Total War dev calls 70 percent of games "not good enough"

Renaud Charpentier wants developers to focus on design and prototyping

Total War Battles: Shogun lead designer Renaud Charpentier has told Edge that 70 percent of titles aren't "good enough" and the problem is a lack of focus on design.

"When you look at the market, probably 20 to 30 per cent of the games are confident, and maybe 60 to 70 per cent are not good enough," he told Edge at Unite 2012. "Usually, they run. Most of them don't crash - most are competent technically. Most of them look okay or even good, but they play like shit."

Charpentier and his co-workers at The Creative Assembly believe in early prototyping. He explained that without significant prototyping developer can end up having to cover a lack of fun with fancy graphics and technology.

"Their biggest risk is not on the tech, not on the art, it's on the design. You have to front-load that: it has to drive many of the other decisions," he said. "Hopefully that's something we manage to do at Creative Assembly, and that we managed to do with Battles, but it's still something that I think is lacking [in the industry] and it has to change."

"We can't keep releasing games that anyone can tell are not interesting to play after 30 minutes when 20 or 30 people spent two years working on them. It doesn't make any sense."

Charpentier noted that adequate tools and technology are still necessary early in the development process.

"I've [faced this problem] in previous teams, where I would have wanted to prototype, but the engineer tells you the animation system for combat won't be ready in four months. What do you do? You're blocked. You can't be absolutely sure that certain timings will work, certain controls."

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