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Jade Raymond: "our audience expects perfection", and this "limits innovation"

"You have to revert back to what you know does work."

Not long ago, the honourable Matt Lees of "getting all upset in videos" fame wrote about how our obsession with polish leads to blander games, obliging developers to spend all their time squashing bugs rather than creating new concepts. Seems Ubisoft's Jade Raymond agrees with him. Could they be the same person? No, probably not.

"One of the things I see that's different [about the industry today] is that our audience expects perfection," Raymond told OXM in a lengthy and, dare we say, fascinating interview published this very afternoon.

"Before, there were only, say, two million people playing games - they were real fans and they were playing every game. They were willing to forgive bugs, and try things that weren't as much fun because they were different.

"Now, there are 30 million people buying and they only buy the top five," she went on. "They expect perfection. I think that growing up with everything being so good, so easy to use, there are certain expectations."

Do those expectations hamper efforts to break new ground? "It's not very forgiving. It does limit innovation, because if something isn't working as you get towards shipping, you have to cut it or revert to back what you know does work."

Sounds dangerously plausible, in light of (for instance) on-going fracas over Battlefield 3 bugs. If you won't hear it from Matt (no sweat, the man's a crime against nature), and you won't take it from Raymond (you monster!) heed the wisdom of those we interviewed for our highly readable and generally magnificent interrogation of games testing.

"Gaming wasn't seen as such a serious industry, so you could get away with a lot in terms of bugs, because that's what people expected," Anders Muldal of VMC Game Labs told us. "The average person thought the developer was just some guy with a PC building the whole game himself.

"Now people see the huge budgets that some games have, the hype that surrounds releases, particularly the triple-A titles, I think people are a lot more demanding. They expect their games to have the same production quality as a Hollywood movie. It should be perfect!"

Should it?

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