The Worthlessness of The Artist's Vision

Calvarok

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,554
As you said, this applies more to things that dont find an audience vs things that find a specific but sizable one. I agree that the way we talk about these things is often warped in strange ways, and that covers many more facets than this one.

Still, these seem like intelligent thoughts.
 
OP
OP
Nepenthe

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,467
Thank you for taking the time to discuss and elaborate on this with me. The above really expounds your position in a way I didn't fully get before. Which is likely due to me having misread or taken the wrong angle from your other posts alongside having not fully thought out my own position on it. So apologies as I know that can be frustrating, it's somewhat embarrassing that you managed to articulate and pinpoint my own opinion better than I had until now.

We effectively share the same opinion but yours was more succinct than mine. I'd been suggesting that it's alright when used in conjunction with detailed criticism without appreciating how redundant that makes the phrase in turn. Your points on the blunt feedback still having more value are true and obvious in hindsight even when thinking back to how you account for it as an artist. Someone saying it's shit is still acknowledged as negative feedback where 'but artistic vision' would be meaningless, and only ever used to dismiss criticism as there's no point in ever saying it to the artist themselves.

Anyway, that last post is a great one. Highlighted both the pointlessness of the phrase and that I should probably consider my own position more before wading into a discussion at 6am after being up all night with jetlag.
I actually convinced someone of something after an initial disagreement over the Internet.



I'm quite humbled by this response, and I will take some responsibility over how poorly my thoughts are communicated sometimes. I can rarely hit the core of my thoughts the first time around and need some encouragement to elaborate better. (My sarcasm also doesn't help. I like being playfully snarky so I will apologize for that too. Doesn't help at all sometimes!)

I also think you further dug to the heart of the matter with even more brevity. No one would ever compliment an artist for having a vision. It's a useless thing to compliment me on. "Yes, I had a vision. What did you think of it?"

I'll put that in my mental swipe file for next time. Thank you. And also good night. I need to be up in four hours.
 

Lumi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,718
It's been bugging the heck out of me how patronizing it is. This idea that an artist's vision is infallible until it's been "corrupted" by outside influence, as if artists can't think for themselves. It's strange too for anyone to deem an artist's vision uncompromising while also fearing that it can be easily influenced.
 

naff

Member
Oct 29, 2017
49
assuming you meant sanctity? no idea what sanctibility means.

this gets me too. i think there is, in general, a move away from this kind of high mindedness regarding the auteurs vision. you get situations, like with the Sekiro example, where a set of choices are considered by the fans important or integral to an auteurs vision and deviation from those choices threatens something the fans love. the facade of impregnability and mystique of the Souls games is so important for the series, discussion of accessibility and ease is antithetical to what made the game so intriguing in the first place. From Software and Miyazaki understand that. though i do think that series is kinda becoming the new CoD of RPGs, i don't think they're particularly excited to follow that path quite yet. i remember that initial release and word of mouth, getting a chinese copy with bad translation of DeSo. it was enigmatic and thrilling. the controversy, and mild outcry around Sekiro is only playing into the series' reputation, though unavoidably feels manufactured. moving away from the series/looking in other directions seems like a great move!

i agree overall while the director and their vision as just another crew member is overplayed, they are a figurehead and an important tool used from politics to videogames. seems obvious their vision is not sacrosanct, but nonetheless having enough of it that a work has direction and feels individual and not designed by committee is important too. standing out is so important in a sea of creatively bankrupt pastiche. often when the individual buys into that idea and have enough success and power to exploit it their work suffers. eg Kojima, Ridley Scott, Kathryn Bigelow, George Lucas. but then some work is also fucking incredible that is totally insane and ego driven eg Starship Troopers (though really an addendum of Robocops satire, so maybe more pandering to commercial sensibility than i thought?...), this also doesn't seem to happen that much anymore. like, if you manage to be breakout hit, instead of getting a blank cheque to make a new film of your choosing, you'll get given the reigns to be the big shot behind a new Marvel movie or something. very nebulous thread anyway. i quite liked this interview with Claire Denis where she rebuts this idea of the artist https://www.vulture.com/2019/04/claire-denis-high-life-interview.html
 
Oct 26, 2017
16,001
Fantastic OP that really resonated with me. As someone who has been in theatre both as an actor and a director, the idea of the "artist’s vision", as is often applied in these discussions, has always struck me as particularly misguided when it comes to collaborative works. I‘ve been in productions where the director was stubborn about their "vision" and it ended up backfiring spectacularly. On the other hand, we made our most accomplished and emotionally resonant work when I took the opinions of my actors into account and conceded them some room for expression.

I find it incredibly presumptuous of people to attribute the validity of an artistic work to the sole immutable vision of a singular "artiste" rather than its merits achieved through an arduous creative process that takes into account all the contributing elements. People seem to be enamoured with this idea of auteurship because it gives them the feeling that they have been given access to a creative’s brilliant mind untarnished from any outside influence when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Twin Peak’s isn’t any less David Lynch’s just because of Frost’s involvement. The same goes for Metal Gear Solid, Kojima and Fukushima, or really any person who took part in the creation.

People have brought up countless examples why this concept, from a consumer’s perspective, has little merit. While the room for expressing one’s artistic vision, whatever shape it may ultimately take, is worth preserving, said vision isn’t inherently valid.
 

FiveSide

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,761
I agree with the second half of the OP which I believe is the important and operative part of the post. No one needs to white knight an artist's intention or vision, it's as disingenuous as arguing about what I ate for dinner yesterday and insisting that it was healthy. I ate dinner by myself and you weren't there, and for all you know it was trashy Burger King. Don't speak for me like it was a salad and that I always eat salads like a model of health and wellness. Sometimes I make shitty decisions and in hindsight I'll stand by how shitty they were, with a grimace if necessary, but I can say for a fact that the grimace increases exponentially when I'm told ex post facto, by someone with no knowledge of the process, that it was a good decision.

