Just wanted to throw in a little follow-up to the whole “game auteur” discussion I recently posted about.
That last post was mostly about why full creative control isn’t practical or even possible in the absolute sense. But that’s just one of many ways the autocrat approach, even if implemented as partial as it inevitably must be, can fail.
I’d like to bring this forum thread to people’s attention: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=776423
There’s been quite a bit of commotion in the wake of the announcement that Irrational Games, the development studio behind Bioshock and Bioshock: Infinite, would be closing its doors and laying off its employees. The spotlight has primarily been directed at front-man and spokesperson Ken Levine, with people taking particular interest in his role in the shuttering of the studio, and his plans for the future. This is not surprising in itself considering the naïve paradigm of the “Auteur” game developer that still hangs over the industry. What is all the more surprising is how critical the perspectives of some of the articles on the web have been and that I, for once, am not the only one endeavoring to knock the halos off of people.
This gives me the luxury of taking on another role. I’m going to focus on the whole concept of these nebulous Auteurs who, rather than actual people are carefully constructed and altogether fake personae – a concept the Bioshock franchise explored at length, incidentally. Because even though the authors of some of these articles have made it quite clear that they understand that the games we all play and love are the products of teams of people, nobody has really explained in any satisfactory detail what this actually means in practice, from a development point of view, and in a language that even laypeople can understand. So I’m going to try to do that as best as I can. Because the industry’s many unsung development teams do not simply deserve token nods, or blanket admiration for that matter. They deserve to be taken seriously. They deserve that we make an effort. They deserve to be understood.
Good post by a friend of mine about the perils of surprise successes.
Originally posted on Less shitty than it could be:
I would like to write about the Flappy Birds story.
Backstory: Flappy Bird was a very successful, simple mobile game. It created a lot of controversy because of duplicating Nintendo’s Mario art style, being a clone, being a hard game, being a successful game etc. There have also been accusations of it being a money laundering thing for the mafia or about the developer manipulating the app store rating. True or not, these are the usual accusations and discussions that you might expect about a game that suddenly gets very successful.
It’s creator, Dong Nguyen, a young Vietnamese man who created Flappy Birds as a test project, took down the game while it was generating about $ 50,000 per day. There has been a lot of discussion, more discussion and even more discussion about why he closed this gold mine. His own tweets indicate that he couldn’t take the huge amount of interest in his person. He seems to be a naive young introverted person who is not used to standing in the spotlight. This amount of attention was too much for him to process.
Everyone should read. Though the definition of experience is not perfect by the author’s own admission (I for one would like to average the experience out across the team – if only one out of 100 devs on the team has actually launched a game, then that needs to be taken seriously), it’s still a pretty good indication of what experience does or doesn’t bring to the crowdfunding table.
Originally posted on World 1-1:
Author UnSubject over at his blog, Evil As A Hobby, scrubbed through video game labeled Kickstarters spanning 2009 – 2012 and assembled the data into a compelling look at the extremely low rate of follow-through made by over 366 projects. It’s a great article that has encouraged quite a bit of discussion both there and across the ‘net.
It’s a revealing look at something that I could only touch on in the end summary to my survey of 2014′s gaming landscape on Gamesbeat – a disturbing implication of completely missing release estimates by Kickstarted projects based on only a tiny sample of reported releases slated for 2014. UnSubject’s exhaustive work not only nails home what I could only assume, but encourages discussion on just how successful hundreds of other projects have been in the past few years as part of a bigger picture. It’s an eye opening read.
“Life as an independent developer is filled with the constant threat of failure. This isn’t the first time in our 8 year history we’ve faced this sort of challenge. It’s not the first time we’ve had to reduce staff on one of our games.” wrote American McGee on the game’s Kickstarter page.
I’m sure he already told people that in the original pitch.
Very well-written piece by UnSub. Relevant for anyone who had any sort of opinion on this piece of mine.