Best Interview of E3 2012

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#101 Edited by csl316 (7347 posts) -

I remember playing Call of Duty 2 on veteran and having multiple instances where surviving some impossible situation made me respect the people fighting even more.

There's an ambush in the desert that I barely made it through after a dozen attempts. I thought, "Christ, I can't even imagine dealing with that in real life." Same with the D-Day landing. I'm running through a battlefield getting frustrated with my frequent deaths, and I thought about the fact that a soldier would be running through something infinitely worse without overly effective smoke grenades.

I thought Call of Duty 3 did a lot of stuff like that, too. Before CoD 4 started the turn of that franchise towards over the top blockbusters.

Anyway, I'm glad the developer got a chance to do this. Handled it with class.

#102 Posted by Giantstalker (1445 posts) -

I love modern military shooters; BF3 is easily my current favorite multiplayer game. I've also been in combat in Kandahar (Panjwayi district, Dand, and Tarnak) with the Canadian Forces from 09-10. The fact that there are games that combine fun, enjoyable systems along with contemporary settings and weapons is honestly a great thing. Excessive realism isn't necessary, it isn't needed, and quite frankly even the best "milsims" just lose recreational value by trying to get closer to 'real' combat.

Tom McShea isn't a veteran, he has no military experience, and he's never seen combat. Why did he even bring this up, and why is he speaking for this group? By acting as though he "knows" what it's supposed to be like (as though there's only one way to get engaged by the enemy), he sounded horribly out of place and pretentious. I hope he gets fired sooner rather than later; maybe then he can enlist and learn want he seemingly wants to know.

#103 Posted by adam1808 (1214 posts) -

@Flyinnmunkee: I think it's totally okay for someone to call a writer on his product if he thinks it's wrong and can validate his rebuttal. Admittedly it can go bad, like it did with Hydrophobia, but there's nothing wrong with a creator of something defending his project.

#104 Posted by dudeglove (7252 posts) -

@AlexanderSheen said:

@Spoonman671 said:

Tom McShea is a gross human being.

That guy... is a professional? Jesus Christ man.

Dude can't put on a decent shirt for chrissakes.

#105 Edited by EnemaEms (153 posts) -

Now I remember why I stopped going to Gamestop once Jeff and the gang left.

Best part of the interview: "you should only get one life"

"We have that mode, we just didn't show it"

"But you are talking about camaraderie and you can respawn."

Asshole, he just told you the mode you want is in the game. Listen, if I wanted realism, I would of enlisted on 9-12-2001. I want to play games that are fun and Warfighter looks like it will be a good FPS.

#106 Edited by Kierkegaard (556 posts) -

@Giantstalker said:

I love modern military shooters; BF3 is easily my current favorite multiplayer game. I've also been in combat in Kandahar (Panjwayi district, Dand, and Tarnak) with the Canadian Forces from 09-10. The fact that there are games that combine fun, enjoyable systems along with contemporary settings and weapons is honestly a great thing. Excessive realism isn't necessary, it isn't needed, and quite frankly even the best "milsims" just lose recreational value by trying to get closer to 'real' combat.

Tom McShea isn't a veteran, he has no military experience, and he's never seen combat. Why did he even bring this up, and why is he speaking for this group? By acting as though he "knows" what it's supposed to be like (as though there's only one way to get engaged by the enemy), he sounded horribly out of place and pretentious. I hope he gets fired sooner rather than later; maybe then he can enlist and learn want he seemingly wants to know.

It's a hard situation, right? Entertainment developers, liberals, conservatives, people on the street--war and those who fight in them are a constant conversation amongst those who have not experienced it. McShea is not strange for having misgivings about this. Modern warfare, from the outside, seems horrible and arbitrary.

From the incredibly limited perspective of an American 20-something liberal who wouldn't have enlisted in WWII let alone for any war after, war as it is today is sold as black and white and is, in reality, gray as all fuck. The distinction between a dude making a cell phone call and a dude setting off an IED, between a kid begging for food and a kid acting as a decoy--those are far harder to make than "Hey, maybe I should shoot the guy in the uniform with all the swastikas on it." Some deployments I've read about from embedded journos give soldiers constant WiFi and skype access. Some are almost as disconnected as the person writing to their loved one in the trenches.