I do disagree conceptually with a lot of the first half of the post though. I find that a lot of artists have a certain melancholy resignation about diluting their vision in a collaborative context (and God forbid, in a context where that collaboration is from the audience of all people). From my experience, I find the opposite to be true: the more people are involved, the more there needs to be one central person who really does not want to budge on the core of what the art is going to be about, and how it's going to go about conveying that germ of an idea. To take everything from everywhere under consideration is inevitably a winnowing process where, if you don't hold fast on the core of the vision, you end up with something flavorless. Humility is very important because you want people to like working with you, but it becomes a problem when you attach only coequal (or even lesser) value to your own intuition as to the comments and opinions of others.
I find it incredibly presumptuous of people to attribute the validity of an artistic work to the sole immutable vision of a singular "artiste" rather than its merits achieved through an arduous creative process that takes into account all the contributing elements. People seem to be enamoured with this idea of auteurship because it gives them the feeling that they have been given access to a creative’s brilliant mind untarnished from any outside influence when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Twin Peak’s isn’t any less David Lynch’s just because of Frost’s involvement. The same goes for Metal Gear Solid, Kojima and Fukushima, or really any person who took part in the creation.

People have brought up countless examples why this concept, from a consumer’s perspective, has little merit. While the room for expressing one’s artistic vision, whatever shape it may ultimately take, is worth preserving, said vision isn’t inherently valid.
It's not presumptuous at all in situations where a director's singular vision does indeed inform every major element of the collaborative work. There is a sort of false dichotomy in these discussions where everyone assumes either there is no functional central auteur or, on the other hand, the auteur is being stubborn and single-minded about absolutely everything. The whole point of the director is they take individual expression from their collaborators and bundle it editorially into a whole that is thematically and tonally cogent. Whenever that is done exceptionally well, it is absolutely the work of an auteur. All material has been used to further a single vision.

And I suppose this is functionally "an arduous creative process that takes into account all the contributing elements" but ultimately an accounting of the collaborative elements doesn't negate the centrality of the auteur in the work. It can still be absolutely their own immutable vision and also be informed by the expression of others, in fact it pretty much is 100% of the time.
 
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ThatPersonGuy

Member
Dec 30, 2018
154
EDIT: Actually, upon rereading the thread I feel like I was dancing around eggshells too much, hopefully this gets to the core of what I want to say more

OP, I feel like this entire thread rests upon the shoulders of one absolutely gigantic strawman. The whole implicit argument behind the “artistic intent” line of thinking isn’t this idea that because a decision was intentional it is good, it’s that there was a decision, and the decision was good. To take nobody’s favorite example, the line of reasoning follows that Sekiro is good because the brutal design and difficulty play into each other and make the game better. Tbh that specific argument for/against has nothing to do with artistic integrity, but we fucking digress.

You can make a statement that you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy x part of a game, but when the argument turns to “y thing NEEDS to be in the game”, your argument shifts from “why I personally want y thing” to “why y thing would build upon and improve the core concepts of the game”, whatever you argue them to be, or at least “why adding y thing wouldn’t detract from those concepts and themes”, because the artist isn’t obliged to make everything comfortable for the viewer (accessibility and comfort are fundamentally different things), but there is or should be the want/need to make the best game possible. And, along the Argument that Must Not Be Named, the argument for (that I’ve kind of been won over by) is precisely that: Ez mode wouldn’t hurt the game’s themes or design, so if there’s nothing to lose then you might as well add it in and get a bigger audience, unless you’re more concerned with keeping people out than solidifying your core themes.
 
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Oct 29, 2017
3,755
The idea of an artist's vision being sacrosanct is not only disingenuous, but also damaging in its own right. The best works come out of a collaborative approach, where an artist's ideas and concepts are filtered and edited by others who can view them from differing perspectives. Comparing the Star Wars prequel trilogy to the original trilogy perhaps makes this distinction clearer than pretty much anything else. The prequels followed Lucas' vision more or less unchallenged and they were far worse works than the originals, which had the likes of Irvin Kershner to temper Lucas' ideas and turn them into great cinema...

... that being said though? The audience never knows what it wants and they are the worst people to listen to for ideas and feedback. You do that, and you get this...


As always, there really is a Simpsons clip for everything
Design by committee always ends up as unfocused garbage. Design by focus group always ends up as lower common denominator garbage. Constructive feedback is genuinely useful when taken on board, but the solution to a problem has to come from the creative team behind any piece of media; not its audience.

Art is not created in a vacuum. It takes on board everything surrounding the artist and yes, audience feedback can be part of that, but it mustn't be the key driver. An artistic vision is not sacrosanct, but an artistic vision absolutely needs to be the heart and soul of any given creation.

Constructive critisism and collaboration can turn a good work into a great one, but design that is driven mainly by its audience can't be anything more than worthless.
 

Roygbiv95

Alt account
Banned
Jan 24, 2019
1,037
OP, do you find yourself in the position of working on creative projects that result in audiences worshiping your vision? That's gotta be weird. What's something you've worked on, if you don't mind my asking?

Also I think some of the friction in the replies ITT might be due to your phrasing which reads as kinda vague to me, or maybe I'm not smart enough to see the bigger picture. It sounds like your main point is "just because an artist is renown for having a creative vision doesn't mean they are free of critique", which seems like a pretty common sense observation, or at least you'd think/hope so.

