Former People Can Fly dev: Bioshock Infinite design “proof that the old territory is on fire and we need to go”

By Nick Akerman, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 15:41 GMT

Adrian Chmielarz, former Creative Director at Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment developer People Can Fly, believes the next generation could change games development for the better. He discussed the pitfalls of games including Bioshock Infinite, Uncharted and Tomb Raider in a recent interview with Eurogamer.

This suggestion comes through a major change of heart. Chmielarz worked on two of the ultra-manliest games in recent memory while at People Can Fly, but after Judgment released, his interests altered. Indeed, Adrian Chmielarz believes gamers are ready to ask long overdue questions about popular titles.

“Things are aligning in a way that, by the end of this generation, people started asking, ‘Hey you know what, why is Nathan Drake a mass murderer?'” he said. “And they didn’t ask that with the first Uncharted. They didn’t ask that previously.”

“Something happened and it was probably indie games and the fight of indie developers to show a different side of gaming. Some people tasted a little bit of that indie gaming, started thinking about games and then they go back to the old ways and go, ‘OK there’s something wrong here.’

Chmielarz outlines Tomb Raider as another candidate for such questioning. Years ago, would Lara Croft’s positioning between being a “scared little girl” and “mass murderer” be considered?

“But she’s (writer Rhianna Pratchett) explaining herself and acknowledging the fact that, yeah, we need to do something about this – maybe we’ll fail but, yeah, there’s something there.”

The game designer progresses towards the Bioshock Infinite debate; a game that has forced many to question its use of violence. Chmielarz believes Irrational Games’ title is “proof that the old territory is on fire and we need to go.”

Core mechanics are questioned “because there are these moments there when you get a slice of heaven, a taste of heaven, and you go, ‘Oh my god this is what games can be!’ And then it’s taken away from you for the majority of the game.”

“But these moments are absolutely mind blowing – really really great – and you realise, oh my god, video games potentially can be so much more, so powerful.”

Is Chmielarz’s suggestion that game design may change just a wild dream? Would it actually improve video game quality on a mass scale? Be sure to check out the rest of his length discussion right here.

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Adrian Chmielarz

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Nathan Drake