The Worthlessness of The Artist's Vision

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
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Oct 25, 2017
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This is something I've wanted to talk about for awhile and today's Jimquisition "A Difficult Discussion" was the impetus I needed to finally Swype down my thoughts.

This discussion isn't exclusively about Sekiro and difficulty modes however; you can insert any hot topic concerning the content of a game into this. Rather it's about the sanctibility of the "artist's vision" on part of gamers and how it inherently conflicts with how artists mentally and emotionally operate on large-scale collaborative efforts.

I learned years ago after breaking down in front of folks over a forgettable 2D design project that I thought was the shittiest thing ever that ideas are fleeting and production is a mystery no one wants to solve. Your audience cannot take into account the amount of effort your product necessitated because they weren't there for it, and frankly it doesn't matter during the present experience of your product. They just want the product. They are also not going to see every mistake you made because mistakes in art can only be gleaned by the context of the beginning intent and the end result, and only the artist understands both.

I imagine most artists who want to make a career of their talents and those lucky enough to do so come to these conclusions sooner or later, and when they do it's freeing. You are not a slave to the master of specificity and perfection anymore. Your goal is just to make something enjoyable. However you get there doesn't matter.

So nothing is sacred. Any idea or concept is only as good as it serves that goal. You seek out ways to separate the wheat from the chaff. You conduct research and ask questions from your colleagues. You interview people close to the subject. You steal other people's things. You trash other things. The world and the media before you becomes a cheat sheet. It's a subtractive process, and you keep yourself emotionally separate from the majority of individual hideas as a result.

That's how I got through making my animated short. It's how I got through collaborating on others' shorts. It's how I was able to let Weta Digital tell my tiny team what was and wasn't working on our creature design. I imagine for game design, specifically in an era where even the "final product" can still be subject to change and iteration through DLC, nerfs, buffs, events and whatever else, that designers must exercise a further distance from the so-called sacredness of their ideas just to function and love the process of their craft.

So imagine the cultural whiplash I experience everytime I read any gaming forum where people insist "ideas" are actually the most important thing worth upholding. That they are above criticism and demand from the audience. That the vision must be upheld and that any calls for change amount to censorship.

Gamers treat artists as this special class of folks that are under attack.

It's honestly creepy, and infantalizing to me. I'm an adult; I can handle the thought of someone telling me my work is problematic on some level. Because I want to know these things! I want to know the weak links and blind spots! How else can I get better?

Certainly not by living in a world where the audience insists that my fleeting ideas and processes are sacrosanct, or worse yet that if I did change anything on being convinced by the arguments of my audience it's because I was coerced or forced, as if I'm incapable of coming to decisions about the quality of my work, or that my self-description as an artist means I magically have all the answers.

I don't, and that's the beauty of working on large scale works-- learning from different people and coming together to work as a team, to see how an idea evolves over the weeks, months, and years as the cooks scramble around in the kitchen.

I imagine the reflexive argument coming up to refute my ideals is that artists are allowed to defend their work, thereby proving to some degree that the vision is indeed sacred. True, there is some degree of defensiveness or belief in any given idea, or a willingness to explore. That's fine. I've turned down criticism before after a conversation about it.

Where I draw the line however is the inability to even have that conversation, the inability for people to even say they disagree with my work in some manner. That's what I feel this worship of "vision" comes down to. It is a disruption of the contract between artist and audience that has happened since time immemorial.

Ultimately, the mere concept of an artist's vision that deserves infinite respect is fundamentally incompatible with how collaborative artwork is even made. This attitude to try and white-knight for game developers and other artists isn't respectful. It denies us our agency and the ability to grow as artists and people. You're not impressing me as an artist when you lay into audience members who demand different and better from their media. It's always disappointing and insulting.

Gamers, you don't need to be an intermediary or a speaker for our work. We can take care of ourselves. Instead, engage in the conversation on the merits of our work. Embrace the different lenses through which art can be interpreted. You just may learn something fascinating.

I'm also not unaware that this concept is not always utilized in good faith. I'm speaking to the people out there who do this under a genuine belief in free expression and how the conversation looks from an artist's point of view. If you're only ever concerned about the artist's vision when it comes to misogyny, racism, and anti-LGBT sentiments in video games you can go piss up a rope. I have no other words for you.
 

F4r0_Atak

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Oct 31, 2017
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This is something I've wanted to talk about for awhile and today's Jimquisition "A Difficult Discussion" was the impetus I needed to finally Swype down my thoughts.

This discussion isn't exclusively about Sekiro and difficulty modes however; you can insert any hot topic concerning the content of a game into this. Rather it's about the sanctibility of the "artist's vision" on part of gamers and how it inherently conflicts with how artists mentally and emotionally operate on large-scale collaborative efforts.

