That, good man, was lovely.
Good luck Sean, and great final article.
And its true, people are dissapointed that they don't get a game they've been waiting 12 years for.
The developers are dissapointed that they have spend 12 years of their lives working on a project they invested their souls in.
The first thing I thought of when I saw the title was Charlton Heston yelling 'Gaming is people!'
But yeah, good article, I'll be missin ya.
The first thing I thought of when I saw the title was Charlton Heston yelling 'Gaming is people!'
But yeah, good article, I'll be missin ya.
Yeah, this. Seconded.
I am sad to see you go, and I wish you the best of luck on whatever you do after this.
A good article, I enjoyed it, and I think you make a good point.
Games don't make themselves, there are a lot of people who devote their lives to making a game, and I do feel sorry for them when their game falls to pieces when it is released.
I like your example of DNF, I have done my share of jokes about DNF, but at the end of the day, there was a group of hardworking people that tried to make the game a reality, but due to some poor management, the game never materialized.
So next time guys, when you put in a really terrible game, remember that yes, it is bad, but someone put a lot of effort and thought into it, and devoted a couple years of their life to it.
Most of the time.
Sometimes I think the developers were just lazy.
But it holds true most of the time.
Great article. I have been guilty of making fun of some developers, because they shoot out vaporware, or such. But I do it in good fun, i have a really tight net for game buying, as I am almost always can't-get-something-off-the-dollar-menu broke. So if your game makes it to my lap, you have made something worth-while. Many games that people don't like in the slightest I love. I love playing Spore, and others that have just slipped my mind. So I do it, but they should get that I do it out of good fun.
Nice article, it's true that bad games aren't just bad for the people who play them, but for the designers who spend so much of their time trying to make something decent.
Gaming is in a really tough spot, where it's compared with Hollywood but more in line with software development. A lot of films take less than a year to complete, and including pre and post production doesn't often take as long as two years. In games, if you take longer than two years consumers become restless. An entire team of talented people need to make sure their incredibly complex code works well, and let's face it, there isn't much software that pushes the boundaries of technology like gaming does. You need physics programmers, A.I. programmers, graphics programmers, interface designers, graphic artists of a huge variety, etc. Just look at the end credits of any game.
Meanwhile, let's look at software that doesn't even have half of the people working on it as games do. A lot of software costs $100 and up, and we bitch about games costing $60. Companies like Adobe sell software for a much higher price despite fewer people working 9-5 each day on the product.
It's a tough career, and sometimes, I do need that perspective to give developers some additional credit. It's easy to give developers a hard time for a crap game, but this is an industry that requires a huge number of talent at massive costs, and the payback is often pretty small.
Still, I do think a lot of studios need to manage their projects a bit better. Xbox Live Arcade, PSN and WiiWare allow developers a chance to make products that get noticed but also don't have to compete with the latest and greatest. I think more of the smaller studios need to focus there and try and capture what we loved about older games, but evolve them into modern technology. Shadow Complex was a fantastic mixture of old skool nostalgia and an evolution with the times, and from the sounds of it a small studio built it in less time than a full retail game. And yet the game has such polish and provided so much gameplay time for me that I enjoyed it more than most $60 retail games this year.
Sad to see you go, but an excellent send-off. I think sometimes people forget there are real people behind the reviewers as well.
All art, all work, put on public display, will have required effort, big or small, and commitment. Sometimes it's good to sit back and think of that effort, rather than the product.
That was an excellent piece of writing. Good show, sir.
Very good article.
Gave me something to think about, thats for sure
About the article, it's always enjoyable reading an entry w/ a lil' passion & soul. I found this book "Make Your Own Computer Games" back in 6th grade at the school library, & from that pt on I realized programming was my niche. Thru-out grade school my personal "Duke Nukem Forever" was an RPG created from scratch in QBASIC. Well over 2/3 complete, alas there are better things to learn other than wrapping ASM & dealing w/ only having access to the bottom 64Kb of RAM.
Good luck w/ your future, us game devs are a breed of our own.
Couple of screen shots from the DOS VGA days...
Thanks for the awesome article, Sean. The whole industry gets some bad rep, but the way you put it definitely brought out the human side, like you said.
SOILENT GAMING! IT'S MADE OF PEOPLE!
But seriously, that was an excellent article
Why is everyone leaving?
I'm sad now.
Anyway, more on topic, good luck to you in all future endevours.
I will miss your weekly articles, you're one of the reasons I started coming here in the first place. Thanks for the years of well-written and entertaining articles. You know, if you change your mind we'll still be here.
As one of those talented developers (of the indie kind, for now) I thank you for remembering that people make these games. The article was touching mentally rather then emotionally.
Kind of always read your articles but I never really comment on anything on this site. Enjoy your choice.
This reminds me of a thought I had after watching an indie movie (it may have been Primer). With smaller productions, the passion, hard work and dedication that went into producing the final product, which I enjoyed, is visible throughout. It made me think about other movies I've enjoyed, ones with vastly higher production costs and values, (for example, The Dark Knight) that I also enjoyed, but for those bigger productions I didn't pause to reflect (until later): this is a thing some people made, and it's good because of the passion and talent they put into it.
I'm sad to see you go, especially after an article this good.
So Sean, as a gamer who needs to just calm down and think on the human level - I salute you.
You know, if you change your mind we'll still be here.
-and yes! You can always come back! Maybe stop by sometime.
