GTA V: Anything Less Than Perfect
As a video game producer, one of my chief responsibilities is to mitigate scope, cutting and approving features from a project as they are deemed either to lead to higher review scores and player satisfaction, or to be benign and ultimately removable without harming the game’s core appeal. It can be the difference between a tightly-focused and financially successful project, and a bloated, unprofitable title with eyes bigger than its stomach. This requires the ability to understand a feature’s value as it relates to the audience’s desires, so as to better represent them during the decision-making process.
The term we have for this is “player advocacy,” and it requires the ability to step outside your personal understanding of media to assess the wants and needs of those not in your own demographic. Empathy goes hand in hand with effective game production, which is why the gender hurricane surrounding Grand Theft Auto V right now gives me pause, both as an advocate for gender representation in games and as a video game professional.