I learned years ago after breaking down in front of folks over a forgettable 2D design project that I thought was the shittiest thing ever that ideas are fleeting and production is a mystery no one wants to solve. Your audience cannot take into account the amount of effort your product necessitated because they weren't there for it, and frankly it doesn't matter during the present experience of your product. They just want the product. They are also not going to see every mistake you made because mistakes in art can only be gleaned by the context of the beginning intent and the end result, and only the artist understands both.

I imagine most artists who want to make a career of their talents and those lucky enough to do so come to these conclusions sooner or later, and when they do it's freeing. You are not a slave to the master of specificity and perfection anymore. Your goal is just to make something enjoyable. However you get there doesn't matter.

So nothing is sacred. Any idea or concept is only as good as it serves that goal. You seek out ways to separate the wheat from the chaff. You conduct research and ask questions from your colleagues. You interview people close to the subject. You steal other people's things. You trash other things. The world and the media before you becomes a cheat sheet. It's a subtractive process, and you keep yourself emotionally separate from the majority of individual hideas as a result.

That's how I got through making my animated short. It's how I got through collaborating on others' shorts. It's how I was able to let Weta Digital tell my tiny team what was and wasn't working on our creature design. I imagine for game design, specifically in an era where even the "final product" can still be subject to change and iteration through DLC, nerfs, buffs, events and whatever else, that designers must exercise a further distance from the so-called sacredness of their ideas just to function and love the process of their craft.

So imagine the cultural whiplash I experience everytime I read any gaming forum where people insist "ideas" are actually the most important thing worth upholding. That they are above criticism and demand from the audience. That the vision must be upheld and that any calls for change amount to censorship.

Gamers treat artists as this special class of folks that are under attack.

It's honestly creepy, and infantalizing to me. I'm an adult; I can handle the thought of someone telling me my work is problematic on some level. Because I want to know these things! I want to know the weak links and blind spots! How else can I get better?

Certainly not by living in a world where the audience insists that my fleeting ideas and processes are sacrosanct, or worse yet that if I did change anything on being convinced by the arguments of my audience it's because I was coerced or forced, as if I'm incapable of coming to decisions about the quality of my work, or that my self-description as an artist means I magically have all the answers.

I don't, and that's the beauty of working on large scale works-- learning from different people and coming together to work as a team, to see how an idea evolves over the weeks, months, and years as the cooks scramble around in the kitchen.

I imagine the reflexive argument coming up to refute my ideals is that artists are allowed to defend their work, thereby proving to some degree that the vision is indeed sacred. True, there is some degree of defensiveness or belief in any given idea, or a willingness to explore. That's fine. I've turned down criticism before after a conversation about it.

Where I draw the line however is the inability to even have that conversation, the inability for people to even say they disagree with my work in some manner. That's what I feel this worship of "vision" comes down to. It is a disruption of the contract between artist and audience that has happened since time immemorial.

Ultimately, the mere concept of an artist's vision that deserves infinite respect is fundamentally incompatible with how collaborative artwork is even made. This attitude to try and white-knight for game developers and other artists isn't respectful. It denies us our agency and the ability to grow as artists and people. You're not impressing me as an artist when you lay into audience members who demand different and better from their media. It's always disappointing and insulting.

Gamers, you don't need to be an intermediary or a speaker for our work. We can take care of ourselves. Instead, engage in the conversation on the merits of our work. Embrace the different lenses through which art can be interpreted. You just may learn something fascinating.

I'm also not unaware that this concept is not always utilized in good faith. I'm speaking to the people out there who do this under a genuine belief in free expression and how the conversation looks from an artist's point of view. If you're only ever concerned about the artist's vision when it comes to misogyny, racism, and anti-LGBT sentiments in video games you can go piss up a rope. I have no other words for you.
This. ^^^
Mistakes need to exist, to be made, noticed and critiqued for artists to grow and improve. Otherwise, we'll keep seeing the same things/issues over and over. That also applies to writers in Video Games too. :P
 

Rendering...

Member
Oct 30, 2017
9,709
Great insight here. I especially appreciate how you identified the disconnect between the artist's personal vision and the pragmatic realities of creating a product that the audience will experience as a finished thing, not some crystallization of a creative process that includes its own conceptual beginnings.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,951
You summed up perfectly what I wasn't able to. It was so frustrating seeing the "artists vision" argument pop up. Especially when it was used so inconsistently.
 

ASaiyan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,228
People act like Miyazaki is an auteur god or showing some kind of "moral courage" by not adding difficulty options. Whereas in reality, when someone on his team brought it up, he probably said, "Hmm, I'd rather spend our time working on other things", and then literally never thought about it again.

