A new interview with 2K President Christoph Hartmann over on MCV makes the top executive at the Take-Two label look a little foolish – not that it’s MCV’s fault. In that interview Hartmann degrades strategy games and Ray Charles among other things. His comments come about as part of a discussion on X-Com, the popular strategy games series that the company is reimagining as a strategy-themed shooter. Here’s the first quote, about 90’s strategy games:
"The ‘90s generation of gamers all love Xcom and we own the IP, so we thought OK, what do we do with it? Every studio we had wanted to do it and each one had its own spin on it. But the problem was that turn-based strategy games were no longer the hottest thing on planet Earth. But this is not just a commercial thing – strategy games are just not contemporary."
The most foolish thing he claims is that strategy games aren’t contemporary. Isn’t Plants vs. Zombies a strategy game? StarCraft II? Isn’t EA making a new C&C game? Didn’t 2K Games make a lot of money off of Civ V and recently put a Civ game on Facebook? You get the point.
And now for Ray Charles. Apparently if Charles had grown up in the era of Kanye West, he’d be exactly like him:
"I use the example of music artists. Look at someone old school like Ray Charles, if he would make music today it would still be Ray Charles but he would probably do it more in the style of Kanye West. Bringing Ray Charles back is all fine and good, but it just needs to move on, although the core essence will still be the same. That’s what we are trying to do. To renew Xcom but in line with what this generation of gamers want. The team behind it is asking themselves every day: ‘Is it true to the values of the franchise?’ It’s not a case of cashing in on the name. We just need to renew it because times are changing."
Are people really "moving on" from Ray Charles, since he’s dead? Should I throw my Doors albums in the fire, followed by everything from Johnny Cash? It’s one of the most ridiculous arguments ever made. The truth is that we can’t move on and forget about X-Com or Ray Charles because we cherish the art for being great.
For a harsher analysis, check out this No High Scores post.