Words are powerful things. They can be used to communicate, to convey information, to identify. They can also be used to obfuscate, to confuse, and to mislead. The games industry often employs all of those functions for its greater purpose: to sell you stuff.
So in honor of the sheer flexibility of language and the endlessly inventive twists and contortions we hear from the linguistic gymnasts who make and sell games, the theme of this week's This Week column is wordplay. We've got rebrandings, euphemisms, mistranslations, implications, disingenuous spin, and so much more.
Yes, I know I could probably use the above introduction for the column every week and it would still be accurate. No, USgamer wouldn't let me get away with that. (Tragically.)
QUOTE | "We don't call them loot boxes... We call then surprise mechanics." - Electronic Arts vice president of legal and government affairs Kerry Hopkins attempts to rebrand the controversial mechanic during her testimony to the UK's Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee as part of an ongoing inquiry into immersive and addictive technologies.
QUOTE | "We want people to be able to play together and go on this journey, but we also want to say if you want to over-invest in your characters and customise them, you've got it." - Crystal Dynamics head of studio Scott Amos says the publisher has heard the cries of people who want to keep giving them money.
QUOTE | "It was necessary to restrict her chest." - Final Fantasy VII Remake director Tetsuya Nomura talks about changes to Tifa's character design that were mandated by Square Enix's "Ethics Department," an internal group that makes sure content complies with international ratings board standards to achieve the target age ratings. While the translation was originally reported to mean her breasts were made smaller, it was later clarified that the change was that the character essentially wear a sports bra.
QUOTE | "Artists, I believe, crunch; movie makers, painters, sculptors and so on... When you create something with passion and you want it to be really, really good, you're willing to go this extra step for it." - In defending CD Projekt's "non-obligatory crunch," Cyberpunk 2077 quest director Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz implicitly questions the artistic credibility, passion, and desire to create good work of anyone who doesn't crunch, which really has to make you wonder how "non-obligatory" it is in the studio.
QUOTE | "In that instance, we don't own or control Gearbox. They're a third-party developer, and we're not engaged with them in how they run their business. We're very supportive of them, and Randy's been very plain publicly that the allegations have no merit. We market the title, but we have to clearly state there's a corporate division between Take-Two entities and Gearbox." - Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick explains why Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford is the public face of Borderlands 3, possibly Take-Two's biggest release of the year, despite allegations from former employees that he intercepted $12 million in royalties that should have gone to developers, physically assaulted a Gearbox employee in public at GDC 2017, and lost an unsecured USB drive containing company secrets and underage pornography at a Medieval Times in Dallas.
QUOTE | "We don't think other puzzle games are boring. It's just that the genre tends to get boring." - Shifting Tides co-founder Nima Memari attempts the very difficult balancing act of slighting an entire genre of games without offending anyone who makes or enjoys games of that genre.
QUOTE | "We're not there to tell them what they have to think at all. What we want is to offer possibilities to explore new ways of behaving, new ways of exploring, and at the end of the day they make their own minds up." - During a recently published interview from E3, Ubisoft EMEA Executive Director Allain Corre explains the thinking behind Watch Dogs: Legion.
QUOTE | "The message of this game is: ordinary people need to put aside their differences and come together. It's not the politicians, it's not the dude from the mountain who's going to come down and save us all. It's us. Putting aside our differences and fighting back against things that are obviously wrong -- that's what we need to do." - During an interview from E3, Ubisoft creative director Clint Hocking explains the thinking behind Watch Dogs: Legion.
QUOTE | "…please do not buy the content…" - The official Minecraft Story Mode Facebook page warns players that the price on the Xbox 360 version of the game has been raised to the unreasonable price of $100 per episode to keep it available for people who already own it to re-download, but to discourage new sales.
QUOTE | "It's unfortunate to characterise having a lot of fun as something more sinister. You could often say the same thing about playing soccer or watching football." - Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney isn't thrilled that Fortnite has become part of the discussion around game addiction simply because of its incredible success at engaging and monetizing a massive player base full of children.
STAT | 1998 - How far back you have to go to find a May with US new release software sales as low as May 2019's. The only new releases on the NPD's top 20 chart were Total War: Three Kingdoms (#3), Rage 2 (#4), and Team Sonic Racing (#19).