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Archive Denis Dyack on Story and Content in Games, Part 2 at 1UP (by Philip Kollar)

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... 1UP: I know it's a big deal in comic books too.

Dyack: Yeah, exactly. It's all the same. I think it's just a matter of exploitation. I don't mean exploitation of people so much, but corporations want to be able to control the rights and exploit those the most they can. In the end, though, as soon as you take something away from an author, you're immediately diluting it, and you're hurting the industry. As an example, I'll talk about Legacy of Kain. We created the first Legacy of Kain. We came up with all the content, all the story, but in the end we moved away from that series. Crystal Dynamics tried to take it over. A lot of people liked what they did. But if you look at Legacy of Kain where it is right now -- so diluted, so dysfunctional -- as a property itself, it's pretty much gone in a completely different direction than we would have ever taken it.

When we were doing Legacy of Kain, we had a lot of research into vampire mythology and a lot of ideas on where we were going. Crystal Dynamics merged in this entirely different game that had nothing to do with the series and then slapped the IP on it, and that's where Soul Reaver came from. That was just a weapon in the game. Even if the developer's good, and I think Crystal Dynamics is not a bad developer, you get this dilution of the content, because the original author is gone.

1UP: Do you consider that your lesson learned as far as IP and handing over IP rights?

Dyack: It's more a lesson for the industry, if anything. If you take away the people who created a game, you really have to question its value. There are some people who think, "Oh no, we can exploit this." That's what Hollywood is all about. In Hollywood, they don't care who the author is. Look at Ridley Scott's Alien. Then they got James Cameron to do Aliens. It continued on that path, and look at the Aliens franchise now. Right now, it's Aliens vs. Predator, but they are not even close to the same league as what they used to be. If you ask me, it's primarily because the authors, the original creators of that content are gone. ...
―Philip Kollar[1]

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