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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  • As far as I can tell, the problem with the writing in games like WoW is that it's ridiculously obtuse. Yes, it's a fantasy game, we get it. You don't need to write every goddamn thing in Ye Olde Impenetrable Englishe. That puts people off if they're not willing to spend ages decoding what the developers are trying to say, especially when they're forced by common sense to keep the vital words for a quest direct and to-the-point; people will just scan for the important words and ignore the rest.

    Deliver it in a way that is not a chore to read.