You were in combat. That scares the fuck out of me. You mighta killed dudes, seen dudes killed, what have you. You have lived a deeply different life that I ever will.

But I think McShea's point (poorly argued as it was) matters. When gamey systems that play on the same respawn, replenishing health, stat boosting stuff that FPS's have had since Doom (health packs rather than waiting behind a rock, I admit) are shoved into operatives enacting a specific mission in a set of mountains in Afghanistan (in MOH 2010) it is disturbing to me.

And not being a veteran or knowing a bunch of people who have been in war does not make McShea nor my thoughts less important. How video games have dealt with war is fucked--that's my opinion and, it seems McShea's,

MOH is not the only or the worst offender. And I deeply appreciated the candor of this exchange. The excuse, though, that "we're making an action shooter" just doesn't cut it. As soon as you make virtualized real people (in the E3 demo Somali pirates, apparently) into target practice in slow motion sequences, things get fucked.

Modern shooter developers are clearly reskinning Nazis as Russians, North Koreans, Somali Pirates, Taliban, Al Qaeda, or a fictional amalgam. That choice deserves deep introspection and doubt, because it is disturbing and, yes, disrespectful as hell.

Fuck this genre. Give me aliens and zombies.

#107 Posted by TentPole (1858 posts) -

@Kierkegaard said:

@Giantstalker said:

I love modern military shooters; BF3 is easily my current favorite multiplayer game. I've also been in combat in Kandahar (Panjwayi district, Dand, and Tarnak) with the Canadian Forces from 09-10. The fact that there are games that combine fun, enjoyable systems along with contemporary settings and weapons is honestly a great thing. Excessive realism isn't necessary, it isn't needed, and quite frankly even the best "milsims" just lose recreational value by trying to get closer to 'real' combat.

Tom McShea isn't a veteran, he has no military experience, and he's never seen combat. Why did he even bring this up, and why is he speaking for this group? By acting as though he "knows" what it's supposed to be like (as though there's only one way to get engaged by the enemy), he sounded horribly out of place and pretentious. I hope he gets fired sooner rather than later; maybe then he can enlist and learn want he seemingly wants to know.

It's a hard situation, right? Entertainment developers, liberals, conservatives, people on the street--war and those who fight in them are a constant conversation amongst those who have not experienced it. McShea is not strange for having misgivings about this. Modern warfare, from the outside, seems horrible and arbitrary.

From the incredibly limited perspective of an American 20-something liberal who wouldn't have enlisted in WWII let alone for any war after, war as it is today is sold as black and white and is, in reality, gray as all fuck. The distinction between a dude making a cell phone call and a dude setting off an IED, between a kid begging for food and a kid acting as a decoy--those are far harder to make than "Hey, maybe I should shoot the guy in the uniform with all the swastikas on it." Some deployments I've read about from embedded journos give soldiers constant WiFi and skype access. Some are almost as disconnected as the person writing to their loved one in the trenches.

You were in combat. That scares the fuck out of me. You mighta killed dudes, seen dudes killed, what have you. You have lived a deeply different life that I ever will.

But I think McShea's point (poorly argued as it was) matters. When gamey systems that play on the same respawn, replenishing health, stat boosting stuff that FPS's have had since Doom (health packs rather than waiting behind a rock, I admit) are shoved into operatives enacting a specific mission in a set of mountains in Afghanistan (in MOH 2010) it is disturbing to me.

And not being a veteran or knowing a bunch of people who have been in war does not make McShea nor my thoughts less important. How video games have dealt with war is fucked--that's my opinion and, it seems McShea's,

MOH is not the only or the worst offender. And I deeply appreciated the candor of this exchange. The excuse, though, that "we're making an action shooter" just doesn't cut it. As soon as you make virtualized real people (in the E3 demo Somali pirates, apparently) into target practice in slow motion sequences, things get fucked.

Modern shooter developers are clearly reskinning Nazis as Russians, North Koreans, Somali Pirates, Taliban, Al Qaeda, or a fictional amalgam. That choice deserves deep introspection and doubt, because it is disturbing and, yes, disrespectful as hell.

Fuck this genre. Give me aliens and zombies.

Pretentious as fuck.

