Why Sometimes It’s Better To Leave Things Unsaid

It’s been an eventful month for Microsoft so far. With the “always online” rumours, which are yet to be dismissed, and Adam Orth’s “deal with it” response, you can imagine Microsoft aren’t in the best of situations at the moment. This can soon change though with a new console reveal though.

Then only a few days ago we had Crytek CEO, Cevat Yerli, rather controversially claim that graphics count for 60% of a game, which has even lead to some debate here on TSA. This makes me wonder whether it’s time for those prominent in the gaming lime light to just stay quiet from time to time.

If we look back to when the first “always online” rumours for the next Xbox emerged there wasn’t the friendliest of welcomes, understandably you could say. What only made things worse were Orth’s replies back on Twitter – leading unintentionally to a newly adopted slogan for Microsoft – deal with it.

[drop]I fail to comprehend what was running through his mind as he typed those words. We all know about the repercussions and power that misplaced tweets can have in this day and age. There seemed to be a total absence of common sense. As a result, it was almost inevitable to hear the news that Adam Orth was no longer associated with Microsoft. I mean, really, what else could he have expected to happen?

In hindsight, if he had refrained from making these comments he would, of course, still be a happy Microsoft employee. More importantly, this “always online” public outcry wouldn’t be as bad a situation as it is. That’s easy to say with hindsight but let’s be frank: it’s not that difficult to spot without it.

Moving on to Crytek’s CEO, Cevat Yerli, believing that graphics are the thing that matters most when it comes to game immersion. This might not come as much of a surprise, critical reception and user accounts of the company’s games have most often cited gameplay and narrative progression as the weak points. Crytek is not a company often brought to task for shoddy looking games.

Arguably, the underlying plot, character performances, the way the game plays and audio are equally as important to helping immerse a player into the game world. Surely Cevat Yerli could have known that his comments would lead to debate? Many have spoken of wanting improved controls in the Crysis games, for example, and comments like this may only add salt to the wounds.

Again, I fail to understand what led Yerli to make these comments. Similarly to Orth, he would have known they would have negative repercussions from many within the gaming community, and that reputations could take a dent after reckless comments.

In the present day gaming world, it’s clear that the phrase “actions speak louder than words” has turned on itself. Those high up in the media, or employees associated with large publishers and developers, really do need to be careful with what they say publically. It’s a risky business replying to public outcry or expressing your own controversial opinions in a very public space. It’s sad to see that some don’t take care with this and fans can become upset by certain attitudes.

I believe that, in some situations, it’s better leaving things unsaid. Knowing when to speak and what to say would certainly have helped in the two instances we’ve looked at here and there does seem to be an element of just keeping quiet for a while and letting the controversies blow over now the cat is out of the bag.

Of course, I wouldn’t want to see communication cut off completely. As fans and consumers of games, we rely on developer and publisher communication, as well as social media for our sources of information, debate and discussion. Games media simply wouldn’t have the variation or the volume of information without strong communication with the people who create, publish and market games.

A little bit of common sense and a little bit of understanding, on all sides of the discussion, will go a long way.


  1. Personally I feel that twitter & what is said on your personal account is your opinion you entitled to it, it doesn’t reflect the company or business you work in. He is not speaking for the company but how he feels about it, it’s like if you work in a certain job, you no longer entitled to express thoughts on certain subjects. What happen to freedom of speech

    • Yet you should realise that as an employee, you are a representative of the company, and it is very hard to distinguish your own thoughts and opinions with those of the company, along with this, as an employee you are supposed tyo reflect the values of the company, at all times, thats how business works these days

    • I guess it comes down to your role, and your employer. Before the world of social media you probably directly whinged to family and friends about work/your boss etc. but now, especially with Twitter, it’s entering a public space (though NeoGAF got hold of Orth’s statement from his private account). I run a business, and use Facebook very minimally as I have customers that have added me as friends. I don’t have a problem with that, but I’m aware that I wouldn’t put something on there that would impact on my work.

      One of my friends was sacked from his job following an outburst on Facebook, and it’s written into a lot of contracts now that you can’t bring the company into disrepute or share information etc. through those channels. I think lots of businesses now see social media as a public forum, and an advertising medium, and it’s skewed the lines between your own private opinions and public slander/libel.

      • Orth’s account was public when GAF got the info, he made it private once the tweets started going around and he got shit for them.

    • His “freedom of speech” on company matters was signed away in the dozens of NDAs he signed and subsequently broke by tweeting what he did.

      It’s called “cop on”.

      • Yeah, I’m guessing the problem was that he talked about the always on rumors, which may or may not be part of Microsoft’s next gen strategy and even hinting at the stuff might be enough for them to terminate his contract.

    • I agree. This is why I sell coke and hookers via my Twitter account, Peter doesnt mind.

  2. Good article although I didn’t get the chance to reply to the Crytek 60% article so will mention it here.

    “Arguably, the underlying plot, character performances, the way the game plays and audio are equally as important to helping immerse a player into the game world.”

    Out of all the senses we have, I believe the ability to see accounts for nearly 80% of our stimulus-input. This means that we truly are visual creatures in every way. It also means that graphics play a lead role in immersion. However, we’ve come far enough in video-gaming where hardware can do a pretty damned convincing job and now we’re looking towards the things that have often been neglected somewhat (ie. narrative, good audio/sound design, emotions, etc.).

    Next generation will highlight this even further. For example, I’m currently playing through LOTR: War in the North. The voice acting is good but the facial animation is hilariously bad even though the models are passable. If they ramp up the look to them but have the same sort of puppet-theatre animation then it’s going to be abysmal with its ability to convince me of something moderately believable going on.

    Anyway, what amazed me about Orth’s comments were how egocentric they were. Seriously, get some perspective on the rest of the world, fella? Even your “always on” internet can help you there.

    • For example though if you played a game like Slender: The Arrival the game is all about atmosphere and immersion. But it looks dreadful. What makes up for it is the sound and the simplicity of the game.
      You do need visuals though as that’s just one example, but 60% is a little too much i think.

      • I don’t think it is, to be honest. We’re still way off the mark with many games (and how they look).

        However, what I don’t like is how the other stuff gets squeezed because of the development time required to build those graphical assets.

        Although you highlight that certain games or genres can have mediocre graphics and illustrate how it was always about the game. Let’s be fair, when Shadow of the Beast came out on the Amiga, people were pumping out the white stuff when they saw the multi-layered parallax scrolling and (then) sumptuous backgrounds. Coupled with some lovely music, it scored very highly. However, most folk realised it was an also-ran of a platformer and in no way deserving of the high review scores when hindsight kicked in.

        Nail the game then build the world around that (sound, graphics, everything). This should be mandatory with every publisher. I don’t like it when I’m playing a game and can very obviously see the “cool trick” they thought would turn into a fully realised title. Muppets.

    • I’m with OK on this one, I think sound is a far more important stimuli. A piece of music can bring tears much easier than an emotive picture. It’s to do with the way our brain is wired, we are more emotionally connected to audible stimuli. Think about a caveman sat in the dark, what you can hear is more important than what you can see.

      I never play a game and feel I am actually there because it looks pretty, but if I am connected to a game emotionally through the story and sound design then I am going to at least feel the repercussions of what I’m doing.

Comments are now closed for this post.