Update: Richard Garriott: "Most Game Designers Really Just Suck"

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Daystar Clarion:
He's such an amazing game designer, in fact he's so good that I don't actually recall ever playing one of his games.

That's talent right there.

If you look at hes Ultima games, the design decision are bat shit fucking insane... And do not say it was because of the technology, it wasn't....

Also City of Heroes... No one still has explained to me, if there is city full of heroes - why the fuck are the thieves running rampart around.

Yeah, no.

Sorry Lord British, but you are simply wrong in your initial statement.

You've put out your fair share of shit. Furthermore, there are so many excellent games coming out every year, it makes absolutely no sense to say all designers suck.

I think he may be on to something with the funneling thing though. I think it can be true that people who just love games, but don't really have innate talent are the ones who go into design. It CAN be true. Here and there. There is a HINT of validity to that.

Otherwise, this sounded like a drunken rant.

This really goes hand in hand with the Jimquestion this week. Most game designers throw in an extra gun and call it innovation, true innovation comes from some of the stand outs in the industry. It doesn't always work, but they are trying to make something better.

Garriot you know you can level up your social graces AND game design skills.

There's no limit on IRL stat points.

*falls off chair laughing* "good game designer?" *splutters*

Oh mr Garriot, what an arrogant dick you are, no doubt fapping away while you remember your old successes, but wait, after those successes were some less liked games, remember? First there was Pagan and wasnt that a fantastic new way to take the series? oh wait, no it wasnt! you turned Ultima into a single player platformer! oh deary me....then there was Ultima "whats a paladin?" IX with its juvenile plot and dialog (i wont blame him for the 3D, i will blame him for the story), sorry bug-ridden mess that it was. Then Tabula Rasa and didnt that set the gaming world alight....oh wait a minute, NO it didnt!

Personally i hope SotA is going to be a trainwreck that only succeeds in Garriots fevered imagination, sorry if thats mean but as far as i am concerned Garriot is so high on the smell of his own crap he's in another dimension and this article proves it.

There is a valid criticism buried under that pile of narcissism and condescension.

Designing games is difficult and most people probably aren't cut out for it.

All the people commenting that "Garriot must suck i've never even played his games lol"
Lord British is not responsible for your lack of taste.
For those saying "what's he done recently?"
Sorry, not everybody is in high school and some even can remember further back than their last twitter update.

There are not enough driven, creative game designers. The indie developers get it, they design the way that they program. Others just don't have enough understanding of the enormous monstrosity of a game theyre heading.

Daystar Clarion:
He's such an amazing game designer, in fact he's so good that I don't actually recall ever playing one of his games.

That's talent right there.

That's fair. I mean, the series he's most famous for, Ultima, is pretty old. But! thanks to the good folks at GoG.com, here's your chance to try them out!

Here's Ultima 1, 2, and 3
Ultime 4, 5, and 6
Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar *this one's free!
Ultima 7
Ultima 8
Ultima 9

Go nuts!

I hate to say this about the man who almost single-handedly revolutionized RPG genre, but if you don't count his work in MMOs, he hasn't made anything worthwile in almost 20 years.
Let's face it, he's always been a bit...peculiar. Man lives in a castle called Britannia Manor, styles himself as Lord British, blew most of his money on private space flight and held a wedding ceremony in zero-gravity. On the other hand he always has unique ideas, but like Will Wright and Peter Molyneux (whom he mentions in the article) he rarely delivers what he promised. One of few real gaming celebrities

Quellist:
*falls off chair laughing* "good game designer?" *splutters*

Oh mr Garriot, what an arrogant dick you are, no doubt fapping away while you remember your old successes, but wait, after those successes were some less liked games, remember? First there was Pagan and wasnt that a fantastic new way to take the series? oh wait, no it wasnt! you turned Ultima into a single player platformer! oh deary me....then there was Ultima "whats a paladin?" IX with its juvenile plot and dialog (i wont blame him for the 3D, i will blame him for the story), sorry bug-ridden mess that it was. Then Tabula Rasa and didnt that set the gaming world alight....oh wait a minute, NO it didnt!

Personally i hope SotA is going to be a trainwreck that only succeeds in Garriots fevered imagination, sorry if thats mean but as far as i am concerned Garriot is so high on the smell of his own crap he's in another dimension and this article proves it.

