Over the last few days, I've been thinking about something: How many people can name the key people of developers like Treyarch, People Can Fly, 343 Industries or Arkane Studios, without looking them up on Wikipedia
These developers weren't picked completely at random, All of them "inherited" big franchises from their original developer. Treyarch has Black Ops, People Can Fly are in charge of the new Gears of War game, 383 have Halo 4 and Arkane did Bioshock 2.
All of these games are sequels to titles that really set the standard of how our new AAA environment looks like today. Games that did something you hadn't seen before, or perfected a formula that had tried and failed before.
I think we can all agree that the original Bioshock is an amazingly crafted gaming experience, That Gears of War is one of the best exclusives that the Xbox 360 have had over the years, that the Halo series brought split-screen multiplayer back from the dead, and that Call Of Duty series, love it or hate it, is one of the best online multiplayer experiences of this generation, and one of the biggest software successes ever.
The one thing all of these games have in common (except being shooters) is that they were made by people we all should know the name of.
Ken Levine (Bioshock)
Cliff Blezinski and Rod Fergusson (Gears of War franchise)
Jason Jones and the BUNGiE team (Halo series)
Vince Zampella and Jason West (Call of Duty series)
Now I'm not saying in any way that these people alone deserve praise for the finished project, big games like that are always a team effort, But I believe that it was the vision that these guys had that fueled their respective teams to create the great games that they have made over the years.
And we need those guys, Guys like Tim Schaefer, Ron Gilbert, Warren Spector, Peter Molyneux, and Gabe Newell, to push our medium to new heights. Because the absolute worst thing that could happen to this industry, is that we don't find new ways to reinvent ourselves. Peter Molyneux: One of the greatest minds of our time
If we as gamers continue to buy into the games that serve up the same old S#!¤%, while ignoring the people who actually make breakthroughs with their products, not spending money on their ideas, Industry giants like EA and Activision are more inclined to fund the games that makes that can guarantee them the most money. and in the current market, that's the military shooter brand, And I for one, have had enough of those to last a lifetime
While it's great to look back to those guys I mentioned before and their hallmarks, It's also important not to let them outshine their counterparts of tomorrow. Markus Persson made a little game called Minecraft, and the first time I saw that game, it BLEW my mind. The game really pushed the boundaries of what we had seen before and in it's wake, more and more titles have tried to push the envelope of what we expect from a game now adays. And there is some great stuff out there.
Telltale games made one of last years best games, winning several game of the year titles, with The Walking Dead, While the formula isn't new, Adventure games like it have been around for ages, Telltale managed to craft a truly heartfelt experience that left several players in tears by the end of it. Something that has been sorely missing in the industries until it came along
That Game Company have made several contributions to the "Games as art" discussion with titles like Flower and Journey.
I believe that, with our support, the lesser known developers of today can be the star developers of tomorrow. and going in to the next gen, we could all use some changes in the gaming landscape as it stands today