Silicon Knights' Denis Dyack • Page 2

Taking on Epic, reviewers and the internet.

Eurogamer: The Too Human demo has been downloaded over 1 million times which, if nothing else, at least shows there is still a huge amount of interest in the title after all this time.

Denis Dyack: Oh, there's a tremendous amount of interest. And the fact that we have over a million downloads in less than a month is fantastic, and the reception from the demo has been really awesome as well. We're really excited; it's been a relief. We're happy.

Eurogamer: What feedback have you had?

Denis Dyack: Too Human is a very innovative game and it's got a lot of different things with it. It's got the camera system that's automated and very different; and then the dual analogue control, which is also very different. So at first, because it's so different, people aren't sure how to adjust it; but once they give it time, the majority of people have really, really loved it.

We've done a lot of focus tests and you see a few people try for a few minutes and put it away saying it's too simplistic. The depth in Too Human is pretty deep - the action components and the RPG components are deeper than most games that I've seen on the consoles and I play a lot of games.

One of the most interesting comments I've seen is, some people are saying their daughters were picking it up, who aren't used to the conventions of controlling the camera with the right stick: they picked it up right away.

When we created the camera system, we were big believers in the added complexity of controlling the camera and doing the gameplay at the same time was something gamers don't really need to do. And so it's all that training we've had in controlling the camera with the right stick. By throwing that away and saying, okay, I understand, I'll let the camera do it's work - it works like a radar - and I'll just concentrate on the gameplay.

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Once you do that, it all falls into place. It's almost like taking that one step that games haven't really done before that we think really makes Too Human stand apart, but it also makes it a really unique and interesting game.

Eurogamer: In hindsight, do you have any regrets about taking on the internet?

Denis Dyack: No, I don't. I think Too Human in general is a game that talks about the effects of technology on society, and in general we wanted to make commentary on... People basically misunderstand technology and there's this myth that forums don't matter and they don't affect the press or whatever, and clearly they do affect the press.

And what I wanted to do was just point out that, okay, we need to understand that it does make a difference, and we need to put it in its place. And by and large forums are hyperbole based on almost no fact or information whatsoever. So if people are going to even read those, they have to understand they really aren't that meaningful.

From a perspective of the internet and how it affects society, I think these things need to be talked about - you can't just stick your head in the sand and say 'I'm not going to talk about that', or 'I shouldn't talk about that'. Someone needs to say something, so it's been said. And I hope the point came across and some meaningful information came from it.

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Eurogamer: The language you used was pretty provocative - "A lot of trolls crying" - so you must have known the kind of response that would generate?

Denis Dyack: Yeah, I expected it to generate a lot of attention. And quite frankly there's a lot of misinformation out there... Generally, people think technology has improved communication and that's because we can now communicate in ways we never could before. We can send email 24/7, you can post on forums and talk to people in South Africa, in Asia, wherever, video conference, telephones, cell-phones that we can we do now over the past 75 years that we could never do in the whole history of the human race, as far as we know anyway.

2,000 years of civilisation has been based on face-to-face communication until that point, where you have full reciprocity, where you can see facial expressions. And these new forms of communication lose that reciprocity, and generally people become aggravated that they would never say in person, things that are inaccurate and misleading. They hide behind this anonymity and people need to understand that that is not true communication.

It has not improved our communication; technology's changed the way we communicate, and it's changed it in such a way that's not always better. And until we start thinking about those things and start talking about it, I think it's going to do more damage than good. So I brought up some of those points just so people would start thinking about it, and hopefully that came through in a positive way. Time will tell.

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About the author

Johnny Minkley

Johnny Minkley

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Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.

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