I am pretty sure he had minimal control over things starting around Pagan since that was when EA took over. They have a habit of wrongly guessing what customers want. Tabula Rasa was an MMO released when WoW was still completely omnipotent; TR didn't stand a chance.

He does come off as a bit arrogant, but I think he has a point. Most schools that offer degrees in game development focus on either programming or art. When your advisers are only barely aware that designer is a position and of what it entails, there's small wonder as to why it doesn't get the attention it deserves.

Whenever I tell people I'm studying to be a game designer, their first response is almost always without fail: "Oh, so you program games?"

Mr. Bogos, you forgot a sentence in there. Here is the full quote. "But other than a few exceptions, like Chris Roberts, I've met virtually no one in our industry who I think is close to as good a game designer as I am. I'm not saying that because I think I'm so brilliant. What I'm saying is, I think most game designers really just suck, and I think there's a reason why." I helpfully bolded the removed sentence.

It wouldn't bother me, but that sentence does kind of change the whole tone of what he said.

Oh, and for those who bring up Tabula Rasa, you do realize he sued NCSoft and won because they screwed him over due to that game, right? It didn't get closed off because it failed. It got closed off so that they wouldn't have to pay Lord British stock windfalls. They also forged a resignation letter from him while he was in space promoting the game.

You know, he comes off as conceited, but if you know your gaming history, he listed pretty much the entire Western stable of game designers worth their salt, or at least the ones who have been active in the post-crash years. In fact, if you add Hideo Kojima to the list, you've pretty much got it for the entire world. I'm sure there's four or five others worth mentioning (maybe Suda 51 and Shigeru Miyamoto belong on there?), but it's a very, very short list.

Edit: Sid Meier deserves to be on there too. I think it would be generous to say there are 20 people in the industry on that level, though. And there are a /lot/ more than 20 game designers in the business. And I'm speaking AAA here. The indie market today is pretty much where the entire PC market was 20+ years ago, when these guys were getting famous. There's a lot of creativity coming from that angle, a lot of people focusing on game design because they have a cool idea, rather than because they like someone else's idea.

This is the kind of thing you say to your protege, not in an interview.

He's crazy lets be clear, but its a good crazy and he tries to do good for gaming - reach for the sky and all that(Very Peter.M). So i agree but also would like to point out the risk of such half finished dreams Tabula rasa for example. Lets hope he keeps a level head for his next game and gives us something to support his very arrogent opinions.

My first reaction is to point to Sturgeon's Law: "90% of everything is crap."

My second reaction is that Peter Molyneux's Bullfrog era output must have been way better than his Lionhead era output to warrant putting him on that list.

Lord British telling it like it is since 1979.

I don't know, this coming from the guy who let ultima be ruined by ultima 8 and 9 is kind of ironic. Even as a old age ultima fan I can see he's a hot air balloon. This is not like the old days where you can make big budget games with like 10 people Garriot ...

This is not going to make Garriott very popular.

I have to wonder if it's very fair, though. Garriott worked with Chris Roberts, and people like Molyneux and Wright in addition to making some very good and innovative games have benefited more than many from an "auteur" idea of gaming- that, like film, they are the unifying force and responsibility behind their games. They also started in the business very early and gain some credibility in Garriott's eyes from coming from a similar background in that fashion.

That doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't people working as designers who don't have similar backgrounds who aren't also hard-working, team-unifying people with the clarity of vision to pull a project through; they may just not get the lauds and title credits that someone like Molyneux or American McGee gets. Certainly, I'm sure the industry has its share of lazy hacks as well, but I don't think there's a magic formula for success that must needs begin brewing in the Commodore 64/Apple II era.

And if that was the formula for success, I'd have to look askance at Tabula Rasa, Epic Mickey, Spore, The Movies, and so on.

While I can see his point, he's still coming off as a pretentious prick.

and if he's so great why was no one ever said to me 'Dood!! Why are you not playing (insert game he made here)?!?!'

I'm not sure how to take this. On one hand, he's kind of right, but on the other, this is Lord British we're talking about. He's a little, well, a little insane, isn't he? That's always been my impression of him. Apparently egotistical, too. Hm.

"Other than a few exceptions, like Chris Roberts, I've met virtually no one in our industry who I think is close to as good a game designer as I am," Richard "Lord British" Garriott, creator of the Ultima series tells PC Gamer.

If you are so great a designer, then why have your last few games been absolute disasters? Seriously, what a pretentious ass.