#108 Posted by Kierkegaard (556 posts) -

@TentPole: Where's the pretense? I admitted that my only credentials are third hand knowledge and my personal beliefs about human worth. I think any person can comment on anything as long as they admit their biases and where their knowledge and opinions lie. If you disagree, gimme an argument.

#109 Posted by Carryboy (589 posts) -

@Kierkegaard: I understand why you would not like real world scenarios in a videogame (even though it does not bother me at all) but for that fact that its the "gamey" stuff in that scenario thats offending you seems crazy to me. Making that game "hardcore" mode only doesnt show more respect to the armed forces and seems like an out of touch perspective. You said your opinion is no less important because of your inexperience and i completely agree however it is less valid.

#110 Posted by Mattalorian (594 posts) -

@Godlyawesomeguy said:

@Mattalorian said:

Tom McShea is a real human piece of shit.

An overreaction, perhaps?

Baselessly accusing a development team of glorifying war and disrespecting fallen soldiers is a pretty despicable thing to do, but yeah, that was probably too harsh. Few things are more infuriating to me than immoral journalists.

#111 Posted by oraknabo (1426 posts) -

Aside from his inability to debate, I think the biggest problem is that this critique works for the entire genre of realistic war games and trying to put one producer or developer on the spot and blaming them for jumping on the bandwagon isn't really fair..

I haven't read the original editorial piece, but I generally agree that there's a lot of dissonance in these guys always trying to hype games as authentic but then falling back on the defense that realism doesn't make for good entertainment. Maybe they should just conclude that war isn't entertaining ant the only way to make a game from it is to essentially strip out any authenticity from the experience. I will admit that I'm not a huge fan of war FPS games. I thought the first COD Modern Warfare was decent and I kind of like the Brothers in Arms series, but I the only reason people are making these games is that they sell, not out of respect for troops or interest in educating people about war. It's too bad they can't be more honest about that.

Really though, if their main goal is a fun game, they always have the option of going more in a fantasy or Sci-fi direction.

#112 Posted by Ares42 (2443 posts) -

I find it strange that people actually give Tom any validity at all. I mean if that same article was posted on any random gaming forum it would be flagged and deleted for trolling.

#113 Posted by solidlife (874 posts) -

Tom has a point but I think that when engaging with a medium you need to take it with a pinch of salt. Its not real although it may be depicting real events. IMO a game main focus is to be a game (fun, entertaining, engaging etc). when people Re spawn or developers count head shots, I dont think they are doing it to trivialize war they did that to make it work as a game. It is for you as a person to distinguish that that does not happen in RL.

#114 Posted by JasonR86 (9372 posts) -

I get what the editor is saying but I think he's over-thinking this game. A medium can pay respect to something without also being authentic. Where the guy from EA is coming from is tone. The editor is getting hung up on mechanics. A video game, when it comes down to it, has to be a video game. There has to be systems that people experience. MOH isn't trying to be authentic when it comes to mechanics but it is when it comes to tone and setting. I can see where there is a weird dichotomy between authentic tone and over-the-top mechanics but that's where games are now. That's what sells. A game like the editor wants can do well enough in the PC market but that isn't what MOH is shooting for and what EA likely wants out of that franchise. They want something that sells. The fact that they are allowing their developer to push for an authentic tone is pretty refreshing to be honest.

It is cool that gamespot allowed for this interview to take place though. It was interesting.

#115 Posted by Giantstalker (1445 posts) -

@Kierkegaard: Well, here's the thing. In reality, there's an extremely un-enjoyable combination of factors that makes armed service at the enlisted level difficult.

  • You often have little, if any, control over what's happening (helplessness)
  • Consequences are severe and often permanent (no going back)
  • This occurs over a long period of time, many months (boredom and fatigue)

You didn't need me to tell you these things but I will stress that these are very, very frustrating circumstances to be in. To even approach what Tom seems to want from a modern war game, 'authenticity', you'd need to integrate these into the game. Anything less than the above and it won't even really be trying to represent the real thing (a.k.a doing it justice). But, who would want to play a game where the above three things are true? Especially when as a player you aren't working towards a real goal, actually getting paid, or being recognized for the ordeal?