Even auteurs in the games industry like Kojima and Tim Schafer have been open about their creative process being mostly collaborative. You're not there to dictate what the good/bad creative decisions are. You're there to react to ideas in a way that bring the best out of your team. There is not ego stroking involved if you're good at your job because you use psychology, humility and emotional intelligence to inspire/influence everyone around you to work at their peak. If you're in a leadership role, as sharp as your ideas may be, things often go smoother when you approach your role as a whetstone, instead of a blade. At that point everyone should be on the same page in knowing which ideas to cut and which to keep.

That said, I do believe in the concept of a rare talent, that should be respected. Not just technical skill, but there are artists who have a style of music production, singing, guitar playing, illustrating, etc, that I find to be simply inimitable. Art is mostly about perspective of the artist, but that along with a style can be something that's very much unique to them, and in some cases collaborators should have the ability to recognize that and default to it instead of trying to step on toes. I have a hard time accepting that someone on Tarantino's film crew could school him on how to improve his dialogue writing, or that most any other cinematographer could significantly evolve Emanual Lubezki's approach, for example. Not that they should be stanned by fans of their work, but sometimes an artist really is just that good imo.

This goes for audiences as well imo. I think conversations about anything in general are always better when everyone involved carries the weight of critical thinking instead of expressing "their take", and arguing it into the ground, which you see a lot, especially on message boards.

It seems like you mostly agree with this? If I'm misunderstanding your points, could you maybe give an anecdote/example that illustrates what you're getting at more specifically (I've read all 5 pages of the thread and it seems like you didn't provide one, and doing so imo might help clarify your points and result in more productive debate).
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,991
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.
THANK YOU. I will bookmark this post as it perfectly encapsulates my thoughts about my own work.
 

jahasaja

Member
Oct 26, 2017
731
Sweden
Artists aren't immune from criticism, obviously. But criticism of art should address artistic failures. If a game's difficulty is poorly done, if it's arbitrary or unfair, that's an artistic failure. "The game is too hard for some people" is not an artistic failure. When people say this, they seem to think that difficulty is nothing but an annoying hindrance to the real art, which is the story or the characters or exploring the world. That's not true. The entire experience is the art, and difficulty is an integral element of it, an element that the artist tunes deliberately to create a certain experience.

Game creators manipulate difficulty to make players feel the way they want them to feel at certain moments. "I want the player to feel in awe of this boss." "I want the player to be afraid of this enemy." "I want the player to feel nervous in this room." "I want the player to feel accomplished when they've made it through this area." If game creators feel protective of the experience they've labored over and fine-tuned to be a certain way and to provoke certain emotions at certain times, I think they should have a right to feel that way. This is a right that we readily grant to painters, musicians, filmmakers, and writers. We should extend it to game designers too.
Wow, amazingly well argued.

As for the OP points, obviously any kind of art should be able to be critizised but that does not mean that the vision of the artist is worthless. Quite the contrary since achieving your vision is extremely difficult but not, as OP seems to imply, impossible.
 
Oct 26, 2017
16,001
It's not presumptuous at all in situations where a director's singular vision does indeed inform every major element of the collaborative work. There is a sort of false dichotomy in these discussions where everyone assumes either there is no functional central auteur or, on the other hand, the auteur is being stubborn and single-minded about absolutely everything. The whole point of the director is they take individual expression from their collaborators and bundle it editorially into a whole that is thematically and tonally cogent. Whenever that is done exceptionally well, it is absolutely the work of an auteur. All material has been used to further a single vision.

And I suppose this is functionally "an arduous creative process that takes into account all the contributing elements" but ultimately an accounting of the collaborative elements doesn't negate the centrality of the auteur in the work. It can still be absolutely their own immutable vision and also be informed by the expression of others, in fact it pretty much is 100% of the time.
Let's not inflate the voice or authorship of a director with their vision. They are two fundamentally different things. Thor Ragnarok is still unmistakably a Taika Waititi film despite it being built within the confines of the Marvel Studios structure. You can still find a lot of the same off-kilter humour and his unique comedic timing in many aspects of the film. I am not disputing that.

But the "artist's vision" line is almost exclusively trotted out to accuse people of standing in the way of those artists realizing their pure, detailed concept as a piece of art. Any assumptions about an artists intentions and how those were achieved in the final product are, in fact, presumptuous and based on spotty information.
 

Jiminy

Avenger
Mar 29, 2018
3,621
Amazing post and thread.

Creative work is a black box. You can only see inside it if you've been through the repeated train wrecks that led to the end product and the honing of your craft.

My mantra has always been "the first draft is what the creator wants, the final draft is what the consumer wants". Your original vision/idea will probably NOT work and you need to go on a huge journey to make it something others care about.

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.
One hundred per cent. To boot, it probably came up repeatedly during development, especially during QA when feedback would come back saying loads of things were too hard.
 
OP
OP
Nepenthe

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,467
OP, do you find yourself in the position of working on creative projects that result in audiences worshiping your vision? That's gotta be weird. What's something you've worked on, if you don't mind my asking?

Also I think some of the friction in the replies ITT might be due to your phrasing which reads as kinda vague to me, or maybe I'm not smart enough to see the bigger picture. It sounds like your main point is "just because an artist is renown for having a creative vision doesn't mean they are free of critique", which seems like a pretty common sense observation, or at least you'd think/hope so.
I am high as a kite from lack of sleep so forgive any weirdness in this response.

I have not found myself in the position of being popular enough to have a significant amount of detractors. I have a near-nonexistent fanbase that enjoys what I put out, but not enough to defend me to the death over it.

