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Subject matter is biggest barrier to entry for games - Schafer

By Matt Martin

Thu 18 Jun 2009 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT

Games must evolve past basic sci-fi and fantasy content if they want to attract TV and movie audiences, says designer

Brutal Legend and Grim Fandango designer Tim Schafer has told that games must expand their subject matter if they are to be accepted alongside TV and movies as mainstream entertainment.

Schafer acknowledged that games are expanding beyond basic science fiction and fantasy subjects, but have still got a long way to go if they hope to attract the same audiences that see more variety in cinema and on television.

"I think it's a subject matter barrier. Not everybody wants to get into these super violent worlds and yet here I am making a game about broad axes and decapitation," he said, speaking in an exclusive interview published today. "But I think humour would get more people into games."

"It's getting better, it used to be that the games industry had a short list of inspirations. You had Tolkien-esque fantasy, Star Wars, and then new things get added. I think GTA brought a whole new level of inspiration. And I think the broader that gets, the more people will be interested in games," he said.

It's vital the industry grows beyond basic genres, said Schafer, before mainstream audiences make up their minds that games are only about simple subjects.

"If you look at movies, they deal with everything about life. They deal with all aspects of life: romance, comedy, serious dramas. And games are mostly limited to the summer action blockbuster.

"They haven't really gone outside of that. But I think they will, and hopefully they will soon, or else people will be solidified in their view of games. Their expectations are set."

The full interview with Tim Schafer can be read here.

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