Fable 3 Created So That Anyone Can Finish It, Is Example of Metric Fetishism
As if perfect counter-point to our post about Team Meat’s belief that not all games should be easily finished by everyone (as well as the general theme of pandering to the masses in sequels,) we have a few quotes of choice from Fable 3’s lead game designer, Josh Atkins, describing the philosophy behind Fable 3. In an interview with Game Informer, Atkins described Fable 3’s audience as follows:
“Every Fable game has been made with the intention that anyone can pick up a controller and be successful, and Fable III was no different. Our goal was to create an accessible and easy to understand game that very casual players could experience and, most importantly, finish.”
This comes to no surprise to Fable 3 players, who found many of the traditional RPG systems previous Fable games employed either gone or majorly streamlined. Make no mistake, these changes are metrics fetishism at it’s finest, “As Peter Molyneux has mentioned in the past, we had statistics that indicated many of our users were not using a substantial amount of the features we created in Fable II. Therefore, after many tricky discussions we came to the conclusion we should simplify a set of our features in an effort to ensure they would be clear and usable by players at every level” says Josh Atkins.
I will not begrudge a company for wanting to expand it’s userbase. But when you take a game that works, and make it worse because numbers show that people ignored the feature, doesn’t mean you should get rid of it. You already spent time developing the feature, so it’s not as if it’s wasted development time going toward it. Getting rid of it means you are getting rid of what another established userbase finds enticing, meaning you are excluding people with your choice: and wouldn’t the bottom line dictate that this is a no-no? ‘Mainstream gamers’ (sorry to use the term) are already playing the Fable franchise, so it’s clear that previous systems did not push that audience away.
But really, the tragedy behind metrics fetishism is less risks are taken because there is concrete data to support ‘safe’ choices. Why take a risk when the numbers don’t lie? As the number of ways to examine player’s actions increases, the more numbers will become deified within the industry. Franchises like Fable, Dragon Age and Mass Effect may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Besides, should all games really be easily finished by anyone?