So shooters like Warfighter want to be fun, enjoyable games despite the fact that real tours are seldom the same. To get this, I'm willing to suspend a lot of actual context and realism. To point again to the top three factors, I actively want to avoid these things (especially when they're together) for recreation. But like many others I also enjoy having familiar weapons, settings, armies, lingo, vehicles, opponents etc. in the game. Not that it makes it feel truly real, just more interesting and engrossing. It's a balancing act and the developer said as much during the interview.

As for the enemy, I understand that it may be disturbing to basically see certain local nationals reduced to targets or fodder. But training, equipment, and attitudes towards enemy threats have essentially turned them to this state in actual operations too. Determining who exactly is the enemy is difficult, but we're talking about the concept of dehumanization here. This book is a tough read for those not specifically interested but I recommend Lt.Col. Grossman's On Killing as a reference for how it's become this way. Once again, for better or worse, it comes with the territory of military operations and the context of these games. Although I admit it is exaggerated and 'gamified' (I hate that word but here we go) this is not out of spite but instead to make the gameplay itself fun, enjoyable, and responsive. Which is and should be the primary aim of the entertainment product that I pay money for, in my opinion.

I don't mind what contemporary games are doing. It's so disconnected from the real experience I feel it uses the modern military in a benign way to simply make shooting more interesting. Some people don't see it this way, and I actually respect most opinions on the matter (including yours), but the way Tom presented his argument rubbed me the wrong way. If you were in that interview I bet you could have brought a better & more respectful case for why these games are wrong in what they do, even if I still disagree. I don't feel like beating this over the head anymore since they're just games, that's all I expect from them and I enjoy them as such.

#116 Posted by Kierkegaard (556 posts) -

@Giantstalker said:

@Kierkegaard: Well, here's the thing. In reality, there's an extremely un-enjoyable combination of factors that makes armed service at the enlisted level difficult.

  • You often have little, if any, control over what's happening (helplessness)
  • Consequences are severe and often permanent (no going back)
  • This occurs over a long period of time, many months (boredom and fatigue)

You didn't need me to tell you these things but I will stress that these are very, very frustrating circumstances to be in. To even approach what Tom seems to want from a modern war game, 'authenticity', you'd need to integrate these into the game. Anything less than the above and it won't even really be trying to represent the real thing (a.k.a doing it justice). But, who would want to play a game where the above three things are true? Especially when as a player you aren't working towards a real goal, actually getting paid, or being recognized for the ordeal?

So shooters like Warfighter want to be fun, enjoyable games despite the fact that real tours are seldom the same. To get this, I'm willing to suspend a lot of actual context and realism. To point again to the top three factors, I actively want to avoid these things (especially when they're together) for recreation. But like many others I also enjoy having familiar weapons, settings, armies, lingo, vehicles, opponents etc. in the game. Not that it makes it feel truly real, just more interesting and engrossing. It's a balancing act and the developer said as much during the interview.

As for the enemy, I understand that it may be disturbing to basically see certain local nationals reduced to targets or fodder. But training, equipment, and attitudes towards enemy threats have essentially turned them to this state in actual operations too. Determining who exactly is the enemy is difficult, but we're talking about the concept of dehumanization here. This book is a tough read for those not specifically interested but I recommend Lt.Col. Grossman's On Killing as a reference for how it's become this way. Once again, for better or worse, it comes with the territory of military operations and the context of these games. Although I admit it is exaggerated and 'gamified' (I hate that word but here we go) this is not out of spite but instead to make the gameplay itself fun, enjoyable, and responsive. Which is and should be the primary aim of the entertainment product that I pay money for, in my opinion.

I don't mind what contemporary games are doing. It's so disconnected from the real experience I feel it uses the modern military in a benign way to simply make shooting more interesting. Some people don't see it this way, and I actually respect most opinions on the matter (including yours), but the way Tom presented his argument rubbed me the wrong way. If you were in that interview I bet you could have brought a better & more respectful case for why these games are wrong in what they do, even if I still disagree. I don't feel like beating this over the head anymore since they're just games, that's all I expect from them and I enjoy them as such.

Thanks for the considered, in-depth response. I think my argument and McShea's boil down to this: If modern warfare involves helplessness, no going back, boredom, fatigue, and killing a (I'm gonna add falsely) dehumanized enemy, we should not be making games about it.

Or, at least, we (we being the human race, I guess) should not be making games that play into the myth of warfare as action movie black and white badassery. It's dishonest and harmful to society.