That being said, my point doesn't concern itself with the individuality of any artist's style. My point is that "the argument over whether or not a work is flawed or should change is never dependent upon the artist having a vision."

Look up any discussion on localization of Japanese games to see this phenomenon in action. People want to experience "the artist's vision" untainted by the tendrils of westernization without any regard for cultural differences that make direct translation impossible, or even any knowledge of how the fucking devs feel about western localization! No one asked or looked into these people's opinions about the process. They project onto artists this existential crisis over having their work changed because they themselves feel they're missing out on something important (but they'll be damned to make the effort to learn Japanese.)

For something more specific than that, look into the controversy where a victory pose for Tracer was changed because audience members made the argument that it objectified her beyond the boundaries of her character and Blizzard agreed of their own volition, and how this is still characterized as "SJWs forcing Blizzard to compromise their vision," even though by the inherent nature of Blizzard agreeing with that criticism does the change become part of their vision.

Basically, gamers utilize artists themselves as emotional appeals to deny the ability for works to change regardless of what the artists themselves think. It's annoying and dismissive.
 

Zelas

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
4,492
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.
This is ridiculously presumptuous. YOU reached a point in your life where you cared more about catering to the audience than personal achievement. It is not impossible that someone else just wants to succeed at making something very specific and that they alone would be the judge of whether that goal was reached. Or that they want to craft an experience rather than reach as many wallets as possible.

Many people only tolerate the commercial aspects because it allows them to continue to do what they actually want. Even if a fraction of people truly understand and respect their vision. Souls fans, above many, definitely strive to appreciate Miyazaki’s work more than just “wanting a product.”
 
OP
OP
Nepenthe

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,467
This is ridiculously presumptuous. YOU reached a point in your life where you cared more about catering to the audience than personal achievement.
In a thread about the audience not speaking for the artist you seem really intent on doing that for me.
 
OP
OP
Nepenthe

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,467
There have been plenty of Miyazki interviews rehashed by now to know that isnt true
I guess you missed my long diatribe on the last page about how I literally do not give a single fuck about Miyazaki or Sekiro, because this thread isn't about either despite my unfortunate timing in posting this during its early release period.
 

Squid Bunny

Member
Jun 11, 2018
1,924
For some reason I'm finding it difficult to express my disagreement with that line of thought. I want to say that the late acclaim of his novel probably had nothing to do with some sort of failure in communicating his vision, it's more likely that his vision had greater appeal to people reading at that point in time, or perhaps even more likely, it was luck. Most successful art is received positively because the artist's vision was powerful and well communicated, not because it incidentally had some unintentional meaning. To say that an artist's vision is "worthless" doesn't really make sense for that reason. Might be worth mentioning that I don't make art collaboratively, and most of my experience is in fine arts and museum styled work, so I feel sort of disconnected from artists that work on commercial products and with teams.
Oh, I never meant his late acclaim was due to a failure in vision. You can even say the late acclaim is a testament to Melville's quality. My overall point is that in the end it doesn't matter if we enjoy Moby Dick today because we see it in way completely different than what Melville ever had intended. What matters is that the work stands, as is.

The point, in the end, is when people talk about playing Sekiro on easy mode as "disrupting" an artist's vision, when that vision is, in truth, worthless as to how we enjoy a work of art. For example, you can say that speedrunners (of older games, not these most recent ones with speedrun modes) enjoy games completely differently from what any developer ever intended, but that is not in any means any disrespect towards them.

On the other hand, you can obviously like something as the artist intended (in games, it's much easier to determine intention since subtly guiding the player towards something is what game design is all about). For example, I'm pretty sure the sheer joy I get from jumping around with Mario and exploring in Super Mario Odyssey is what developers had in mind when creating the game. But even if it wasn't, it doesn't really matter, as I still enjoyed myself.

Not to mention when an artist has a clear vision, but lacks in execution. For example, the TV show Life Sentence had a damn good premise, a terrific pitch: a woman suddenly discovers her terminal cancer is cured and now has to deal with the fact that the people around her sort of expected her to die and thus made a few life choices that weren't thinking on the long-term. The problem is that the execution was just bad, and the show just... sucked. Cases like this are clearly the most frustrating when it comes to any sort of art.

It's also interesting to note that a lot of times even the artist stumbles on something interesting while making his work that wasn't really in his original "vision". Tarantino says that he doesn't start writing stories thinking of their themes and such at first. Instead, he writes them and then notices the themes that sort of unconsciously made it into the page. After that, he builds more on those themes as he edits.

This post has gone on long enough, but in conclusion: this topic is fascinating, and I could go on and on. When I say the artist's vision is worthless, I mean in the eyes of whoever is consuming his/her work of art. Of course, when it comes to MAKING art, vision is important. It's what allows your work to soar (although with a bungled execution the fall is much greater). But enjoyment of art doesn't come from the consumer following that vision, it comes from the consumer reacting emotionally to it.
 
OP
OP
Nepenthe

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,467
The point, in the end, is when people talk about playing Sekiro on easy mode as "disrupting" an artist's vision, when that vision is, in truth, worthless as to how we enjoy a work of art. For example, you can say that speedrunners (of older games, not these most recent ones with speedrun modes) enjoy games completely differently from what any developer ever intended, but that is not in any means any disrespect towards them.
I will highlight this as a good example of what I mean, and Jim even brings it up in the video. I myself am no stranger to taking advantage of unintended exploits (fire hopping is the best way to play Mario Kart 8, for example.) We allow for the audience to happily break or alter a developer's work all the time without regard for their "vision."
 

kdillman

Member
May 12, 2018
12
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.
Thank you! I know a lot of people will disagree, but some of us in-industry are happy to know we're not going crazy.
 

