Suzuki: “Game providers have to shift their focus” on visuals to creativity

Tuesday, 7th December 2010 19:31 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


Industry legend Yu Suzuki has said the difference between game development today, and back when he was creating Virtua Fighter, boils down to developers focusing more on visuals than creativity.

Speaking in an interview with 1UP, Suzuki said it’s not just the developers who are to blame for focusing more on visuals, but the consumer as well.

“The problem [today] is that the industry focuses too much on the extravagance of the graphics,” he said. “Gorgeous graphics equal high quality, but it’s expensive to make those games. So it’s good that we are not being strapped down by hardware limitations, but games have rules. Shogi has its rules, Chess has chess rules, and soccer has soccer rules — you play with a team of 11 members and you can’t use your hands. And video games are games, as well. So there are rules. We should focus our creativity on making interesting rules in a game instead of focusing on the visuals.

“The game providers have to shift their focus. And the consumers have to also not look at only the graphics. The players are actually already beginning to realize this. You can see it in social-networking games. [But] user expectations are to blame, too. If given the option of 1,000 cars and 10 cars in a game, the user will most likely take the game with 1,000 cars.

“Games with fewer options can’t compete on the same level because the user will always choose the game with more cars.”

You can check out the first part of the interview through here, as part of the site’s Shenmue Week.



  1. Hunam

    But most (not all, before people cry) japanese games look like ass these days. They neither look good, or are that creative.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Crysis

    100% agree with the headline, i don’t mine playing a game that looks like it came from the PS2 ea if it’s worth playing.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    @1 Metal Gear Solid 4 (amazing game) looks graphically to this date really good. When it came out it was fantastic.

    Finall Fantasy XIII (mediocracy) maybe level design was ASS, but over all graphics were really good.

    “100% agree with the headline, i don’t mine playing a game that looks like it came from the PS2 ea if it’s worth playing.”

    Stop playing Playstation 3 games then. Go play Wii. NSMBW or SMG 2 or MEtroid:Other M awaits you.

    My personal thought on that: Developers should provide great visuals for games that need that. I don’t care if RPG, Strategy, RTS have bad graphics, but FPS genre or action games MUST and always need a graphical upgrade. No matter what.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. theevilaires

    @2 BFBC2 multiplayer is a great example :D

    #4 4 years ago
  5. OrbitMonkey

    A game I hear getting some love is Dark Promenition (360), think its called Crimson Seeds on the Ps3. Twin Peaks style story, ps2 visuals, crap driving, but strangely compelling apparently.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. AHA-Lambda

    yep deadly premonition is good stuff :)

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Crysis

    @Erthazus, I’m not saying that i don’t like better visuals, that’s just stupid. I know you can’t undertsand this, but I’m saying that the gameplay comes first to me followed by the story then it’s the visuals, in other words, if a developer’s budget is tight, i’d rather them put more focus onto gameplay elements than smoothing out the graphics, what’s the point in playing a beautiful game that’s as dull as the colour grey.
    The wii doesn’t receive any high end multiplat game with the same gameplay features, it recieves a totally different game to suit the wiimote, & i have never liked a single Nintendo published home console game since Pokemon Stadium 2 & the original Super Smash Bros.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Tallon 4

    Art, to me, is more important than visuals. I like Okami better than God of War 3.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Big_Boss

