Journey was a sublime experience for me, one that was helped along by the presence of a silent other; a compatriot that I could travel with but not share a single form of spoken or written communication with. Aside from musical chirps, player interaction in Journey is severely limited but this didn’t stop my partners from helping me find hidden items or guiding me through the world. Without the incentive to hinder or harm me, were they actively trying to help?
This is what Jenova Chen, designer at thatgamecompany, thinks. In a recent interview with Eurogamer, he posed the thought that the agressive nature of multiplayer games leads to people being dicks to one another. I’ll let him explain his point, though:
“But listen: none of us was born to be an asshole,” he says. “I believe that very often it’s not really the player that’s an asshole. It’s the game designer that made them an asshole. If you spend every day killing one another how are you going to be a nice guy? All console games are about killing each other, or killing one another together… Don’t you see? It’s our games that make us assholes.”
It’s a very interesting theory, and I’m tempted to say that he’s correct. While there are players out there who are just out to troll no matter what, there’s a marked difference between how I play during a co-op game and how I play during a Call of Duty match.
In Journey I sought out companionship and tried my best to stick to my new-found friends. In Battlefield 3, unless I’m playing with someone I know, I go out of my way to avoid people. Heck, even during public Mass Effect 3 matches I don’t wear my headphones just because I don’t care to hear what people say. There’s an expectation that online interactions will be negative, but Journey blew that notion out of the water.
What do you guys think of Mr. Chen’s statement? Is he right on the money? Do you have any experiences that prove this? The entire interview is a great read, too, so I recommend checking it out.
Source – Eurogamer