With the setback of having a completed title go unreleased, DeSharone explained how he eventually moved onto creating solely art assets for other games. "The old studio in St. Petersburg was sold to the Blizzard guys, and I decided to start a new company by myself, without a partner, in 1997. So that's when I went to Kiev and started Boston Animation. The current studio is over in Kiev, and right now we're mostly creating artwork for other [companies'] games. We've done quite a bit of artwork for Sony Online, for their EverQuest I and II, and Star Wars games. And ... we're doing a lot of work which I can't really talk about."

The reasons behind such events, though, make for melancholy reading. "Games are just getting huge, and I think that's part of why our transition is concentrating mostly on artwork, in terms of our offshore studio. To put an entire triple-A game together ... requires so much money and such a huge team these days." A common and sad tale in videogames: It's more affordable to farm out development of games, or sections of them, to other smaller companies. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and companies like TOSE and Boston Animation are successful, but that doesn't mean consumers should be lax when it comes to knowing who is responsible for games.

If the videogame medium is ever to be taken seriously, to evolve and develop to its full potential, to move beyond the "production line" image it has, it is imperative that people start taking an interest in who is actually responsible for the games they like. So, the next time you play one, look past the splash screen and read the credits, because someone, often anonymous, invested a huge chunk of their life into something you enjoy.

John Szczepaniak is a South African freelance videogame writer with a preference for retro games. He is also a staff member on the Retro Survival project, which contains articles on retro gaming and is well worth investigating.

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