Those are some heady ass claims. And this does come down to how people view media, let alone things we label games. I think that verisimilitude (getting as close to the truth as possible) in dealing with real-world conflict in games is the only ethical thing to do.

Now, if making an ethically sound game of modern warfare means boring the shit out of the player while making them question their very soul, then that's not a fun entertainment product.

I think game developers have had these thoughts, but their conclusions were yours: we have to make these games fun, so let's warp the reality of it all.

These games do not need to be made. Future killing? Fine. Lasers and hoverboards and whatever. Past killing? Iffy, but fine if done with restraint. Modern killing? Kill it.

From an outside observer, how the military advertises itself in the US (does Canada do this too?) is dishonest. It depicts no violence, only patriotism, a bunch of tech, no boring shifts or dirty, feckless journeys. It makes being in war seem like a game or a vacation so youth who want some cash and have a "sense of purpose" will serve. These games add some moral gray areas, but you are still ultimately a hero in the face of faceless, evil foes trying to take away your freedom.

What I can do, and what I do do, is not play or buy these games, but millions do. COD Blops 2 is actually making their villain sympathetic, so that's a start. And it's in the future, so there's less ickyness there. I

My hope is that modern warfare games become boring to people and they stop buying them even if developers don't make an ethical decision to stop making them. Games about war walk on shaky ground. Games that make modern warfare into a winnable, clear-cut game are despicable.

#117 Edited by wardcleaver (172 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater said:

Isn't Tom McShea the guy who gave Skyward Sword a 7.5 as basically a way to top Jeff's whole 8.8 kerfuffle? Yeah. I couldn't finish the video. He's so obnoxious, even if he does have a point buried somewhere underneath being an unprofessional retard.

That being said, I do think Gamespot on the whole is actually not that bad. I think Danny 'O Dwyer's videos are pretty amazing, and think that Kevin van Ord is a good writer, if perhaps a bit flowery.

At this point, Kevin is one of the few dudes at GS whose reviews I can take seriously. While I realize that, in the end, reviews are opinions, I do not think that I could ever watch/read a review from Tom without thinking that he might have some agenda. Although,I doubt that Tom would review this game (I am guessing Chris W.).

#118 Edited by studnoth1n (222 posts) -

@TentPole: when do you think someone has the right to question another person's motives? this is essential to all journalism, to ask these sort of questions, and not feel the least bit self-conscious about it. could it be interpreted as a breach of good taste? perhaps, but i feel this guy is actually digging at the truth of the matter, which is essentially what is lacking in most professional journalism nowadays. thoughtful, pointed questions, and not everyone can do it, so don't kid yourself.

with that being said, he could have prefaced the interview with his own criticism, which many journalists do candidly. it's unfortunate that journalism, or the version of it we get in this industry, is little more than kowtowing just to get another interview. for fuck's sake, it should be the other way around!

#119 Edited by studnoth1n (222 posts) -

@Kierkegaard: well said. and i'm sure very few will read it. i wish i could be more measured, but i admit i've grown less patient in my years. if people could at least allow for some time to pass before diving in head first into something we haven't even a proper context since we're still living in the midst of the thing itself, that might be a suitable stand in for the lack of any introspection. besides, when it comes to this kind of marketing horseshit, it's all blatant jingoistic pandering anyway, and any mouth-breather is susceptible.

#120 Posted by FuzzYLemoN (1600 posts) -

Ohh my god, Tom McShea continues to be such an idiot. The longer this goes on, the more painful it is to watch. I don't blame Mr. Goodrich at all for getting a little pissed.

#121 Posted by Kierkegaard (556 posts) -

@studnoth1n: Thank you. Glad to have another compatriot in the march toward reason.

#122 Edited by Dagbiker (6898 posts) -

I know I shouldn't, but today, with EA sending Pizza over to the Giantbomb office, and this interview...

Perhaps EA isn't so bad after all.

#123 Edited by pubbles (136 posts) -

Tom McShea is making me angry as I watch this.

Although I would be kind of interested in playing a game where your squadmates death are persistent and the more you lose the harder it gets... that would be interesting..

But hes still being a brat, getting upset that it's a game versus a simulator.

oh man he didnt even play the game, he watched people play it :(

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