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GDC: Blizzard's Pardo: 'We Sometimes Value Innovation Too Highly'

During a GDC luncheon attended by Gamasutra, Blizzard exec Rob Pardo debated with fellow industry vets Warren Spector and Brian Fargo about the value of innovation versus execution.
During a high-powered Game Developers Conference luncheon event attended by Gamasutra, Blizzard executive Rob Pardo suggested that game developers sometimes put too high a premium on innovation at the expense of execution. The comment was part of a discussion also involving Junction Point's Warren Spector and inXile's Brian Fargo. Spector had kicked off the discussion by lamenting the limited spectrum of game settings and experiences. "I am so sick of games being, 'Is the guy going to get an axe in the head?'" he said. "I think the kind of fantasies we provide aren't helping." Fargo, who had a great deal of experience working with successful fantasy properties at Interplay, which he founded, disagreed, saying that some settings just work better for games. "[Blizzard] are the kings of knowing what works," he pointed out. "Why did [Blizzard] pick high fantasy? There's a good reason, and it's not because Blizzard isn't clever." The studio behind World of Warcraft ended up being a frequent topic of discussion over the course of the session, and though there was likely more discussion about the developer than there was total input by Pardo himself, he did weigh in here. "I think we sometimes value innovation too highly," said Pardo of the game development community. "We really don't teach lessons of execution enough. It's not necessarily that there are a lot of fantasy games. I don’t think that's so much the problem as that there are a lot of bad fantasy games." Pardo pointed to Nintendo as a company that is “always nailing the execution” -- something Blizzard holds at its core, with obviously lucrative results. “You get rewarded for that,” he concluded.

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