Roygbiv95

Alt account
Banned
Jan 24, 2019
1,037
I am high as a kite from lack of sleep so forgive any weirdness in this response.

I have not found myself in the position of being popular enough to have a significant amount of detractors. I have a near-nonexistent fanbase that enjoys what I put out, but not enough to defend me to the death over it.

That being said, my point doesn't concern itself with the individuality of any artist's style. My point is that "the argument over whether or not a work is flawed or should change is never dependent upon the artist having a vision."

Look up any discussion on localization of Japanese games to see this phenomenon in action. People want to experience "the artist's vision" untainted by the tendrils of westernization without any regard for cultural differences that make direct translation impossible, or even any knowledge of how the fucking devs feel about western localization! No one asked or looked into these people's opinions about the process. They project onto artists this existential crisis over having their work changed because they themselves feel they're missing out on something important (but they'll be damned to make the effort to learn Japanese.)

For something more specific than that, look into the controversy where a victory pose for Tracer was changed because audience members made the argument that it objectified her beyond the boundaries of her character and Blizzard agreed of their own volition, and how this is still characterized as "SJWs forcing Blizzard to compromise their vision," even though by the inherent nature of Blizzard agreeing with that criticism does the change become part of their vision.

Basically, gamers utilize artists themselves as emotional appeals to deny the ability for works to change regardless of what the artists themselves think. It's annoying and dismissive.
I'm a bit confused with what you wrote in the bolded statement. I might be wrong in assuming this, but it seems like you're projecting a specific context to the term "vision"? Is it in the sense that a term like "visionary", like the word "genius", can be overvalued and not particularly useful? If so, agreed. Beyond that, just wondering what you may/may not be inferring when you use that term in the context of the main point you're making?

The examples you gave that vent about the superfluous whining of fandoms, weebs and "gamers" I also agree with. I feel like it circles back to my point about how you'd hope the public who experiences what you make and/or other fans of an artist you like to be considerate and open minded and put critical thinking skills into action when discussing it, especially when it respects the audience's intelligence. There are definitely examples of this going horribly wrong (Rick and Morty, the band Tool, for example) which ultimately sometimes result in the creative work being devalued/dismissed/undermined/etc over time.
 
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60fps

Member
Dec 18, 2017
2,334
I came here expecting something interesting but seriously, this is too esotheric for me. Can someone please summarize the meaning of the OP in one simple sentence?
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,479
U.S.
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Nepenthe

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,467
Thank you! I know a lot of people will disagree, but some of us in-industry are happy to know we're not going crazy.
Glad to hear I'm onto something with industry folks. xD
I'm a bit confused with what you wrote in the bolded statement. I might be wrong in assuming this, but it seems like you're projecting a specific context to the term "vision"? Is it in the sense that a term like "visionary", like the word "genius", can be overvalued and not particularly useful? If so, agreed. Beyond that, just wondering what you may/may not be inferring when you use that term in the context of the main point you're making?
"Vision" just means "idea" or "concept."

One of the first things you learn in the collaborative art field is that ideas are fleeting and carry the burden of proof. Nothing is sacred, because you don't know until you have an animatic or get that demo going whether or not your idea is even feasible or enjoyable in the first place. Things will have to get thrown out. You cannot get too attached until the project is "locked in-" unable to be changed without risking the budget and deadlines.

Now this doesn't mean you can't have an idea in general you want to explore, something you're excited about. Sometimes your vision is exciting, and artists should pursue what lights their fire. What it means is that you will have to be open to Its malleability, both during production and when it's released. Otherwise, you'd go crazy...or get fired.

These experiences simply run counter to how gamers constantly express some sort of holiness or untouchable quality of the "artist's vision." That vision has already been changed and iterated upon thousands of times before you even bought it! How do you know how close or how far away from the artist's intent it is? How do you truly know how happy they are with it?

You don't. This is why I say don't speak for the artist.

Enjoy the art you love. But don't use us as a shield to defend it. Merely having an idea or vision isn't in itself virtuous.
 
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Roygbiv95

Alt account
Banned
Jan 24, 2019
1,037
Glad to hear I'm onto something with industry folks. xD

"Vision" just means "idea" or "concept."

One of the first things you learn in the collaborative art field is that ideas are fleeting and carry the burden of proof. Nothing is sacred, because you don't know until you have an animatic or get that demo going whether or not your idea is even feasible or enjoyable in the first place. Things will have to get thrown out. You cannot get too attached until the project is "locked in-" unable to be changed without risking the budget and deadlines.

Now this doesn't mean you can't have an idea in general you want to explore, something you're excited about. Sometimes your vision is exciting, and artists should pursue what lights their fire. What it means is that you will have to be open to Its malleability, both during production and when it's released. Otherwise, you'd go crazy...or get fired.

These experiences simply run counter to how gamers constantly express some sort of holiness or untouchable quality of the "artist's vision." That vision has already been changed and iterated upon thousands of times before you even bought it! How do you know how close or how far away from the artist's intent it is? How do you truly know how happy they are with it?

You don't. This is why I say don't speak for the artist.

Enjoy the art you love. But don't use us as a shield to defend it. Merely having an idea or vision isn't in itself virtuous.
Shucks, when you think about it it's almost like realizing a creative work can be as spontaneous as it is laborious and in addition to being a form of emotional expression from one person, creativity can evolve organically via an exchange of shared perspectives free of ego which test out ideas and signify them as art through a process that's consistently fun and engaging and stuff. 🤔
 

MisterHero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,076
It's become a pervasive trend, especially on this forum, to blame large swathes of fandoms for criticizing certain works in popular culure.

