Quid Pro Quo


“I gave it 9/10. Pretty forward, it’s the best game in the franchise, but it’s just not.. You know, it’s not perfect.”

You see, perfect is an abstract term. What I define as perfect may not be your kind of perfect. What I define as faulty may be something that you see as almost flawless. Sure, we can find common ground by saying that 2 + 2 = 4, but would we be happier by forcing ourselves to observe a result conceived by mechanical argumentations rather than a personal opinions? No, we wouldn’t, and despite our differences we can find common ground in this answer, too.

Differences, though, seem to be unacceptable these days. And the person authoring these differences will from now on be known as a “hater”. Just ask Cliff Bleszinski. The man has been the driving force behind one of the biggest and most beloved franchises this generation: Gears of War. Not only has it triumphantly conquered fans across the world, but most importantly – in this case anyway – it’s one of the most critically acclaimed franchises that we have seen the last decade, if not in the entire history of video games.

You’d think that Epic Games, and especially Bleszinski, would be content with their accomplishments. You’d think that as the creative director behind such a success, he could look back at his career and his achievements with the same love and pride that a parent feels, when their child proudly proclaims that they took a piss for the first time on their own without making a mess in the entire bathroom. But no, instead he makes a mess himself.

Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things.

Maybe, though, as a child would sometimes do, he makes a mess to be given attention, to make sure that he is seen, heard and noticed. Media, be it games or mainstream, has the power to create a monster, but often do so without realising what they’ve done. Bleszinski knows this. He knows how to seduce the media and make for interesting conversation, and he takes advantage of this. First and foremost to promote his games, but maybe, just maybe, he actually enjoys the controversy. There’s a reason he might be the “Tony Stark of videogames”, whether we like it or not.

Communication, however, can not be upheld by a single individuel. Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things. When Bleszinski chooses his words wisely, the receiving part listens. But the receiver also comprehends and analyses the words coming out of his mouth in order to pass the communication along to its audience. Without an audience the communication would be meaningless, and if the message has no one to target, Bleszinski (or anyone else for that matter) would be just another voice drowning in the crowd of attention seeking beings.

Talk to a door, get no answer, and you’ll know what my point is. We, the games media, have created our own modern Prometheus. We have no one but ourselves to thank for this, but neither does Bleszinski. Chances are that he won’t care, and frankly he shouldn’t, but this also means that the games media, and especially those being victimised by this very man, has little or no mercy in the future.

Bleszinski has the right to criticise a games journalist’s work just as the games journalist has a right to criticise Bleszinski’s work.

Ramifications of scoring a game, which incidentally happens to be a treasured piece of work for a game developer, with something as abysmal as 8/10 is of no threat (or at least shouldn’t be) for someone, who makes a living by doing this very thing every single day. What Bleszinski seems to miss is that just as he pays the bills by doing something, which he obviously loves, games journalists put food on the table and support their families by doing something that they love. Every time they publish a review, they’re publishing their work, which they most often put their heart and soul into. Bleszinski has the right to criticise a games journalist’s work just as the games journalist has a right to criticise Bleszinski’s work – labour of love or not.

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