I recently watched this documentary on the making of the new Doom game, and I found it to be pretty interesting.
A great deal of the doc focuses on things that seemed to come really, really late in the development process and most of them have to do with how the game feels.
I find this interesting, especially since a great deal of Magic design now seems to be about trying to get that "feel" and trying to get the mechanics to mesh. I've often been against this, but as I learn more about designing games, I have come to understand that it's a goal worth striving for.
I still think mechanics should override things like flavor, push comes to shove, but more often than not the two can merge well and it is definitely worth making the effort.
Having played Doom, I can certainly attest to that. The developers knew they wanted you to be in a perpetual motion, get-in-there and blow shit up mindset and they had good mechanics to justify their game. Once they figured out why that should be the case-the justification for it-everything else just locked into place. It took a lot of effort but it totally shows: Doom is one of the better games I played this year and part of that reasoning is that everything in the game supports the notion that you're there to kick demon ass and chew gum and you are all outta gum.
But Magic is trickier. I know that people were nerdily giddy this year when, at Pro-Tour Eldritch Moon you had Tamiyo and Emrakul facing off in the finals and WotC had to consider that a pretty cool thing.
However, is it a good thing? I'm not certain that engineering cards that are so deliberately good that we see storyline conflicts play out in real life is a positive. The situation that 2016 has left us with looks to be a Standard that people aren't very happy with.
That said, I have to admit that the attempt to merge these things does matter and when it pays off, as it did in Doom, you get something really special.
I don't know how much gaming I'll get in over the holidays, so this will probably be the last post until Jan 3. But by then, Aether Revolt previews will start AND I should have some good games in with Ironhide, so there will be things to report.
Happy holidays, everyone!