YES, there are dipshits out there using their fandom to justify their bullshit behavior. But that doesn't mean other people can't trash the work in good faith with reasonable arguments.

The toughest criticism I can offer a product is by putting it down and walking away. At the same time, the artist should always continue rethinking their own work and ideas.
 

Sub Boss

Member
Nov 14, 2017
12,262
They have to take into account their audience, it is a commercial product so the bigger the better, however you can't reasonably expect every game to be for everybody, sometimes companies target especific audiences because thats were their niche is, like Sekiro
 
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Nepenthe

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,467
I came here expecting something interesting but seriously, this is too esotheric for me. Can someone please summarize the meaning of the OP in one simple sentence?
Bold move Cotton to admit to a mod you're not reading their posts (it's not punishable. I'm just disappointed.)

They have to take into account their audience, it is a commercial product so the bigger the better, however you can't reasonably expect every game to be for everybody, sometimes companies target especific audiences because thats were their niche is, like Sekiro
This isn't a Sekiro thread either. Nor is it about making work that only appeals to wide audiences. It's about how gamers appeal to authority to defend their favorite games only when that authority is convenient, regardless of what artists actually think.
 

joe_zazen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,464
It's not a mischaracterization, you wrote out a textbook example of an appeal to authority fallacy.
I’ll try one more time: some folks think artistic intention is part of their experiencing a work of art, and that is OK by me. You label that as wrong thinking and invalidate that subjective state as, idk, stupid or something?

My personal pov is that art, like the self, does not exist except as a passing figment of neural engrammatic structures in the mind of the experiencer. I do not judge the rightness or wrongness of the experience of another because I cannot apprehend their experience.

But when participating in the linguistic game of art criticism, I do not think intention should not be wholly discounted because it is an elemental part of human action and behaviour; and how we relate to and understand one another. Doing so would limit out ability to understand and, in the legal sense, judge.
 

Veelk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,999
I’ll try one more time: some folks think artistic intention is part of their experiencing a work of art, and that is OK by me. You label that as wrong thinking and invalidate that subjective state as, idk, stupid or something?
No, I am saying you are committing a logical fallacy back when you said that the conversation ends at whatever the author says is a valid way of looking at art discussion. That's a straightforward appeal to authority. If you don't understand what those words mean or how errors in reasoning are possible, then idk, go look them up? I'm okay informing people of how stuff works, but I don't even know how to begin explaining to someone the fundamental mechanics of reason itself if they don't believe in them.
 

joe_zazen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,464
No, I am saying you are committing a logical fallacy back when you said that the conversation ends at whatever the author says is a valid way of looking at an argument. That's a straightforward appeal to authority. If you don't understand what those words mean or how errors in reasoning are possible, then idk, go look them up?
I never said that.

I am saying that an individual’s interpretation based on their experience of a work can rely on artistic vision/intent of the artist; and that, when arguing with someone who does not use artistic vision/intent as a valid means of interpretation of experience, the discussion ends because they have a fundamental disagreement on a priori assumptions—the rules of the game if you will.

Do you not see how the intent of an artist could be valued by someone when examining the work? If this is inconceivable to you, then idk what to say.
 

Ebullientprism

Attempted to circumvent ban with alt account
Banned
Oct 25, 2017
3,529
I honestly never bought that argument. Yes, "Artists vision" is something that is thrown out when this topic came up but I bet you money no one talking about it gives two shits about it. Its just used to prop up their version of gatekeeping.

This entire argument about difficulty is just gatekeeping. People think they belong to an exclusive club when they complete difficult games. If others are also able to do it, then they arent so special anymore.

"Its actually about the artists vision in the game" is the "its actually about ethics in games journalism" with (slightly) less toxicity.
 

Veelk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,999
I never said that.

I am saying that an individual’s interpretation based on their experience of a work can rely on artistic vision/intent of the artist; and that, when arguing with someone who does not use artistic vision/intent as a valid means of interpretation of experience, the discussion ends because they have a fundamental disagreement on a priori assumptions—the rules of the game if you will.

Do you not see how the intent of an artist could be valued by someone when examining the work? If this is inconceivable to you, then idk what to say.
Bullshit

I wouldn't even say you used it dismissively. "Shut down the argument" is an accurate way to describe someone who sits on "it's the artist's vision" as their only point of contention and doesn't alter it following replies.

"The game should be how the artist wants it to be, because it's their vision."
"Okay, but what if they can give more people accessibility if"
"It's their vision"
"But this one part is just really poorly done by any metric and"
"it's their vision
"....this part right here is just offensive to-"
"It's their vision"
"But-"
"It's their vision"
Is it wrong for a person to see artistic vision as the driving force behind art, and as ultimately the most important thing? I am not saying that this position is the right one or the best one, but it is a valid position to hold that isn't a priori bad. For some, that is where the debate ends.
My post, that you chose to respond you, was deriding people shutting down the conversation for using appeal to authority arguments, and you responded defensively with "Is an appeal to authority really so bad though' type argument. You weren't making a nuanced argument about merely valuing artistic vision, you were outright saying "Well, maybe the artist SHOULD be the final word on their art."

That's different from this watered down interpretation your trying to push for now, and your strawmanning me by acting as if I'm saying we ought to devalue the artistic vision artists have for their work entirely. No, it's about not talking the most mindless extreme of version of artist worship.
 

Glio

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,690
Spain
People only care about the artist's vision when they coincide with them. When not, artists are incompetent that are wrong.
 
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Nepenthe

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,467
Artistic vision’ is not a valid reason to shut down criticism. Correct me if i am wrong plz.
Probably the simplest way to put it.

