Zenimax’s visual design director, Viktor Antonov, feels over the last five year, it’s been a “poor” time for “fiction in the video game industry.”
Speaking with Eurogamer, Antonov said he feels there’s been “too many sequels, and too many established IPs,” released and ruling the marketplace.
“A lot of them are war games, and they’re great projects and great entertainment, but there’s a lack of variety today,” he said. “So, when you step out of this established genre, people cannot grasp it, or the press tries to find a match,” he said, touching upon his latest project with Arkane Studios, Dishonored.
“There’s a place for thousands of different sub-genres and genres,” he said. “Imagine the times when you were in the ’40s and there were Westerns in Hollywood cinema: there were so many of them that none will be compared with another one, because there was a genre. We’re doing a historical piece, a retro-futuristic piece, which has pretty much nothing to do with BioShock except for the fact that it doesn’t take place in the far future, but has references to the past.
“Unfortunately, BioShock and Dishonored are the only two games that go into that fiction for the past – how many years? So, lack of variety in what’s in the market leads to associations like this. There should be more historical realistic worlds out there. And too bad there are not; I was expecting there to be 20 games like this.”
Antonov insisted he’s not a “harsh critic of games,” as he’s pleased with how far the technology has come, but he feels artists and art directors should force higher ups to take “more artistic risks, and use the technology to a better, higher level.”
“That’s what I’ve been doing and suffering by – I’ve been spending as much time creating, as convincing the people who are financing games how important it is,” he said. “We were always waiting for the next generation of great worlds or great graphics. Well, great graphics came; the worlds that came with these graphics are not up to the level of the graphics.
“Graphics used to be an excuse 10 years ago, that we can’t make great worlds. Right now, we have a lot of New Yorks, we have a lot of war games. Please everybody, let’s do more science-fiction and more crazy worlds out there, because now a game is trying to pack too many games – narration, music, contemplation, shooting – that they lose the experience.
“Games should sort of split up and specialize and assume that there’s such a thing as genre, and they shouldn’t try to please everybody at the same time and try to make easy, diluted projects.
“Let’s go for intensity and quality.”