I’m not sure how many of you work an office job like me, but let me tell you: one of the most frustrating parts is having to cowtow to the wishes of some overpaid executive who has forgotten what regular people think, talk, and want. They hate being told they’re wrong, and think themselves to be experts on every subject under the sun and therefore entitled to thrust their opinion into every damn little thing. It’s frustrating, I’m sick of it, and I just can’t wait to either die or retire.
…But anyway, it seems like the folks at Telltale had a similar experience, because former Telltale designer Emily Grace Buck, at the Sweden Game Conference earlier this week, used Minecraft: Story Mode and the Guardians of the Galaxy game to illustrate how the Telltale executives didn’t seem to “get” the games they were being paid to work on.
Specifically, she said that they wanted Minecraft: Story Mode (a game for kids, I remind you) to have a T-rated sense of humor, with adult-oriented jokes that would have been wildly inappropriate for their target demographic. Likewise, she reports that they pushed for the Guardians of the Galaxy brand to be “darker and more violent” because they thought “that people do not associate humor with the brand.”
Obviously, the writers and such were able to push back against these stupid ideas, but they said it was far from easy or fun: she described it as a scary uphill battle where developers could get reassigned or fired for failing to adopt the higher-ups' point of view. Which, if you weren’t paying attention, is not a good way to run a business.
Granted, none of this matters to Telltale anymore: that studio is good and dead. But who knows what kind of shenanigans are happening at other studios…?