But there's also a secondary point, that using the artist's vision as a shutdown undermines artists by using them as a shield.
 

joe_zazen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,464
Bullshit





My post, that you chose to respond you, was deriding people shutting down the conversation for using appeal to authority arguments, and you responded defensively with "Is an appeal to authority really so bad though' type argument. You weren't making a nuanced argument about merely valuing artistic vision, you were outright saying "Well, maybe the artist SHOULD be the final word on their art."

That's different from this watered down interpretation your trying to push for now, and your strawmanning me by acting as if I'm saying we ought to devalue the artistic vision artists have for their work entirely. No, it's about not talking the most mindless extreme of version of artist worship.
In the context of a conversation between TWO people, yes that can be the end, irreconcilable differences and all that. And that is OK, some value artistic intent, some don't.

As far as discussion in a broad community sense goes, well I guess the only ones who get to decide that are the ones in power. And the deciding factor is power, nothing else.
 
Oct 27, 2017
415
Critique of creative works isn't as simple as just criticizing it or discussing it. People have to be able to approach works with a little bit of context, with understanding of the different systems at play (whether it's game dev, narrative structure, technology, what-have-you). I think a lot of people, given how big social media is, want to be critics or at least share their opinions on any given text, but they don't always know how things actually work or understand what the concept of critique is versus just blind bashing or surface reading.

Hell, critique of things--whether it's problematic elements, bits that could have been done better, narrative flaws, etc.--is commonplace in film, music, and literature. It's frustrating to no end that so many gamers want gaming to be taken seriously as a Thing That People Do or as art, but refuse to allow people to critically analyze it the same way that other creative industries are used to and have done for decades.

The thing about "artistic vision", though? There's practically no such thing as a pure artistic vision, unless we talk about works that are solely self-published by a single human being. I'm not the sort to ascribe to Death of the Author completely. It's one thing if the author continually contradicts themselves (Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451's meaning, for instance) or is clearly pushing something that their piece doesn't show (if a story about torturing a gay person would somehow be pro-gay or something), but if they author is just speaking out to clarify intent, I try to take it into account. You can definitely debate the merits of what the text said versus out-of-text factoids, though.

But artistic vision.

Any creative work will change throughout its process. Final Fantasy VII was originally a detective story based in New York City; Resident Evil 4 was pretty much almost Devil May Cry, and also hewed closer to RE3 in another beta version; Team Fortress 2 wasn't supposed to be goofy at all. Visions change throughout development. That's just part of the process.

If something's made by more than one person? That instantly compromises "artistic vision". Disagreements happen; compromises are made. It doesn't matter if the work comes out fantastic, if it stays along the original thoughts for the work, etc.: more than one person on a team will have different ideas for a creative work, whether it's color or dialogue or gameplay or even story beats.

That goes exponentially for bigger works. Novels have editors and publishers who might mandate changes; some edits can be refused, but definitely not all of them. In a lot of cases, this is to strengthen the work, but sometimes it's to avoid controversy. Same goes for movies and games: not only are they hugely-collaborative processes, but investors might force teams to remove something from an upcoming game or movie for fear of sales falling short, and execs can do that and mandate the inclusion of specific functions or scenarios. EA, for instance, requires most studios to use Frostbite to develop their games, which can compromise what the studios want to do due to it being notoriously hard to work with; the United States Army has to approve of any movie script that wants their resources, or else the studio will have to find the money to recreate vehicles and weaponry; game execs can mandate multiplayer be a part of a game when it's single-player focused, can insist on the addition or removal of specific gameplay features, and so on.

Not only that, but the discussion of a creative work is often valuable! Feedback can give creators ideas on what to improve on, things to avoid, and the like; to stop people from talking about it does disservice to everyone involved, from people excited about a work to its critics, its team, and even other creators who can see discussions and take them into account (like we're seeing with Sekiro). We see a lot of people talk about artistic vision when it comes to diversity or accessibility, but not nearly as much when any given work has issues with story or gameplay or visuals. Hell, gamers are known for complaining about a game's story or gameplay, but the issue of "artistic vision" isn't bandied about then; it's largely only when marginalized people are involved that it becomes an issue.

Critique of a work is valuable. Not all critique is, of course; creators can reject things as they see fit. But trying to silence discussion about it? That does nothing but harm creators.
 

ShadowFlare

Member
Oct 28, 2017
84
I think I agree the premise of the OP.

To tie this back to Sekiro (even though it's been stated already this topic goes far beyond this one game) and to ensure I understand, there are many, many reasons to argue against implementing an easy mode, we should use those arguments and not include "artist vision" since game design is a collaborative process where inputs from various sources is required.
 

Akabeko

Member
Oct 27, 2017
416
Games are a mix of story, art, sound, and gameplay. Yet, people only seem to care about "The Artist's Vision" for the last of those.

Like, I don't see anyone getting mad about a game allowing you to skip cutscenes. Or, getting mad with a game allowing you to downgrade the graphics so that it runs on a lesser PC. Don't both of those things compromise the artist's vision? How about getting mad because you can play a game with shitty TV speakers instead of a 7.1 surround system?

The artist vision argument as a means to shut down discussions about difficulty and accessibility is just gatekeeping. I wish people would just be honest about it, so we could see how ugly their arguments really are.
 

blazinglazers

Member
Oct 27, 2017
102
Los Angeles
Artist to artist, I find it depressing that you’ve been so radicalized by your experiences arguing online that you feel the need to negate the entire concept of artistic vision as a way of shielding yourself from arguments you find disagreeable.

