This summer I had the pleasure to play Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for the first time ever. The controls are quite clunky, but everything else was so good it blew my mind: a true Star Wars experience, respectful of the franchise and with its own personality at the same time. I was hooked by the game, but, I thought, this happens with every old Bioware game, doesn’t it? It shouldn’t be a surprise.
The truth is that Bioware games’ quality has plunged into the abyss in the last decade, to the point that you almost forget they used to make great games. Their last games are just wide areas filled with nothing but boredom, that you keep on playing just out of love for their franchises or for the company. As any corporate product, it’s homework for the fans.
Old Bioware games, instead, are smaller but have a lot more to do, and a lot more that feels meaningful and rewarding. What made Dragon Age: Inquisition an average game at best was, more than anything else, the fact that most of the things you did in the game were, in the end, meaningless. Its predecessor, Dragon Age: Origins, was a smaller game but gave the sensation that everything mattered, be it true or not.
The point of this post, despite the long introduction, is not just about videogames or Bioware.
Shortly after, I read Elric of Melniboné. In those pages I found exactly the same thing: that book never lets your attention fall. Moorcock doesn’t let you be bored and uses as many words as you need to understand what’s happening and to feel wonder. He never writes more than necessary. But, above all, there’s always something new and meaningful happening. Zero useless scenes or dialogues (despite Elric being known as the one who constantly philosophizes about morality). In that little book there’s more actual content than in the 600-pages long tombstones (their covers are so sad they actually seem they belong to a cemetery) you find in bookstores nowadays.
This is what I want. I can’t manage to go through a 600-pages long novel (very rare exceptions may apply) and frankly, I can’t even imagine myself spending at least a year to write all those pages for a single book. After a while, my brain wants to start a new project.
So, an advice from a reader: write short books which are full of adventures, we need more of them. And a promise as a writer: I won’t write giant books. Well, right now I can’t, but that’s another thing.