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For the record (Gaming)

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Sunday, May 24, 2020, 18:26 (129 days ago) @ MartyTheElder

A bunch of us crunched on Reach.

I’ve never worked on a game without a certain amount of crunch. As a matter of fact, I’ve never worked on any creative project that didn’t have some sort of crunch.

It’s a matter of personal passion - when world’s collide.

Thanks for clarifying that. I'd heard from a few places that Reach's development was smoother than Halo 2-3, but I assumed that there was still crunch involved.

Also...

As a matter of fact, I’ve never worked on any creative project that didn’t have some sort of crunch

I'm so glad you brought that up. I was tempted to bring that in to my other post, but it was getting long winded already :)

Every creative project that I've been even slightly proud of has involved a degree of crunch. It just goes hand in hand with trying to create anything great or meaningful, I think. Whether its Peter Jackson and his whole crew working themselves into the ground to create the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or JK Rowling spending every spare moment of every day writing to finish each new Harry Potter book... Jimi Hendrix was famous for having a guitar in his hands at all times. He even took it into the bathroom with him.

At the risk of delving into philosophy and chasing away anyone reading this post, I have spent years trying to figure out the knee-jerk negative reaction that so many people have towards artists who become successful. I think I recently figured it out, at least partially. It plays into that old saying that "I don't know how to define art, but I know it when I see it". How. HOW do we know art when we see it. Well I've begun to think that the thing we detect... is sacrifice. I think that when we look at art, real art, we see things about life and about ourselves that are out there on the fringes of our understanding, and we see the artist bringing these things ever so slightly into focus. Art teaches us about things that we're vaguely aware of in the back of our mind by bringing it forward and shining a light on it in a way we can recognize, at least partially. And i think that we intuit that this is only possible through a kind of sacrifice on the part of the artist. They've taken a piece of themselves that we all share, but where most of us tuck it away and avoid it, the artist brings it into the foreground, explores and re-lives it, and through that examination we all learn something about ourselves that we kinda knew before, but now it is more clear. More real. And I think we all understand, at least subconsciously, that this process takes its toll on the artist. It is not a process that a typically happy or well adjusted person would often subject themselves to.

Thus, the nature of suffering that goes hand in hand with creating art gets watered down into the stereotype of the "starving artist" (a relatively recent stereotype from the past 100 years or so, which takes hold in part because more and more people today seem to think that lack of money is the root of all suffering, and therefore a person who has money can't possibly suffer... an idiotic idea, but that's another rant entirely). And I believe it is this foolish idea, that a person with money can't suffer, therefore an artist with money isn't a real artist, which drives the knee-jerk reaction to dismiss artists who succeed financially as "sellouts".

I really did bring all that up for a reason, though :)

Going back to the topic at hand, there is a fantastic documentary about the making of the latest God of War game:

I think this game is a masterpiece in just about every possible way. Most shockingly of all, the story is one of the best, if not the best part of the game. The way it explores the feelings of failure and regret that often come along with being a parent, and the journey to accept one's own failures while simultaneously rising above them at all costs... it hits home, hard. So while watching this documentary, I found it impossible to miss the running theme expressed by several of the team leads repeatedly; making this game was pulling them away from their families, particularly their kids, in ways that they were really struggling with. It's not that they specifically set out to create a game that conveyed these feelings... it's that those feelings were so wrapped up and entrenched into the making of the game, that they couldn't help but bleed into it. The team was living it, so it became part of the game. That, along with the spectacular execution, is what makes it a work of art. It is a reflection of real life. And without that crunch, without that sacrifice, it almost certainly wouldn't have happened. God of War would probably have been a good game, instead of arguably being the greatest game this generation.


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