The following is part of a series of anonymous feature blogs which have been written by a former member of the sports video games industry who wishes to remain anonymous. We have verified proof this individual is who they say they were and did work at a major publisher.
After just a few months on the job, I started to reevaluate my desire and need to be a part of the video games industry. The one thing that was important to me though, was portraying a professional attitude, and to not cause waves within the office. Waves are not a good thing in the gaming industry, and one can find their way out of the door very quickly if that is the route one chose to travel down.
It wasn’t as if I was the only one who had to deal with this type of creative suppression, as the majority of my co-workers revealed the same to me as business relationships were built over my time with this company. There were people that had incredible ideas, the ability to convey and implement them, but rarely did they come to fruition. This type of environment was tough to deal with on a daily basis, and it weighed on people constantly. Some dealt with it better than myself of course, but all people are wired differently.
It’s important for the gaming community to understand that the community interactions they participate in, are truly recognized by gaming developers. In most cases the lead developers have pride in their work, and want to include a lot of suggestions that are made within the gaming coumminty, but it doesn’t always work that way.
Almost all ideas have to go through the proper channels and require approval. That doesn’t mean the lead developers can’t run with ideas and include some of their own personal touches, but typically all design decisions are passed around and need to be collectively agreed upon before they move towards implementation.
On most games, there are several features which just don't make it in.
Having a lot of eyes upon a project may seem like a good thing, but it actually can be a bad thing in some cases. Executives and developers typically have very different ideas of what they want out of a game, which is a constant battle within the workplace.
The developer constantly has on their mind the idea that possibly millions will be playing this game, and thus oftentimes wants to make the game as fun and unique as possible with limited bugs. Executives approach each title with the popular phrase “return on investment” in mind. They are trying to make a good game, with as little financial exposure as possible, and maximize the profits.
While each group’s approach is understandable, neither really meet in the middle that often.
As a result, the gamer typically find themselves at the losing end of this battle. If all gamers knew the type of game they could have had instead of the one they just invested $60 on, gamer satisfaction of many titles would take a nosedive.
While that may a rough idea to digest, it’s a very real problem within the industry.
Watch out for our final part of this series soon!