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Usability tests can trick you, says Darksiders developer

In a new Gamasutra feature interview, Vigil Games studio GM David Adams explains how usability testers "hated" every aspect of Darksiders when they were really only caught up on one small scenario.
In a new Gamasutra feature interview, Vigil Games studio GM David Adams explains how usability testers "hated" every aspect of Darksiders when they were really only caught up on one small scenario. "We do usability tests, but at the end of the day, you've just got to use your judgment. With usability tests, you get a lot of information that's only partially useful, because people... they'll get mad at one thing, even though it's something else that's screwing them up," says Adams. "Funny story in Darksiders 1 is, we did a usability test and they hated everything about the game -- they hated the story, they hated the character, they hated the art, they hated it all." Was the game really that flawed? Nope, says Adams. So what was the real problem? "[We looked] at the play time, and they were spending an hour in an area that's supposed to be 10 minutes," he says. "So we fixed that, so they got through there quicker, and suddenly they loved everything else. Changed nothing else -- [the player's opinion changed to] 'The story's great, I love the main character, the art looks awesome!'" The full interview, in which Adams and creative director Joe Madureira discuss the creative process behind the series -- often led by intuition -- is live now on Gamasutra.

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