Not every individual aspect of a work is some carefully thought out, "visionary" decision, especially when what you're working on is ultimately a commercial product. And some of those decisions can and should be subjected to criticism.
 

Modal Soul

Member
Oct 27, 2017
103
Without criticism artists can't grow, I learned that a long, long, long time ago. This was really good insight, thanks for posting it!
 

YaBish

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Oct 27, 2017
2,335
Thank for you this insight. Connects a lot of dots between some thoughts I had about the creative process.
 

Dragon's Game

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Apr 1, 2019
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I don't know. I understand that these works are not purely artistic works. These are commercial products in a culture of capitalism

I guess i really have issue criticizing a game for "not having a thing" vs. "the quality of a thing in itself" because the former can apply to any game in existence.
 

Zacmortar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,362
Amazing write up! There is one thing, though, when it comes to these discussions, and its the weird rockstar mentality a lot of people have for directors.

Games are a collaborative work, but in the case of something like say Sekiroulsborne, anyone that isn't Miyazaki might as well be a nonexistant speck to a lot of people, which is another branch of shitty. When they use artistic vision, they typically solely mean Miyazaki with no care for the vast majority of other developers working on it. Same can be said for Kojima, and likely in time, Yoko Taro as well.(off the top of my head)

Forgive me if that was addressed, I can be dumb and not fully take in everything on first read
 

Lant_War

The Fallen
Jul 14, 2018
11,467
Amazing write up! There is one thing, though, when it comes to these discussions, and its the weird rockstar mentality a lot of people have for directors.

Games are a collaborative work, but in the case of something like say Sekiroulsborne, anyone that isn't Miyazaki might as well be a nonexistant speck to a lot of people, which is another branch of shitty. When they use artistic vision, they typically solely mean Miyazaki with no care for the vast majority of other developers working on it. Same can be said for Kojima, and likely in time, Yoko Taro as well.(off the top of my head)

Forgive me if that was addressed, I can be dumb and not fully take in everything on first read
Sekiroulsborne will never be a thing
 

Karlinel

Member
Nov 10, 2017
1,290
Art is a complex subject, and in videogames you mix it with the most ruthless capitalism. It’s my opinion that the art made for the masses must at least acknowledge the masses’ wishes and criticism, and not quell them using the vision card. Which is even more baffling is when CONSUMERS do this, not even having the artisan’s emotional link to the opus itself.

As I said in another thread: I bought Sekiro and I have the legitimacy to criticize its design; I bought Dragon’s Crown yet I find it grossly oversexualized and reprehensible. Artists are creators, but a team which creates a PRODUCT.
 

the_wart

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Oct 25, 2017
1,433
Great thread. Bloviation about the creator's vision comes up almost entirely in two topics: gatekeeping, in the form of difficulty levels or inclusion; and pandering to straight male tastes with big anime tiddies.

No one ever says you shouldn't criticize, e.g., a combat system or art style on the basis of it being "the creator's vision". That's an argument you fall back on when you can't or won't argue on the actual merits of the thing.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,614
Always found that to be a bit weird.
Like people don’t endlessly crap on design choices despite being what the developer intended.

Yes, a developer is free to do whatever they want.
No, we dont need to be ok/applaud it
 

BluePigGanon

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Oct 27, 2017
892
I'm a creative as well and understand a lot of what you're saying, but overall disagree. I do NOT believe there's something sacred about an creator's vision, don't get me wrong. But I have seen a shift in the past decade or so where a chunk of the most vocal internet audience has gradually begun to think of itself as a collaborator, co-creator, or even director. For some things - off the top of my head, any purely commercial endeavor with no meaningful amount of artistic intent... say, an actual commercial - that's fine. The audience's feedback can be useful to make a commercial thing more commercial, and if the goal is all the dollars from all the customers, then I guess that works.

But I do believe there is work with a vision, with a specific set of aesthetics or ideals or priorities that necessarily exclude or leave out others, because any interesting work cannot be universally enjoyed. And in those cases, I think of Andrew Keen's observation that the audience has never written a great novel, never composed a symphony, never made a great film. The audience is the audience and the creator is in charge... and I do think - even myself being a member of many audiences - it's good to remember that.

Finally, I feel strongly that "polarizing" isn't a bad thing, and in fact can be a great indicator of a great work. I think of Soderbergh's quip about "what would 2001's Rotten Tomatoes score have been?" My gut reaction when I see something like TLJ where people seem radically polarized on it is: wow it must be doing something interesting, then.
 

