The Age of Exposition

I am a bit late to the party on this but it seems at least two anonymous developers have tried to make revelations of inside information in the games industry lately; one outing DotA developer IceFrog and another sharing strong words about the development of Warhammer Online. Things like these have a tendency to pop up in comments when bad things happen to games, but since two separate people have gone through the trouble of starting up blogs to voice their concerns there is a risk of a trend starting.

I am not really interested in commenting on the specific cases. The decline in the global economy hit the games industry as hard as anyone else, but some of us were still surprised since there was a general idea that entertainment products – or at least the relatively cheap ones – were exempt. Needless to say, a lot of studios have had hard times and there is a lot of pent-up aggression among developers.

That is not to say there is no merit to the arguments put forth by the striving whistle-blowers, though. I believe there are at most larger game studios people in managerial positions that are not cut out for their role. Making games is an interdisciplinary craft and on the level we have arrived at, understanding each discipline to the depth it requires to make informed decisions about it has become impossible. Sitting high up in a large corporate structure it becomes near impossible to see where the actual responsibilities lie when things break. People who does not actually contribute have an easy time getting lost in the bureaucracy, often not knowing themselves how expendable or downright damaging they are to the company – heck, in bad cases no-one might know who is actually doing anything and it might be impossible to find out.

This, of course, births problems and confusion and brings me to my point – problems exist at all studios. People speaking up after a failure might give the impression that a project was obviously doomed, everybody who worked on it knew about it and it was only because of the ignorance of some higher-up who never even looked at the game that it was even allowed to continue.

This is not really the case – all of the larger projects (both professional and hobbyist) I have personally been a part of have had severe problems and on occasion seemed to be on the verge of failing completely. Had they done so, I could easily have written long rants about why that was but instead I remember them as hard times were we came through and obstacles we overcame.

Success makes you magnanimous like that just like failure can make you bitter, I suppose.

1 Comment so far

  1. Hennix on November 7th, 2010

    Bra skrivet. Jag tycker att du på ett objektivt sätt har fångat essensen av något som är galet inom industrin. Det som till stor del fick mig att lämna denna värld som jag ända sedan barnsben drömt om att arbeta i.
    Hoppas du hittar en ny oas där passionen för teknik och spelglädje fortfarande överskuggar idiotisk byråkrati och vinstintressen.

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Posted on Oct 26/10 by Saint and filed under General game development | 1 Comment »