Ray BioWare: “Games are art, art requires risk to innovate”

Friday, 27 August 2010 12:40 GMT By Patrick Garratt

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The debate on whether or not games are art will never end. BioWare head Ray Muzyka knows which side of the fence he’s on.

“We want to… push the idea that games are art, and that art requires a little bit of risk to innovate,” the exec told us at gamescom last week.

“It’s hopefully what allows us to do something that’s always going to be fresh and different for our fans.”

BioWare isn’t shy of risk-taking, Ray added, but the level to which the studio can push artistic limits is constrained by reality.

“I think we’re taking a crazy number of risks on all our projects, and that’s for the fans. We do it all for our fans at the end of the day.”

He went on: “We’re also trying to constrain risks on all of our projects at the same time, because it’s about making sure that we can deliver a game at quality and a certain target of feature-set and scope.

“It’s always a balance, right? But we’re definitely ambitious in the way we approach our game-building.”

I know what I like

The question of whether or not games are art is a perennial topic, one which recently felled US critic Roger Ebert.

Ebert was forced to admit he may have been wrong in a Chicago Suntimes article – titled “Video games can never be art” – after nearly 5,000 comments pretty much called him an ass.

“My error in the first place was to think I could make a convincing argument on purely theoretical grounds,” said contrite Roger.

“What I was saying is that video games could not in principle be Art. That was a foolish position to take, particularly as it seemed to apply to the entire unseen future of games. This was pointed out to me maybe hundreds of times.

“How could I disagree? It is quite possible a game could someday be great Art.”

Ray thinks we’re already there, Roger. Maybe you two should get together.

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