    It’s absolutely true that the most memorable games are the ones that have interesting characters, dialogue, plot and setting or have very interesting and engaging “rules”. However, as the main purpose of games are to immerse the player into whatever world the game portrays, visuals are a key part of that, especially with the hardware available these days. A good game has a nice balance between the two. There are games you just play for nothing more than it being a game like COD. You play it to have fun and not much intellectual interaction occurs between the game and the player. On the other hand, games like Metal Gear Solid do engage the player in a much more in depth manner. I don’t see a problem with some games being more visually driven (like Crysis), sometimes to the point where that’s all you’re really getting out of the game. However I do think Suzuki is right in the sense that lately (since the beginning of this console generation), too many games are like that and developers aren’t really making an effort to create in depth novel-like games. I think they need to realize that visual excellence in itself may sell games but to create memorable games and franchises they need to do more. A storyline with interesting characters and complex interactions between them or just really original, creative “rules” as he says, are they key aspects of the best games. Such games in my view, are as good as games can be, they produce the best possible interaction with the player. What we perceive with our mind is far more pure and memorable than what can perceived with our eyes and ears. What we see is finite as technically speaking; we all see the same thing. When it comes to a complex, ambiguous storyline, there is room for speculation and interpretation. Some things are “set in stone” like names of the characters, what they do and say but the nature of the characters, their motivations, their thoughts can be interpreted differently. The fact that game developers can capitalize on visual representation alone, is a reflection on the consumers as it is easier to appreciate the visual presentation of a game and if the consumer isn’t looking for anything more than there is no incentive for the developer to implement anything more. Again just reiterating what Suzuki is saying but I think too many people do not understand this. Another, perhaps even more concerning reason why developers seem to shift the focus of their games to visuals, is the profit incentive. A new call of duty comes out every year, maybe even 2 starting next year. As a result, the publisher and developer make more money than a game that is in development for 5-6 years. Our society operates based on profit. It’s a simple fact pretty much everyone knows and it allows us to cooperate peacefully while still acquiring the things we need without having to resort to taking it by force. The downside of this is the objectivity, lack of spirit of you will. Whenever this profit incentive touches something it sucks the life out of it. I think we can all agree the one place this does not belong in is art. Art needs freedom, room to be creative and not be overly concerned with making a profit. If games were not art as some people claim, how come there is a problem when the corporate profit-incentive model is applied to video game development. Not to say that there is no room for it in game development; consumers can’t wait for a masterpiece game that will come out in 10+ years. Consequently I think it is safe to conclude that games are partially art. I’m not sure it would be appropriate to say that games have elements of art but more so that it is art but to a lesser extent than pure art. That doesn’t mean it’s not art at all but a very special kind of art. Again as I said in the beginning, a good game has a balance between the intellectual aspects and the aspects that are prone to sensory perception.

    Does anyone agree or disagree with opinions I have stated? I do wonder what other people think about this subject as there doesn’t seem to be much discourse about it.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. MegaGeek1

    I completely disagree with this headline. Maybe because Im a graphic whore videophile. But Im always looking for the best graphics available.

    Also, Better graphics/physics/AI = new and more exciting gameplay opportunities. PS2 basically changed the landscape for the GTA series and it had everything to do with the move to 3D and the graphical capabilities of that generations hardware.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Dannybuoy

    What’s wrong with having our cake and eating it? Can’t we have better graphics and creativity? Creativity is great, but sloppy visuals and cut corners can shatter the illusion for me. I want to be wowed by cutting edge visuals with creative flair. I dont want games that look amazing but play badly and have repetitive gameplay. There needs to be a balance.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Gekidami


    I dont think alot of people are willing to read a wall of text. Use paragraphs.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. OlderGamer

    @1 and 2 110% agree

    I am playing Phantasy Star Portable, blown up on a 19inch(with component cables, it looks like a PSone game – no lie. And couldn’t care less. However on the whole most of what comes out of JP these days seems to me to be hohum graphicly(at best) and lack a whole lot we haven’t already seen/played. That does alos tend to be a world wide problem too, being fair. We live in Sequel Mania these days.

    Also, not singling you out or the PS3(remember I own and play mine too), but Erth I think MGS4 was an example of what Yu Suzuki might have been talking about. Pretty to look at, but pretty much the same ole thing. IMO, anyways. I have been been smitten with MGS, well thats not true I loved the NES one ;)

    Oh and number 9,

    I remember when I first found this website a couple years back, I used to do the wall of text too. I honestly didn’t know you had to DOUBLE hit Enter/Return in order to have the paragraphs skip one line. Might wanna give it a go(as they say across the pond), makes you more readible, and after all isn’t that why you posted to begin with?

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Erthazus

    @OG, You are playing Phantasy Star Portable and blown by it because it is a PSP game and costed you not so much and it is RPG game. RPG game never need amazing graphics.

    But action/FPS games always need graphical improvement no matter what. Thats why people loved these games.
    FPs genre was defined by John Carmack days when they tried to make a revolution with graphics. Like Wolfenstein or Doom.

    + just think about Phantasy Star Portable if it costed you 60 bucks. Halt. Phantasy offers you for not much money good quality for your machine and you expect it for that price.

    #14 4 years ago

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