Should Game Producers Tell the Truth? (Even In a Restaurant)

Here’s an almost true story.

3 game producers enter a restaurant. They order food and drinks. After a bit of waiting, the meal arrives to the table. Producers start eating and one of them makes a remark about how bad the food is. The other comments nods his head and says “same here, I’ll never visit this place ever again”. Third producer says that he thinks the food is okay.

Time goes on, and food disappears from the plates… and it’s time to call waitress to bring the bill.

When the waitress asks “Was all good? Food fine?” every producer nods their heads and says “yeh, sure” or “definitely” and so on.

Whih brings me to my question.

Is this the way things happen?

Is it typical for producers (or for anybody for that matter) to act this way? Is it okay to say “well, I didn’t like the food to be honest”? Is it okay (or mandatory) to do similar at work (like for example when somebody messes things up, we don’t directly say anything to him, but speak bad words behind his back)? Are we trying to protect their feelings or what’s going on?

Why we are like this? (Are you?)

Is this be the correct way to behave?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I don’t think it’s polite to lie to people, so I always give constructive critics or constructive praises.

  2. Would you like some actual constructive feedback, or would you prefer me to just say ‘everything is fine, thank you’ even though it isn’t?

    If I give you the constructive feedback, are you going to actually take steps to improve the situation, for the next customer?

    Why waste you time giving anyone constructive feedback, if they’re not going act on it?

  3. I’d say it’s mostly fear of confrontation. Nobody WANTS to be the ‘asshole’ that reveals the horrible truth to someone. But, if things aren’t working, then most decent people would (or at least should :P) prefer to be informed of the problem, than to be left blind.
    Of course, there’s an art to the delivery of criticism, as mentioned above.

  4. Beyond politeness the cause of being willing to complain to associates but not to present the issue to the person who really needs to know is often a personal aversion to confrontation in general.

  5. I think this is a phenomena that is relevant to not only the games industry; but in most if not all industries that can benefit from constructive criticism.

    If your opinion on the subject is simply something along the lines of; okay, bad, good, terrible, etc than I don’t think that it is something worth saying and naturally most people will empathise and just not say anything. But when it comes to something like what do you think about the camera angles or player models, colours, sounds, etc, I think constructive criticism should be put out there and be viewed as a positive thing, because in many cases it brings a valuable insight to someone else’s view, whether or not it’s right is up to you because it’s subjective.

  6. Did they not like the food because there was something weong with it? Because it wasn’t what they were expecting? Or because of their taste in food?

    The first 2 it is better to be honest (well, usually the wait-person can’t do anything about the hype), and the last one it’s better to be polite (if you say “uugggg I can’t stand fish!” then why are you in a fish restaurant?)

  7. Sandwich is a nice idea to be still polite. But I prefer to be honest. On the other hand, it is not always easy!

    I think we are not always polite because of empathy. We can imagine how it feels when somebody says “I don’t like what you’ve done.”.

  8. It’s totally unrelated to game development, but an interesting theme anyway. In my opinion, it’s much better to tell the truth or not to tell anything than to lie to be polite.

    Recently, I read some guidelines somewhere how to criticize others, where it was told that it is best to tell some good things at first, and then some bad things, so the criticized person doesn’t get insulted so much and can take this not too personally.

    It’s totally important to be able to criticize politely as well as accept critics yourself. When people accept that they do mistakes, they can correct the situation trying to avoid problems in the future.

    Analogous situations as you described, usually also happen between partners in families. But this is already another story.

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