Blizzard: Game Developers Are Not Shakespeare, Need to Stop 'Writing Books' in Games

By Nick Breckon and Chris Faylor, Mar 26, 2009 4:36pm PDT During a presentation at this year's Game Developers Conference, former World of Warcraft director Jeffrey Kaplan took a moment to address the lengthy exposition that plagues numerous games, including those developed by Blizzard.

"Basically, and I'm speaking to the Blizzard guys in the back: we need to stop writing a fucking book in our game, because nobody wants to read it," he explained.

"We need to deliver our story in a way that is uniquely video game," Kaplan, who left WoW to work on Blizzard's next MMO, explained. "We need to engage our players in sort of an inspiring experience, and the sooner we accept that we are not Shakespeare, Scorsese, Tolstoy or the Beatles, the better off we are."

However, Kaplan did offer consolation to his fellow developers. "If it makes us feel better, Shakespeare couldn't 3D model his way out of a paper bag," he noted.

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  • His comment has been referenced out of context here so it's no wonder no one understands. He's referring to game developers being verbose with written texts that the player MUST read in order to figure out what to do next. The actually reference is to quest design in WoW and the fact that they sometimes got rather wordy making it difficult for the player to understand what their objective and where to find it was.
    As Yahtzee said in his review of Mass Effect, the best way to deal with dialog is succinct and punch it, or just get to the point and let the player decide if they really want to get in to the lore.