Speaking to VG247, Silicon Knights boss Denis Dyack has spoken out about his public feud with NeoGAF, saying that he wanted to make an example of the effects of negative forums and picked the site because he considers it to be “the worst” of its kind.
“NeoGAF is considered to be the worst, and I would say is probably the worst forum,” he said. “And so, you might as well pick the worst one. Why not?”
Dyack posted on NeoGAF to challenge its users on negativity towards long-in-development RPG Too Human, a move that instantly spread over the internet’s news sites.
“A lot of people would say, ‘Don’t post on a forum. Forums don’t have any affect.’ That post on the forum got picked up by almost every single major press site, and it did influence the press,” Dyack added.
“I knew a demo was coming up [The demo set a record for Live with over a million downloads – Ed] and I knew all this was going to happen, and what I wanted to do was make an example of [the fact that] people need to understand the affect forums are having because there is an effect, it’s not a null effect.”
Read Dyack’s answers to our questions on the matter after the break. Too Human is released today in the US and at the end of the month in Europe.
VG247: I need to ask you about the post you made on NeoGAF. Why did you feel the need to do what you did?
Denis Dyack: As a society we generally tend to not understand technology, and the whole idea of reciprocity and the effects of technology and how it’s really changing the mainstream. So, a lot of people would say, ‘Don’t post on a forum. Forums don’t have any affect.’ That post on the forum got picked up by almost every single major press site, and it did influence the press. I knew a demo was coming up and I knew all this was going to happen, and what I wanted to do was make an example of [the fact that] people need to understand the affect forums are having because there is an effect, it’s not a null effect. And if there is going to be an affect – I’m not saying we should change the world, or stop forum posts or anything like that – but people really need to understand the nature of what’s being said there, and by and large, most of the forums are completely uninformed, completely wrong, they’re making judgement calls with little or no information based completely on hyperbole, and I just wanted to hold that up for what it was. That was really it. A lot of people wouldn’t have done it, but that’s not my nature. If I see something that’s going wrong… It’s just, as our culture is trying to adapt to different technologies, it’s really important we understand what they do. As an example, a lot of people think that technology increases communication: that’s actually not true. The reason people think that it increases how we communicate is [because] it allows us to communicate in more forms that what was previously allowed – and I said this on the 1UP podcast – we can send messages via forums posts and video conferencing, but the lack of reciprocity, the fact that you and I can sit here face to face, you can see the emotions, you can see how genuine or not genuine I’m being, all these type of things, it’s all lost on the forums. But if we communicate in this way we have to understand that there’s this loss of reciprocity, and if the press and general gamers are going to read these things they’re going to have to take them for what they are, and really, you know, their value is very questionable. I just wanted to say that.
Why did you pick NeoGAF specifically? It wasn’t just NeoGAF that was picking on Too Human…
DD: NeoGAF is considered to be the worst, and I would say is probably the worst forum. And so, you might as well pick the worst one. Why not? So, that was the idea of that. Forums in general… The US military has really stopped using text because it resulted in too many instances of insubordination, so forums in general are just negative. There are some positive ones, but in general they’re negative, and people need to understand that, because there’s a very vocal minority that is generally negative and you’ve just got to let that stuff go. That was the reason why. Beyond that I don’t know that it even matters. I’m really done with that. I really wanted to make a point and move on. I know it certainly generated a lot of focus – more than I expected, actually; it got picked up on every news site within an hour – but that really shows the effects of these technologies on the mainstream media, and we have to think about those things and if it’s affecting things we can’t just brush it under the carpet and say it has no effect. It’s having some effect. It’s having some effect and I just want people to think about it.