be sub par.
Oh there are exceptions of course, people like Valve. Let me ask you, however, do Valve really need to give interviews. I will make a guarantee for you here and now, concerning the next unannounced Valve game, the one that will come after Portal 2 and Episode 3. It will be a first-person shooter, no cutscenes, and a talking suit. Oh, and the on-line component will be full of people too young to play the game, whose parents don’t really care who their child is swearing at so long as it’s not them.
That is a guarantee from Mercurio Silver, and it’s ironclad. Or silverclad, whatever you prefer.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t read interviews… Actually, I am. Don’t read them, but you will anyway. Just remember, dearest reader, that interviews are worse than pantomimes. You will invariably know the story before you go, and be subjected to two or more flamboyant idiots dancing around to such a fantastical degree that by the midway point you will have forgotten why you bothered opening your web browser.
If you must read an interview then conduct one with yourself and read that. Only then will you run the risk of discovering something new.