Dragon's Game

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I feel like criticism of a game not having something is really weird to me. Criticizing a feature of a game is one thing or an aspect within the game, but criticizing the product for not having something you want is just odd to me
 
Apr 9, 2019
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CLT
You've hit on a lot of what I've been trying to explain to my friends in this debate. Yes, the artist's vision is important in works of art from a creative standpoint. But when you're putting a product out in to the world, it's a whole different ballgame.
 

Acido

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Oct 31, 2017
823
Gamers, you don't need to be an intermediary or a speaker for our work
They simply can't do this. They have to shut down other people's valid criticism because it's not their own experience that they're worried about. What troubles them is the perception that the game and its player base give. It's pathetic
 

Glass Arrows

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Jan 10, 2019
1,413
I understand what you're saying and agree with most of it, but I would like to make a small caveat: I don't think taking the artist's intention and what their work is trying to achieve into account is totally irrelevant either. This doesn't have to mean a single visionary, teams and companies can have a vision as well.

Sure, nothing is sacrosanct and people should be free to disagree, but there are criticisms that have more to do with personal taste rather than a failure of execution or shortsightedness of the people who made the art, and which would not really be all that helpful or constructive to the product being made. And it's hard to determine that if you don't try to figure out what the work is going for in the first place, hence "vision". You should of course be allowed to voice your criticism, but you also need some self-awareness and realize what's really at the root of the problem.

That said, it's kind of hard to have even that conversation these days, and this nuance I'm describing is often lost on these people who don't understand how to have a good faith discussion and insist people are beyond criticism. Also I agree that anyone defending racism/misogyny/etc with "auteurs' vision" is being an ass.
 
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Razmos

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Oct 28, 2017
4,895
I feel like the Death of the Author trope covers this quite well, it's a good read
Although popular amongst postmodern critics, this has some concrete modernist thinking behind it as well, on the basis that the work is all that outlives the author (hence the concept's name) and we can only judge the work by the work itself. The author's later opinions about their work are themselves a form of criticism and analysis, and therefore are not necessarily consistent with what's written unless the author or publisher actively goes back and changes it—and it can still be argued that, since the original work still exists, the author has merely created a different version of it.
 

Budi

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Oct 25, 2017
9,576
Finland
Great write up. "Artistic vision" (in my experience) is usually just brought up when the criticism touches upon inclusion, no matter if it's accessibility or representation.
 

kitsuneyo

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Oct 28, 2017
586
Manchester, UK
So you're saying gamers shouldn't be afraid to criticise or try to shut down criticism of games because it's valid and useful to criticise artistic works?

Well, I haven't followed the Sekiro easy mode conversation, but it's sad that anyone needs to be told that.

That said, I believe an artist does have the right to realise their vision, even if that vision isn't palatable to some, and they even have the right to ignore criticism. But the public always has the right to criticise any work presented to us.
 

Gilver

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Nov 14, 2018
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I think defending the decisions of some games which are probably compromised versions of what it was pivoted in the beginning as is definitely subject to criticism but the line between product and art is definitely one that I take into account when supporting developers since no matter how many iterations a product goes through there will always be unnecessary design decisions that can be interpreted in many different ways but I value them every time my interpretation is a positive one and moreso when it does not feel cynical or corporate in nature.

So I do agree to some extent but sometimes a vision for a product is not mutated to the extent that the final version is a completely homogenized and optimized product. I personaly think the industry benefits more from appreciating auteurism because even if the product that comes out after the team effort is faulty those faults could be appreciated as much as what the game succeeds in. What came to my mind is Yoko Taro since ive never felt such a direct connection to someones personal philosophy in a game but that does not mean the rest of the game follows directly a singular vision but I value those creations moreso than creations that I interpret more as products and even if I wouldnt call that value sacred I will always take that into account because even if its near impossible to maintain vision in a video game its not impossible and should not be perceived as such.

That being said while most of this you are talking about is just people defending design decisions rather than just personally interpreting them I would not put these 2 types of people in the same camp.
 
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Squid Bunny

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Jun 11, 2018
1,924
Great read!

The "artist's vision" is worthless as a concept because no author owns the audience's reactions/interpretations. Death of the Author touches on that pretty thoroughly.
 

hikarutilmitt

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Dec 16, 2017
3,436
On the flip side, and not to be dismissive of the argument, disgregarding an artist's intent in a discussion you don't care for is just as bad as using it as a crutch for arguing for it. If I, as an artist, were to make some things and get fans, if the fans expected me to do one thing and I did another, would it be fair to criticize it just because I didn't give them what they wanted? I'm just making my thing the way I see fit and the chips fall where they fall. It's fine and fair to critique and want something, but it's your own fault, IMO, if you demand something and don't get it. You're not entitled to anything from them.
 

