EA Thinks Its Video Games Are Too Hard To Learn

Wait... what system are they even supposed to be using?

Wait... what system are they even supposed to be using?

One thing that the gaming community could be better with is perspective. Yeah, we’re willing to spend a few hours learning how a game works, but we’re not most people. And as gaming expands, EA is worried that most people won’t want to sit through a tutorial.

The Escapist covered some recent comments from EA’s Chief Creative Officer Richard Hilleman, and he’s pretty blunt about how games need to change:

“The average player probably spends two hours to learn how to play the most basic game… asking for two hours of somebody’s time–most of our customers, between their normal family lives…to find two contiguous hours to concentrate on learning how to play a video game is a big ask.”

He’s not wrong. Think about the number of systems your modern game has; it’s not just learning the controls, it’s accessing the map, understanding the progression system, and figuring out all the tools the game gives you. A well-designed game, in particular, will make learning each of those tools crucial to your progress.

That said, part of the appeal of any video game is learning how to play it, and part of good game design is a progression that lets players get used to the mechanics and introduces more of them and more strategies over time. A good example is Flying Wild Hog’s reboot of Shadow Warrior, which I’m playing through right now; the game introduces you to weapons, powers, and skills one at a time, and uses rewards and enemy design to encourage you to experiment with strategies and combinations.

The worry, of course, is that EA will interpret that as “people are dumb” and start making its games idiotic accordingly. But really, if they want to trim down how long a tutorial takes, they could just stop using cutscenes. That’d probably save us about eight hours a game.