61: Who Really Makes Videogames?

"'This subject is bigger than and goes beyond just TOSE. Not knowing who makes our games has been (and I emphasize this) a problem since the Atari days. Warren Robinett's easter egg in Adventure was the only way he could take credit for his work, because publishers back then took sole credit for a game's creation; later on, he formed Activision to combat that mentality. And things began changing slowly: Companies like Electronic Arts originally championed those behind the games. As Trip Hawkins explained, "One of my mantras is, 'Creativity is the rearranging of the old in a new way.' My reference points for EA were Hollywood for product development, and the record business for promotion and distribution. I wanted to treat developers as artists.'" John Szczepaniak asks the question: "Who Really Makes Videogames?"

Who Really Makes Videogames?

Surprised no one has commented on this!

I'm a little peeved at Greg and his emphasis that the gaming press is at fault.

Look at IGN or Gamespot - they always have feature stories and interviews with lead designers and such. There are 'designer blogs' and all sorts of the things that give a face to the faceless...

The cold, harsh reality is those involved in the process know it takes a lot of people to produce a piece of work in film, television or in music, but those indulging in the final product simply don't care.

Can anyone name the art director of Sleepless in Seattle? or even Starwars for that matter? Sure, there are those few (freaks) who do care, but on the whole no one gives a rats ass. Further to the point - will someone go see another movie that features that art director or key grip?

It's the same in music. Do you know who was the producer of the last CD you purchased? Unless it was a selling point, a big name like Butch Vig or Danger Mouse, I bet you don't.

I think the retro-metroid example is an interesting one to bring up here.

The fact that retro is a first party to nintendo had more of an impact in that game becoming great than a standard developer-publisher relationsip.

Everyone knows that nintendo's internal studios make fantastic games with miyamoto sitting proudly in the captains seat on the ship. What a lot of people don't realise is how much these development "superstars" actually help out the other companies they are working with. I remember reading interviews with the retro guys during the development of the original metroid prime and they would often mention how often the nintendo guys would visit, looking over their shoulders and offering suggestions to make sure the final product was good. I'm sure the same could be said for many of the other games that nintendo outsources (Wars series, Smash bro's, SNES Donkey Kong series).

In research, it doesn't matter how much of the work was performed by the student, the supervisor will always get their name on the final product and 99% of the time it is well deserved, because without the supervisors input the end result would never have become what it finally did.

In the video game industry a lot of publishers seem to claim this sort of credit by default but lets not rush into saying that it is always undeserved. While it does seem necessary for the actual developers to get more credit than they are at this point, I would have no problem with EA taking credit for some of the games they publish if they were to offer Will Wright up as a supervisor, both to help increase the quality of the games and at the same time teach the developers how to make better games.

 

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