Flame Lord

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Oct 26, 2017
1,098
If people can critique a work, I think people should be able to critique those critiques. I don't necessarily see it as defending the artists, but defending the game/work and the parts of it I like. Not everyone is going to like something, so how is it fair for fans of something to lose a part of that something due to the critique of someone who wasn't interested in it in the first place? I remember talking with someone who was excited about the action gameplay in FFXV, while I was bummed about them maybe turning away from turn based gameplay for the series going on. In the end, I never even heard them mention that game again after that discussion. Meanwhile there's a sect of long time fans of the series who lost a part of it they re
 

Glass Arrows

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Jan 10, 2019
1,413
If people can critique a work, I think people should be able to critique those critiques. I don't necessarily see it as defending the artists, but defending the game/work and the parts of it I like. Not everyone is going to like something, so how is it fair for fans of something to lose a part of that something due to the critique of someone who wasn't interested in it in the first place? I remember talking with someone who was excited about the action gameplay in FFXV, while I was bummed about them maybe turning away from turn based gameplay for the series going on. In the end, I never even heard them mention that game again after that discussion. Meanwhile there's a sect of long time fans of the series who lost a part of it they re
I understand what you're saying, but I think what the OP is saying is that even being able to have nuanced conversations about people's critiques is often being lost, with people refusing to have them and thinking that an artist's intention is all that matters.
 

bigol

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Oct 27, 2017
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Without criticism artists can't grow, I learned that a long, long, long time ago. This was really good insight, thanks for posting it!
Let's take Miyazaki as an example because Sekiro sparked all this discussion.

You say that artists need feedback to improve like you are implying not adding difficulty selectors is some sort of sin. Honestly i see nothing wrong in what Miyazaki is doing and i think that is his idea too. He had so many years to receive feedback and probably read many people asking him for difficulty selectors but never changed a thing. Why? Because he is so confident in what he does that what people ask is not what he thinks a game challenge is.

Miyazaki doesn't need to have his vision defended, he already defends it by repeating with every single game he releases that he won't add difficulty selectors to his games because he doesn't think it's something good for the kind of games he does.

Everyone is free to criticize him as much as they want but at one point one must understand that not everything can be changed the way they want and some games are simply not for them.

The "artist's vision" is worthless as a concept because no author owns the audience's reactions/interpretations. Death of the Author touches on that pretty thoroughly.
An artist expresses his personal vision of the world with the tools he has. So, i think artist's vision is very much a thing that is important in distinguishing every piece of art from another one. I would not like a world where an artist must adhere to the general consensus about what is good or bad. That would be boring and the death of art.

And yes, i believe Miyazaki's games are art in the way they express the author's vision of the world.
 

Laser Man

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Oct 26, 2017
2,604
Those people don't really care about someones vision, all that talk is fanboyism and nothing else, they want to relate in some way or another to their favorite game and in extension, game-studio/director/actor. It's more egoism than actual appreciation.
 

Toney J

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,635
Great read!

The "artist's vision" is worthless as a concept because no author owns the audience's reactions/interpretations. Death of the Author touches on that pretty thoroughly.
Uh what? How is it worthless? The artist's vision is the heart and soul of a piece of art and the reason it ends up being good or bad. And it's sure as hell not the audience making the art.
 

Halfling

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Nov 1, 2017
2,469
On the flip side, and not to be dismissive of the argument, disgregarding an artist's intent in a discussion you don't care for is just as bad as using it as a crutch for arguing for it. If I, as an artist, were to make some things and get fans, if the fans expected me to do one thing and I did another, would it be fair to criticize it just because I didn't give them what they wanted? I'm just making my thing the way I see fit and the chips fall where they fall. It's fine and fair to critique and want something, but it's your own fault, IMO, if you demand something and don't get it. You're not entitled to anything from them.
Yes, it would be fair to criticise it? Just because you criticise it doesn't mean you think it's your god given right to something. This just seems like ignoring the argument entirely because "people like x".
 

blazinglazers

Member
Oct 27, 2017
102
Los Angeles
Gross.

The idea that in the year 2019 video game consumers are somehow unable to voice their opinions, or that developers are somehow insulated from the mass discussion of their work is literally insane.

You claim that somewhere, somehow, people's opinions on videogames are being silenced. You're posting this on a message board dedicated to debating videogames which runs 24-7-365, which you moderate.

You claim no one should "white knight" for game developers, when in reality should any developer venture online they risk confronting an endless toxic echo-chamber which will literally reach out and try to ruin their actual IRL lives should they land on the wrong side of whatever argument is being had.

