Bad video games are a fact of life. For every great game out there you’ll find dozens and dozens of turds in its wake. Some companies even seem to specialize in craptastic games. As a long time avid gamer there’s been more than one title I’ve come across that I ended up thinking to myself, “My grandmother could write a better game… and she’s dead!” How the hell do such stunningly terrible ideas ever get released? Didn’t the developers play their own game?!? Of course they did, but as one developer explains that’s not the only deciding factor:
I was out visiting friends in Chicago not too long ago and at some point the conversation made its way over to video games. Obviously they all know what I do for a living and since they are big gamers themselves, they are always interested to hear the inner workings of the industry. The problem is that they eventually make their way to telling me all about the awesome game they would make if “they” were the ones making the games. This is usually how it goes for most of my conversations with game fans and even interviews with new designers. Most people who are entering the industry that I’ve spoken to manage to get their conversations around to a very similar topic. That point is ‘how they would make the game that would change the world.’ Depending on my mood, I try not to ruin their dreams. However, sometimes they get a little snotty about it and I have to bitch-smack them with a sock full of reality and attempt to make them understand how the world actually works. (Sorry Matt)
It’s like these people think that all bad games are the result of the people who make them not knowing or caring about what they are doing. While this is surely the case in some instances, it isn’t always how it goes down. I’ve been involved with or have watched other games that were on a track to possibly be a good game, slowly get churned into a giant steaming piece of crap through no fault of the people directly working on it. Developers, for the most part, all want to make a great game and will work themselves to death to get it done. But sometimes no matter how hard you work, someone more powerful than you is going to come in and stick their d!^* in your peanut butter.
As it turns out, game making is a lot like movie making in that someone else often has the purse strings and will occasionally feel he needs to add his “improvements” to the mix which end up being anything but improvements. I think most gamers realize this on some level, but it’s easy to forget.
Link via Joystiq.