You seem fixated on this ultra narrow rhetorical use-case that you alone find somehow personally infantilizing. Moreover, many posters have pointed out correctly that defending a creative vision can be done without falling into an appeal to authority fallacy, but you continually ignore or deny that. And ironically, you’re doing this while trying to frame your argument from a position of authority.

So you’re the artist and we're the consumer and we shouldn't speak for you. But you're also the one artist who can speak for other artists who shouldn't be spoken for?

I too am a professional artist. I regularly lead teams of 40+ people in creative sprints making commercial entertainment products. I have to execute creative within the confines of corporate management, I have to deliver on schedule within budget, I depend on my leads for ideas that are better than mine, and I rely on my crews to execute at a level I could never achieve individually. The work is highly collaborative and inevitably evolves over time, but it would also be a complete garbage fire if we didn’t have a core creative vision to check ourselves against whenever we ran into trouble.

A strong artistic vision is not necessarily the work of a single author, nor is it inherently a static unmovable thing. But it is an actual living thing, and if you and your team are working well, it’s something which is shared and nurtured by every individual craftsman contributing to the work. Without artistic vision, the work is dead.

Re: accessibility, many posters are confusing accessibility for the disabled with skill-based difficulty.

In the case of videogames, platform holders have a social obligation (and financial incentive) to make their products as accessible as possible, and you can see this in projects like the Xbox Adaptive Controller. Game developers can further this accessibility through colorblind options, controller re-mapping, hud customization, text-to-speech or speech-to-text, etc.

Game designers however are under no obligation to adjust the skill-based difficulty of their creations, especially when they feel said difficulty is central to the experience.
 

60fps

Member
Dec 18, 2017
2,334
Bold move Cotton to admit to a mod you're not reading their posts (it's not punishable. I'm just disappointed.)


This isn't a Sekiro thread either. Nor is it about making work that only appeals to wide audiences. It's about how gamers appeal to authority to defend their favorite games only when that authority is convenient, regardless of what artists actually think.
Sorry, I have read your post, I just couldn’t figure out the final verdict, in all seriousness.
‘Artistic vision’ is not a valid reason to shut down criticism. Correct me if i am wrong plz.
Probably the simplest way to put it.

But there's also a secondary point, that using the artist's vision as a shutdown undermines artists by using them as a shield.
Now I get it, thanks :)
 
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Oct 27, 2017
415
A strong artistic vision is not necessarily the work of a single author, nor is it inherently a static unmovable thing. But it is an actual living thing, and if you and your team are working well, it’s something which is shared and nurtured by every individual craftsman contributing to the work. Without artistic vision, the work is dead.
People aren't saying there is no such thing as artistic vision or that we shouldn't have it; it's that visions can and do change regularly, whether it's team compromise, executive/investor mandates, or the natural evolution of the creative process. The argument is "creative visions are often enhanced when critiques enter the picture" and "don't use creative visions as a smokescreen to complain about diversity or accessibility; visions change and are already compromised, by that logic".

Re: accessibility, many posters are confusing accessibility for the disabled with skill-based difficulty.

In the case of videogames, platform holders have a social obligation (and financial incentive) to make their products as accessible as possible, and you can see this in projects like the Xbox Adaptive Controller. Game developers can further this accessibility through colorblind options, controller re-mapping, hud customization, text-to-speech or speech-to-text, etc.

Game designers however are under no obligation to adjust the skill-based difficulty of their creations, especially when they feel said difficulty is central to the experience.
Think of it this way: video games are the only medium that actively bar someone from progressing and experiencing the narrative. What will give one gamer a hearty challenge that they can overcome with effort might, to another gamer, be something literally insurmountable (whether that's due to physical disability, cognitive difficulties, or plain ol' being bad at action games). The experience that the latter gamer would have isn't in accordance with game designers' visions; why is it, then, that "hey maybe put in ways that people can get around this if they so choose" is a compromise to vision?
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,392
I agree with the OP on a lot of this. And I dislike how the usage of "artistic vision" is most often used to dismiss criticisms and you'll find it used a ton in threads about difficulty and big tiddy games more than anywhere else. Yes, the occasional critical critique will come around from a video discussing the intricacies of the game world, but they are few and far between compared to how most gamers use the term. It has become a defense mechanism.

Re: accessibility, many posters are confusing accessibility for the disabled with skill-based difficulty.

In the case of videogames, platform holders have a social obligation (and financial incentive) to make their products as accessible as possible, and you can see this in projects like the Xbox Adaptive Controller. Game developers can further this accessibility through colorblind options, controller re-mapping, hud customization, text-to-speech or speech-to-text, etc.

Game designers however are under no obligation to adjust the skill-based difficulty of their creations, especially when they feel said difficulty is central to the experience.
I just want to make a comment here that you are very limited in your understanding of what accessibility is, and while the adaptive controller is excellent, that is still not enough because accessibility features also need to come from the software end too. Difficulty options are one blunt force way to handle accessibility as difficulties like easy modes are already a bundle of assisted functions and changes to parameters in a game and they help a lot. You can also opt to do the Celeste method of making these kinds of functions optional assists that help those with disability.

Regardless of difficulty, the interaction between player versus game is an interaction of ability versus barrier. Accessibility is about empowering the player and to help them remove that mismatch between impairment and barrier, and allow them to play games like everyone else would, ability versus barrier. While whatever problems you or anyone else has about difficulty, it's all subjective. None of this should be seen as taking away from something, because it's not, it's adding something, it's allowing others to stand next to you with equal footing. What was now impossible to those with disability, is now just simply plain ol' hard (speaking in terms any hard action game in general). To you it sounds like it's making a game easier, and yes, it is, but difficulty is entirely subjective.
 
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