Your point is muddled, since you seem to deride the impossibility of "artistic vision" in your personal work while upholding some nebulous "goal" of making things "enjoyable."

Strong artistic vision (be it from an individual or collective) is what gets you to the best works, in all mediums, always. Lack of artistic vision is what gets you Anthems.

Re: Sekiro, you're never getting an easy mode. And for the entitled consumers out there claiming this is somehow bad business, you need to understand that staying true to their artistic vision is precisely why From is financially successful. Not every consumer product is intended for every consumer.
 
OP
OP
Nepenthe

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
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Oct 25, 2017
6,467
My general thoughts are not that disagreement in turn is sacrosanct.

Again, I've turned down my fair share of criticism in my works before. I also believe that any kind of literary critique should be grounded in reasonable contexts. Like, I don't really expect a Biblical read on Sonic The Hedgehog to really have a strong logical foundation (although I'm not opposed to anyone surprising me.)

My point is that this is all a conversation. Media more than ever before is blurring the bridge between creator and audience and it's a good time to jump in on either side of the fence. Works should be allowed the room to grow and change regardless of whether or not the artist takes advantage of that space.

Like, if you want to make some degenerative piece of fiction like Hatred or Rape Day, go ahead. I can in turn call it degenerative garbage without you or anyone else coming in and saying I'm inherently violating some contract that says the mere act of making an artwork means that calling something like Hatred white supremacist drivel or Rape Day misogynistic trash fire is fundamentally or morally wrong.

And gamers have a habit of engaging in these kinds of shutdowns often, usually to protect a work from being changed. They turn it into a moral argument about censorship that fundamentally takes away the artist's agency to confront criticism on their own terms. It's annoying, and again insulting.
 

Toney J

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,635
Gross.

The idea that in the year 2019 video game consumers are somehow unable to voice their opinions, or that developers are somehow insulated from the mass discussion of their work is literally insane.

You claim that somewhere, somehow, people's opinions on videogames are being silenced. You're posting this on a message board dedicated to debating videogames which runs 24-7-365, which you moderate.

You claim no one should "white knight" for game developers, when in reality should any developer venture online they risk confronting an endless toxic echo-chamber which will literally reach out and try to ruin their actual IRL lives should they land on the wrong side of whatever argument is being had.

Your point is muddled, since you seem to deride the impossibility of "artistic vision" in your personal work while upholding some nebulous "goal" of making things "enjoyable."

Strong artistic vision (be it from an individual or collective) is what gets you to the best works, in all mediums, always. Lack of artistic vision is what gets you Anthems.

Re: Sekiro, you're never getting an easy mode. And for the entitled consumers out there claiming this is somehow bad business, you need to understand that staying true to their artistic vision is precisely why From is financially successful. Not every consumer product is intended for every consumer.
 

low-G

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,538
I just don't want games watered down to lowest common denominators, removing everything interesting & enriching in the process of 'smoothing out the edges'. Games are more vulnerable to that because of the enormous cost of game development.

But a lot of games show up to the show already at LCD anyways, so the loss of smoothing it out is negligible.
 

the_wart

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,433
You say that artists need feedback to improve like you are implying not adding difficulty selectors is some sort of sin.
Where on earth did that come from? This is exactly the kind of knee-jerk defensiveness that cuts off actual discussion.

No one is proposing legislation to force From Software to include difficulty modes. No one is debating whether or not they "have" to do anything. This point is completely irrelevant to the discussion of the actual merits of including difficulty modes or not.
 

the_wart

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,433
Gross.

The idea that in the year 2019 video game consumers are somehow unable to voice their opinions, or that developers are somehow insulated from the mass discussion of their work is literally insane.

You claim that somewhere, somehow, people's opinions on videogames are being silenced. You're posting this on a message board dedicated to debating videogames which runs 24-7-365, which you moderate.

You claim no one should "white knight" for game developers, when in reality should any developer venture online they risk confronting an endless toxic echo-chamber which will literally reach out and try to ruin their actual IRL lives should they land on the wrong side of whatever argument is being had.

Your point is muddled, since you seem to deride the impossibility of "artistic vision" in your personal work while upholding some nebulous "goal" of making things "enjoyable."

Strong artistic vision (be it from an individual or collective) is what gets you to the best works, in all mediums, always. Lack of artistic vision is what gets you Anthems.

Re: Sekiro, you're never getting an easy mode. And for the entitled consumers out there claiming this is somehow bad business, you need to understand that staying true to their artistic vision is precisely why From is financially successful. Not every consumer product is intended for every consumer.
Equating the discussion around accessibility and difficulty modes with harassment is absurd and insulting. People concerned about accessibility and inclusiveness are not the ones leading harassment campaigns.
 

