“In my professional opinion, I should just shut up.”

10 Nov

Giant Bomb recently drew my attention to a feud between Infinity Ward (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare) and Treyarch (Call of Duty: World at War) representatives. Robert Bowling of IW is mad at Noah Heller of Treyarch for mentioning CoD4 too much in his WaW interviews.

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Apparently, Bowling thinks Heller is trying to ride on IW’s coattails as WaW nears its release. Whether or not this is true isn’t any concern of mine. What I find interesting is how Bowling finds it okay to voice his opinion so publicly. Allow me to explain.

The video game community is a sea of opinions with potential conflicts as far as the eye can see. For the most part, these opinions belong to the gamers, but occasionally, a professional opinion (or, the opinion of a professional) comes along and rocks the boat.

I understand that game developers are groups of individuals, but those individual opinions shouldn’t be thrown in with the rest. This case, for example, does nothing to improve the image of either Infinity Ward or Treyarch. This leaves the IP, Call of Duty, to suffer in the middle. It reminds of an incident surrounding that Wii Ware game we have yet to receive: Eternity’s Child.

Luc Bernard, creator of the game, came out to criticize the low score Destructoid assigned to the PC version of Eternity’s Child. In doing so, Bernard offered no constructive criticism of the review and then eventually relented by calling out his team, passing the buck. He later went on to proclaim his retirement from the industry while offering another idea for a game and a comic book or something. It’s all kinda’ hazy, but the point is, the guy was incredibly unprofessional by publicly stepping in to offer his (ill-formed) opinion and making such a pitiful spectacle of himself. The attention did nothing to help his game’s image, especially after drawing readers to Destructoid’s painful review.

When the opinion of gamers conflict, they’re arguing about which game is better than which. When the opinion of developers conflict, they’re arguing about which game their game is better than. It’s just unprofessional and unbecoming of the people we come to expect so much from. It can only serve to isolate your fans and harm your IP.

Professionals, keep your opinions to yourselves.

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