I took a few minutes out to check GameSpot today and saw the article/interview with Ian Fischer (Robot Entertainment), Soren Johnson (EA2D), Dustin Browder (Blizzard Entertainment), and Jon Shafer (Stardock). The article is called "The state of the strategy genre". Here's an excerpt:
(note: Johnson's reply here made me think OH HELL NO HE DIDN'T JUST SAY TAHT!!!"...lol)
"Johnson thinks that strategy games need to be simpler. He frets that games don't get their message across. "Don't be afraid to cut to the chase," he said. He said that designers shouldn't be afraid to cut down on content, since "more isn't better." He thinks that AAA games are too expensive, and that middle-tier titles--even ones that sell 1 million--don’t interest blockbuster-hungry publishers anymore."
Luckily for us strategy gamers both Mr Shafer and Browder both have brains and don't work for EA. They said this:
"Fischer disagreed, saying that he wants strategy games to offer more features like Paradox's World War II title Hearts of Iron, not less. Shafer also disagreed with Johnson, saying that there still is market for "middle games." That was a reason he went to Stardock, and held up Sins of a Solar Empire as an example."
Thank the gods there are devs out there that Don't Think everything needs to be "simpler". That's EXACTLY what's wrong with strategy and PC gaming in general in today's market and why PC gaming isn't what it used to be compared to back in the day's of the original X-Com and Warcraft. Too many devs want to make things "simpler" and "dumbed down". They try to hide this by using buzz-words like "innovative" and "stream-lined". In reality that means just what Johnson says in the first paragraph when he says "cut down on content" and "cut to the chase".
More often then not that just means they're cutting out options, cutting out content, and plain out just cutting out Depth. Yet people seem to wonder why PC gaming doesn't feel like PC Gaming anymore and why there are so many crappy ports and PC gaming isn't raking in the big bucks with every other title like it did back in the early and mid 90's. It's because of devs that think like Mr Johnson up there. Guys that are so hooked into the "corporate aspect" of gaming that they have completely and totally forgot what it is that made PC Gaming what it was to begin with.
Back in the day's of the Super-Ness and Genesis and PS 1, a PC game had leaps and bounds more depth than any game practically that could be ran on those systems. That's why all the good strategy and FPS titles were on PC while the consoles handled all the platformers, fighters, and twitch games with the occasional decent or good RPG thrown in. With today's consoles most of the PC centric titles can be ran on a console minus the mouse interface so there isn't as much emphasis put on PC titles and on what a PC can do that a console can't and because of this PC gaming has suffered as a whole.
I just wanted to write this little post here to Thank Jon Shafer for not only having a Brain, but for also actually remembering what it is at the heart of strategy and PC gaming as well. Well done, sir. My hat's off to you.