SaintBowWow

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,638
Gamers treat artists as this special class of folks that are under attack.

It's honestly creepy, and infantalizing to me. I'm an adult; I can handle the thought of someone telling me my work is problematic on some level. Because I want to know these things! I want to know the weak links and blind spots! How else can I get better?

Certainly not by living in a world where the audience insists that my fleeting ideas and processes are sacrosanct, or worse yet that if I did change anything on being convinced by the arguments of my audience it's because I was coerced or forced, as if I'm incapable of coming to decisions about the quality of my work, or that my self-description as an artist means I magically have all the answers.
But the thing is that Miyazaki (because c'mon, this is a Sekiro topic) has not been shielded from hearing that his games are considered very difficult. It's the main things anyone has talked about in regards to his work and he has commented on he way his games are designed the way they are:

"We don't want to include a difficulty selection because we want to bring everyone to the same level of discussion and the same level of enjoyment," Miyazaki said. "So we want everyone … to first face that challenge and to overcome it in some way that suits them as a player."
The creator continued: "We want everyone to feel that sense of accomplishment. We want everyone to feel elated and to join that discussion on the same level. We feel if there's different difficulties, that's going to segment and fragment the user base. People will have different experiences based on that [differing difficulty level]. This is something we take to heart when we design games. It's been the same way for previous titles and it's very much the same with Sekiro."
So he's heard the criticisms but decided they didn't present an argument worth changing his vision over. The OP presumes that the "artistic vision" argument means that nobody should ever be allowed to question Miyazaki on his design choices, but really it means that he's specifically commented on why his games don't have the oft-requested easy mode so if thats a deal breaker for you then play something different.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,479
U.S.
I suppose I can agree with the argument being made when it comes to collaborative work and video games as products, but ultimately, regardless of criticism, an artist has the right to make whatever they want, and they can also choose to ignore criticisms that may or may not be valid, it isn't their duty to listen. I won't even bother mentioning art that isn't produced for consumers because that's a completely different realm.

I guess this has more to do with gamers complaining about censorship when a team decides to change something in response to feedback/backlash, I don't have as much to say about that, teams can make changes if they feel like they should; if harassment is involved in their decision that's not so cool.
 
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Necron

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,414
Switzerland
Gross.

The idea that in the year 2019 video game consumers are somehow unable to voice their opinions, or that developers are somehow insulated from the mass discussion of their work is literally insane.

You claim that somewhere, somehow, people's opinions on videogames are being silenced. You're posting this on a message board dedicated to debating videogames which runs 24-7-365, which you moderate.

You claim no one should "white knight" for game developers, when in reality should any developer venture online they risk confronting an endless toxic echo-chamber which will literally reach out and try to ruin their actual IRL lives should they land on the wrong side of whatever argument is being had.

Your point is muddled, since you seem to deride the impossibility of "artistic vision" in your personal work while upholding some nebulous "goal" of making things "enjoyable."

Strong artistic vision (be it from an individual or collective) is what gets you to the best works, in all mediums, always. Lack of artistic vision is what gets you Anthems.

Re: Sekiro, you're never getting an easy mode. And for the entitled consumers out there claiming this is somehow bad business, you need to understand that staying true to their artistic vision is precisely why From is financially successful. Not every consumer product is intended for every consumer.
Agree here with these points. OP, your reasoning also sounds as if the consumer should be the co-creator of the next work. The constant feedback loop of listening to the audience (all or most of the time) runs the risk of any original work; a game for everyone yet pleasing no one. We have seen this happening.
 

bigol

User requested ban
Banned
Oct 27, 2017
1,390
Where on earth did that come from? This is exactly the kind of knee-jerk defensiveness that cuts off actual discussion.

No one is proposing legislation to force From Software to include difficulty modes. No one is debating whether or not they "have" to do anything. This point is completely irrelevant to the discussion of the actual merits of including difficulty modes or not.
So, maybe i'm dumb, what are the actual merits?
 

Glass Arrows

Member
Jan 10, 2019
1,413
But the thing is that Miyazaki (because c'mon, this is a Sekiro topic)
It didn't have to be. People made it one. It COULD apply to Sekiro but it was never supposed to be specifically about From, people just wanted to take the conversation in that direction. OP specifically said that it could apply to any hot-button situation.
 

Modal Soul

Member
Oct 27, 2017
103
Let's take Miyazaki as an example because Sekiro sparked all this discussion.