EDIT: Wait he reached his Kickstarter goal. Goddamn it!

Well he is not necessarily incorrect but at the same time the way he is saying it is completely off base.

Though the problem it is VERY hard to find someone both good at programming and art. The combination of the two is extremely sought after in the field of Electronic Media. If you can somehow acquire the ability to be very great at art and programming you would be considered infinitely employable in these fields.

CoL0sS:
Man lives in a castle called Britannia Manor, styles himself as Lord British, blew most of his money on private space flight and held a wedding ceremony in zero-gravity.

Seriously? Come on, everyone, admit it. If any one of us led that kind of lifestyle, we wouldn't waste any time pretending to be modest for the sake of appearances either.

Personally, I like the cut of his jib... whatever the hell a jib is.

So... according to "Lord British" (god, I hate that name), pretentiousness is equal to good game design.

It's not the fucking game designers' fault that the games are shit, it's the consumers. We eat this shit up and continue to buy garbage games, rather than demanding change. The industry has no need to put out new ideas or innovation if the market isn't interested in it.

Well, Richard did create The Best RPG of All Time, so I'm not going to rip on the megalomania this time.

Daystar Clarion:
He's such an amazing game designer, in fact he's so good that I don't actually recall ever playing one of his games.

That's talent right there.

You do realize the problem with saying that right? You not playing his games does not stop them from being good. It doesn't matter if I ever read Harry Potter or not, my not reading it does not change the content of the book for others.

If you're saying that you HAVE played his games but can't remember them because they are so forgettable then I suggest you rephrase your statement. As such it just makes you come off as ignorant.

Frozengale:
you come off as ignorant.

That's me :D

It's been 20 years since the guy made anything worth mentioning.

HA. Even LB's magnum opus featured rather shitty combat.

Ultima 7 was nice, but it only scores points for it's open world and feature richness. Fighting enemies in U7 was a dull clickfest.

It figures LB would think Molyneux a good designer. They are both all about ambitious ideas and weak excecution.

Oh for the love of god. Lazy game designers isn't the problem. It's an unstable market and the big publishers not willing to risk money on new games that they don't know will sell. Don't crap all over designers because you think of them as lazy, when that is not the case at all. Besides, there are only so many new things you can do with a game and keep it enjoyable.

Out of all the games This guy has put out, I think the only one I've heard of is City of Heroes, and even then I haven't played it. Now there probably are a few lazy designers out there, but saying all but a handful are? That's a dick move on his part.

crystalsnow:
It's not the fucking game designers' fault that the games are shit, it's the consumers. We eat this shit up and continue to buy garbage games, rather than demanding change. The industry has no need to put out new ideas or innovation if the market isn't interested in it.

The artist is not required to create crap just because the consumer will take it.

This is one of the points that Lord British is pointing out. Game Designers become lazy and don't care about pushing the medium, they are fine with keeping it in the same spot. While the consumer will consume it, they are not the ones who actually create the content.

If there is ever going to be any change it will depend on the Designer. The customer may or may not continue to consume content from that creator but the reaction of the customer can not change what the designer creates, it may influence later works but it won't change it. The designer must ultimately make the choice to create something interesting.

Steven Bogos:

"Other than a few exceptions, like Chris Roberts, I've met virtually no one in our industry who I think is close to as good a game designer as I am," Richard "Lord British" Garriott, creator of the Ultima series tells PC Gamer. "What I'm saying is, I think most game designers really just suck."

What about this guy?

image

And guess what? He's a better game designer than you, and he's humble as well. Fancy that...

Falterfire:
What was that? That sounds an awful lot like me pulling my Kickstarter pledge. Ah well, more money to spend on games made by game designers that 'suck'.

Totally in agreeance. I refuse to back such a cocky human being. Not to mention, he called Molyneux a great designer, and Fable to me is an incredibly lazy game. And the Ultima series had God knows how many iterations, which doesn't really take that much designing either, much like his MoH analogy.

Shroud of the Avatar seems interesting, but screw this guy.

Molyneux is a good designer?

Right, that's it. Stop the bus, I'm getting off here.

Seriously, Molyneux talks a lot of talks but rarely if ever walks more than a few feet into that talk.

Whether that's Studio Meddling or plain old time-scale constraints... I unno'. But you can't say he's one of the best Developers when the only things of Merit he's made is Black and White & Fable: The Lost Chapters.

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