It was a comment, but I decided it works as an independent post as well. So.
Jeff Freeman commented my accuse to the “industry” of being incestuous after I found out that Kalgan = Evocare, former UO Lead Designer:
It’s not like we’re accountants or generic businessmen – where we can leave a job in the corn chip industry and go right to work doing the exact same thing in the oil and gas exploration business.
Have you followed the link?
That’s the “negative” sense of my comment: the developers go out from a door and reenter from another. We wonder about the lack of new ideas and different games but the truth is that the panorama is dominated by the same small group that keeps moving from a studio to another as the most natural thing in the world. Like going out for shopping. Every time there’s the need to hire someone the requirements become “closed doors” to everyone coming from the outside who could be able to express something different from the exact same screwups we all know way too well. It’s roleplaying a change because NOTHING changes at all. We just get the same devs disguised as someone else behind stupid nicknames.
More than a creative place it’s a fridge.
I’m not saying that everyone should be fired and remain unemployed, I’m not even remotely commenting the personal level. What I believe is that, once again, there’s zero commitment and zero responsibility in the industry. The majority of these devs jump from a game to another. It’s normal. Think what would happen in politics if something similar would happen. Yes, it’s exactly the SAME thing. Mmorpg design is politics for the most part.
In this precise case looking at the past helps a lot to understand the future. Games don’t have their own lives, they simply represent the people working behind. If the people keep shifting at an insane rate (like it’s happening at SOE) the game will just transform into a body without an head or a soul. Blind. Meaningless. Empty. Lost.
I seriosly believe in the importance of a solid, permanent team. Even if the worst screwup happen those people should be responsible of that and work their asses on it at their best. Not fired. Not replaced with someone fleeing from another screwup happening somewhere else. What’s this? War refugees?
What I criticize is this relativity. It looks like games are all equal, so any dev, flaunting proudly years of experience, can jump from project to project as the most natural thing in the world. As if there’s anything specific to what you are supposed to do. This isn’t “normal”, this is unbelievable. These devs become “gurus” with insane egos like Richard Garriott beliving their hands have a magical touch that can make everything great and wonderful.
Look at this specific case. This guy joined in March of the last year, about the same time when I joined the beta. Guess what? I love the game as everyone else. Guess what? The PvP system is the most awful thing in the game. Guess what? It’s not coming from Blizzard, it’s coming from an old UO dev.
For me *this* makes sense. The quality of the game begins right as you decide who to hire. And this crucial step is always fucked up by the choice of an infinite list of “references” (prides). Imho, those references should be the very first reason to *avoid* someone. Because you know what he did. Those references are *warnings*. I’m tired of seeing Senior Designers jumping from game to game and repeating the same screwups, jumping away without taking their OWN responsibilities. And publicizing around how they joined the best team EVER, how they are so TOTALLY excited to work on this and that. Hypocrisy. Just “words” to praise this and that in order to make everyone happy and proud. And warming chairs.
If I wanted to play UO I would have paid for it. Now I find the exact same designer on my “new game of choice” to bring along the same screwups I was HOPING TO FORGET. To LEAVE BEHIND.
What I would like to see is devs committing to projects. I’d like to see developers as AUTHORS, okay? I don’t want new ones to step in and invade other types of “narration”. I want SPECIFICITY. I want to choose what I want to play and I want THAT game to be the expression of THAT specific author. I don’t want people to step in and out DAILY. What the fuck is that?
And since I give A LOT of value to the work and expression of these authors I’d also like to follow them. Not the titles. I don’t care if what I play is Mythic, SOE or Blizzard. That means jack shit. That’s the superficial label. Any of these companies can fire all the devs, form a new group and still develop the SAME FUCKING TITLE.
This is INSANE, imho.
You can try to change restaurant but the chefs remain the same. Where’s the choice?