You say that artists need feedback to improve like you are implying not adding difficulty selectors is some sort of sin. Honestly i see nothing wrong in what Miyazaki is doing and i think that is his idea too. He had so many years to receive feedback and probably read many people asking him for difficulty selectors but never changed a thing. Why? Because he is so confident in what he does that what people ask is not what he thinks a game challenge is.

Miyazaki doesn't need to have his vision defended, he already defends it by repeating with every single game he releases that he won't add difficulty selectors to his games because he doesn't think it's something good for the kind of games he does.

Everyone is free to criticize him as much as they want but at one point one must understand that not everything can be changed the way they want and some games are simply not for them.



An artist expresses his personal vision of the world with the tools he has. So, i think artist's vision is very much a thing that is important in distinguishing every piece of art from another one. I would not like a world where an artist must adhere to the general consensus about what is good or bad. That would be boring and the death of art.

And yes, i believe Miyazaki's games are art in the way they express the author's vision of the world.
Hi, I guess this is from the other discussion thread. If you wanna go on a tangent about how Miyazaki doesn't need to change because he's so confident in his game then why is it such a big deal to you? The game should speak for itself, right? There's more to his vision than vague imagery in the combat, right? So the question then becomes, how does one manner of criticism diminish what you personally felt about the game? It doesn't, and that's the problem. You want to insert that everyone is free to criticize him as much, but it doesn't matter because my opinion is invalid to the majority of the fanbase?
 
OP
OP
Nepenthe

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,467
The idea that in the year 2019 video game consumers are somehow unable to voice their opinions, or that developers are somehow insulated from the mass discussion of their work is literally insane.
Weird because every time someone decides to say that a work is degrading to minorities I see a bunch of people telling them to stop because it's censorship.

You claim that somewhere, somehow, people's opinions on videogames are being silenced. You're posting this on a message board dedicated to debating videogames which runs 24-7-365, which you moderate.
Yeah. I moderate this place. It means I'm keen to the bullshit rhetoric gamers pull on the daily.

Your point is muddled, since you seem to deride the impossibility of "artistic vision" in your personal work while upholding some nebulous "goal" of making things "enjoyable."
You missed the point. These are not mutually exclusive concepts. Having a vision or idea doesn't preclude the vision from changing by the very nature of how games are made. Things get thrown out or changed daily. Lots of things don't even make it past the concept stage. This idea that details are sacrosanct, especially in a world where games can enter ongoing development after release, and is- honestly- some bullshit gamers made up to defend violence and sexual objectification of women. It's a facade.

Sekiro, you're never getting an easy mode.
I don't give a fuck about Sekiro.
 

the_wart

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,433
So, maybe i'm dumb, what are the actual merits?
This thread is not about the specific merits of any specific design decision, despite the obvious subtext. The point is that whether or not a given design decision is the "creator's vision" is a) irrelevant for that discussion and b) in many cases unknowable or meaningless.
 

Modal Soul

Member
Oct 27, 2017
103
My general thoughts are not that disagreement in turn is sacrosanct.

Again, I've turned down my fair share of criticism in my works before. I also believe that any kind of literary critique should be grounded in reasonable contexts. Like, I don't really expect a Biblical read on Sonic The Hedgehog to really have a strong logical foundation (although I'm not opposed to anyone surprising me.)

My point is that this is all a conversation. Media more than ever before is blurring the bridge between creator and audience and it's a good time to jump in on either side of the fence. Works should be allowed the room to grow and change regardless of whether or not the artist takes advantage of that space.

Like, if you want to make some degenerative piece of fiction like Hatred or Rape Day, go ahead. I can in turn call it degenerative garbage without you or anyone else coming in and saying I'm inherently violating some contract that says the mere act of making an artwork means that calling something like Hatred white supremacist drivel or Rape Day misogynistic trash fire is fundamentally or morally wrong.

And gamers have a habit of engaging in these kinds of shutdowns often, usually to protect a work from being changed. They turn it into a moral argument about censorship that fundamentally takes away the artist's agency to confront criticism on their own terms. It's annoying, and again insulting.
And it's treated as an inconvenience rather than something worth discussing. Because when an artist says they won't change the way they do something, it automatically discards valid criticism. People don't want to hear it, because people are comfortable with what they have and do not want to compromise in genuine arguments.
 

zMiiChy-

Member
Dec 12, 2017
640
It didn't have to be. People made it one. It COULD apply to Sekiro but it was never supposed to be specifically about From, people just wanted to take the conversation in that direction. OP specifically said that it could apply to any hot-button situation.
Not specifically referring to Sekiro in the first introductory sentence of the OP could have avoided such.

Although most likely unintentional, having ANTI LGBT sentiment and utter misogyny being the only other potential facets of artistic vision distinctly mentioned in this topic so far doesn't help either.