Sunday, September 14, 2008

Open Letter to Zero Punctuation

Yahtzee, your review of Silicon Knights' Too Human was pretty fun, except for one thing.

You said it "stinks of the auteur".

Please do a little research. There are parties out there who are actually trying to shift power in the industry out of the hands of the suits to those of the creators. Flippant remarks like yours damage our work.

If you did your research you'd realize that Silicon Knights is the antithesis of a place in which the "auteur" is supported. It is very much a groupthink company. That makes far more sense in hindsight. Only in a groupthink environment would nobody object to that crazy valkryie death sequence. After all, to criticize - to say "I don't think this works" - would inject dis-resolution and untidiness - those classic elements that groupthink environments cannot stand but creators thrive on. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down. No one wants to get hammered down - so for me to not get hammered down I'm not going to mention that this Valkyrie sequence is just fucking stoooopid, I'm sorry!!!

A real auteur wants criticism. Not tolerates it - wants it. Wants good feedback. Wants to serve the project he's working on. Wants to look at things hard and is hard on himself. I think you're using the term "auteur" in its common connotation - that of somebody who wants attention in a pretentious manner. But that connotation is just a piece of emotional baggage. It's not reality. How do I know? All I have to do is show one good auteur and it collapses. I'm sure you can fill in that blank.

But here's the most telling sign it isn't an auteur game: Who's the auteur? D'uh... If it "stinks of the auteur" where is this auteur's name?

At the end of the day Too Human was a bad game. That's it.

There have been some good games made in the auteur manner. For example, Civilization and The Sims.

But the final irony, Yahtzee. You're an auteur.