The other big names people mentioned are hardly "rockstars".
Good musicianship doesn't sell albums nearly as well as hype and fancy music videos (there's a joke about music fans being graphics whores in there somewhere). Record labels are in the business of making money and where they make the most is by selling brands. The same goes for the games industry, it's just that their brands are Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed while for the music industry it's The Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga.
There will of course be people who know who played the funky guitar on Michael Jackson's Bad, just as a lot of people can name the project lead of Farcry 2 or the script writer for The Lion King, but most people just don't care and most people is where the money is at.
What if treat performers bad?
Hear from the spirit-world this mystery:
Creation is summed up, O man, in thee;
Angel and demon, man and beast art thou,
Yea, thou art all thou dost appear to be!
Farcry had an awesome engine, so they probably and some great coders there... but it was probably a group effort, and I can't see myself buying a game because a coder from Farcry happened to work on it.
The guys who managed/produced Deus Ex seem to have no idea why it was successful, but the Eidos team who made Deus Ex 3 seem to have a much better idea than them.
On some albums the music producer might have zero impact, on another they might have a huge impact. Even with a tiny high profile group like a band (many less people involved than a game) it's often impossible to quantify influence and effect. Why was Oasis's 3rd album not very good, but their 5th album (with some new members) much better. Who had the most influence on that success? Was it even a person, or just luck, or the situation, or the studio, or the girlfriend or the drugs/booze?
Either way, it's just impossible to keep track of exactly who makes games. It might be the same studio, but a few / some / a lot / one key employee(s) has/have changed. It might be a different studio (which might include a few / some / all the same developers).
I'd also imagine that JC hasn't been the sole coder on iD games for quite a while, though i could be wrong.
Another counter example might be Star Wars. Many fans would have screamed at the idea of someone other than Lucas making the prequels.. but it turned out that he had no clue what made the originals a success. Or lucasarts had no history of making FPS games, yet they made the awesome Dark Forces 1 and 2.... yet the guy who made DF2 then made some crappy FPS game, and the studio that made the excellent Elite Force made a crappy Jedi Knight 2.
I agree with you 100% that we shouldn't be simply following franchises. But I don't think following developers/ studios is an improvement. We'd be better just looking at the games and seeing if it looks good/interesting.
As for Star Wars, I'm not a fan and I haven't watched it. I read somewhere that the initial movie was partialy directed by some other guy, because George Lucas was sick at that time. I wouldn't be surprised if the first movie was great (by some people standard) despite George Lucas.
To no one in particular: I'll grant you that keeping track of these individuals who made games great gets harder and harder as developers get bigger. I don't have much problem with that, because I mostly stay away from AAA games. They disapponted me too many times. I play various small indie games and "medium" ones. Another reason to avoid AAA games - it's hard to tell who does what.
Last edited by b0rsuk; 28-04-2012 at 11:21 AM.
This is just plain silly. Game development doesn't even work in such a way that this would be possible nor would it be a good idea if it did.
Most of the people who work on games aren't rock stars, they are regular guys. They are guys you probably know and have gamed with and never bothered to ask what they do for a living. I have friends who work at companies like Blizzard, Microsoft, NC soft, CCP, 38 studios, and more. They are regular guys who do things like map/level design, writing, marketing, etc. They aren't rock stars and I don't think they'd even want to be.
Goichi Suda (aka Suda51)?
Tomonobu Itagaki? (his hair and sunglasses are widely known at least)
And I don't even play many Japanese games. God help us if someone who actually likes JRPGs comes along.
Last edited by Rii; 28-04-2012 at 04:21 PM.
The Japanese are certainly far more wedded to their auters than the west is. One question for more knowledgeable folk is whether this is more perception and marketing or a reality of Japanese development processes. From my layman's perch there is evidence for both conclusions: the Metal Gear Solid games certainly make far more sense as the reflection of a single mind in all its brilliance and idioyncrasy than as the product of any collective decision making process. On the other hand one could question whether Shigeru Miyamoto is more than a rubber stamp these days. Although he (Miyamoto) has said that he would like to take a break from his oversight role at Nintendo to explore some ideas down in the trenches, so who knows?
Last edited by Rii; 28-04-2012 at 04:49 PM.
Wasn't treating developers like rock stars pretty much EA's 'thing' in the early 90s, even going so far as to put photos of the developers on the box art? Whatever happened to that? (Other than much, much larger development teams.)
"Moronic cynicism is a kind of na´vetÚ. It's na´vetÚ turned inside-out. Na´vetÚ wearing a sneer." -Momus
It's not just size that makes big developers hard to track:
Non Disclosure Agreements
Publishers tend to treat developers like tools. Very often they make them sign NDAs and forbid to make contact with players before and after release. There are countless examples, but I'll list some:
- Brink was a trainwreck of a game. Players felt they are being ignored, asked for changes and important bugfixes and very rarely got any response. Congratulations, Bethesda.
- Heroes VI was abandoned after release. There are simple but important bugs, and no one fixes them. Ubisoft made everyone in the dev team keep quiet and work like slaves.
So it's not just size that makes indie (or small) developers better. It's lack of NDA's. With no NDA in place it's easier to tell who can be praised/blamed for what. Indie devs have no problems blogging or posting development videos.
Yes but one developer that says the wrong thing and you have a minefield of questions and PR fallout. Theres a reason that there there soemtimes, it takes away someone saying something stupid on Twitter. Like say the whole Draw Something debacle.
Obviously a musician and a game developer aren't exactly the same thing (I don't think OP was implying they were, I think he was just making a comparison) and several people have clearly (and rather aggressively) pointed out why the cases are very different in a number of ways, but still I do think there's something to the suggestion of tracking individuals/groups of developers and their abilities. Several of the big kickstarter projects, Tim Schaffer's and Brian Fargo's to pick two big-name ones, have largely based on what OP's on about - their perceived abilities and reputations.
It's particularly silly when people say this is a wrong thing to do because publisher/musician relationship differs in X or a rockstar behaves like Y. You don't know better than I what I meant when I started this thread. I explained my position in the first post. Frankly, if you can't be bothered to read past the thread title, I don't want you here.
Thread title is just a title. It tries to be a summary, but few points can be made within just a single line.