Duke catches flack on a completely different level. When Yahtzee likened the development of the game to howler monkeys banging on keyboards, it was only to abbreviate what the team might as well have been doing, not what they were actually doing. I hope people see that. It was the lead developer's fault that the game, and ultimately the company, failed. Scrapping everything and starting over only works for so long before the return on the investment is expected. Same goes for music, movies and television.
A lot of that mindset comes because the industry is largely faceless. Games wear their companies like a mask, and the few masterminds who make their faces and names known, are lightning rods for ridicule. They're either the soulless corporation guys, CEOs like Riccitiello and Kotick, or the masterminds who will go down with their games if they fail, like Will Wright, Peter Molyneux or Sid Meier. Men who stand on a pedestal and tell us how they've reinvented gaming, and when they fail, we burn them for it.
I do agree though, that we do need to remember the people that made our games, but again, the individuals wear the team as a mask. Bungie, Ubisoft, Lionhead, Valve... can we name 10 people out of the hundreds that made our games? I can't. So it's hard to see them as individuals pouring their souls into their work with one hand, and in the other, label them largely anonymous members of a team and judge them as a whole.
It's a sad state of affairs.
Gaming is Made of People
In Sean Sands final Press Released, he asks that you remember the people behind the videogames.
Read Full Article
People don't forget that gaming is made up of people.
People are assholes and don't care.
Now I say that blanket like because that is the only way I can. Because when you meet individuals they act quite a bit different (almost always). But people...
People are different.
There is something about when a person joins in with people that changes them. It isn't permanent and indeed they change back once they are a person again. But for that short dark time when they are people they do bad things.
I burned Will Wright personally for not acknowledging how short SPORE came up to what it was going to be. That was me being part of the people, once I went back to being a person I recalled the many different things I've tried to do that all fell short of my dreams and how much I tried to convince myself they hadn't.
But yeah...in short people are assholes.
Oh yeah...speaking of this topic.
The reason people bash games as if they aren't made by individual human beings is because of how games are made. Lemme find a quote from a game that was originally from a person to make the point clearly.
"Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility."
- Ambrose Bierce
People hide behind the shield of their company when they fail but will rise to the front when they succeed. This isn't always true but it left most consumers bitter and unwilling to accept failure.
Goddammit Sean. Not you too. I'm sure this was a decision well made, but I'm not less pissed of about it. I started reading these columns a long time ago with a 'let's see what this is all about'-attitude, but every time I now see one of your columns it makes me a little bit happier. Damn you.
So, could you tell us what you are going to do? Whether it's something in the game-industry or not, I'd be delighted to know.
Putting a face on a product is a very smart marketing message but putting 200 faces on it is probably less smart. A lot of companies seem to put some person who has very little to do with the craft of making the game as a figure head while the people doing the work live lives of quiet desperation, so to speak, or maybe not.
Is it wrong to be irreverent about games? Is the sense of entitlement of users ruining the games industry while the noble game makers desperately try to save it?
Firstly, games are very irreverent. They treat human lives as if they were worthless, apart from a handful of story characters. Companies insult the intelligence of their consumers. Religion, art, music, architecture, science, just about all aspects of human life are treated very irreverently by video games. What sort of hypocrisy is it that says that everything is fair game but games themselves should be handled with kid gloves so the people behind the scenes don't have their feelings hurt? Yeah, negativity is a downer and it is better to be enthusiastic but let's be a little realistic.
Entitlement is maybe too strong a term when all people have are expectations. Honestly, if game creators can't fulfil the expectations of their customers then they really need to take a look at what they are doing. That is their job if they are making commercial games. They could try to "manage expectations" if they like but other companies may just be sneaky and actually give the customers what they want behind their backs.
Good article. I think one thing that needs to be considered is that gaming journalists are the ones who should be giving us a look at what goes on behind the scenes, as well as who is sitting behind the keyboards. Whether we as gamers will care about the faces behind the scenes is largely irrelevant until someone with the access we don't have tries to bring them to us. I know that I, at least, love reading things about the developers themselves as well as columns like EGM's old Afterthoughts series.. but we just don't get that enough. I guess it's just sexier to churn out the 675492nd preview of Next Big Game X.
A fitting end, I for one shall miss you; cheers
Good article actually, personally I preferred the one before "who's got next" but this still was rather well done
May the force be with you.
It had to be said.
for paralells, let's look at avatar, how much better would it be if it wasn't so mass-centered?
and making a game that finally gets canceled or low sales/ratings also counts. it is shiftload of experience.
If I will ever get a team and make a game of bigger epicness othan GTA, I sure must put some game developer as one of main dudes, a guy that would explain trainload of stuff to the palyer.
when i saw the title i craved a can of soylent green ...mmmm
Quite a thought-provoking article, really good read. It even made me feel somewhat guilty for those few times where I've skipped the credits.
Anyhoo, I wish you all the best, Mr. Sands.
You'll definitely be missed, Mr. Sands. With any luck, though, you've given folks something to think about. Games aren't made by tossing some ideas and a disc into a machine and pressing a lever. Too many folks forget about the human side of the equation, or that careers can be made and lost on one success or failure. But no one likes to think about that because it doesn't affect them personally. Society as a whole seems to have gotten very self-centered, which is a very disheartening sign.
Thanks now and for years of feedback. I rarely respond in these thread -- I always figure I got to have my say and now you guys get yours -- but I wanted to say one last thanks.
I will still be reading The Escapist -- too many outstanding writers and creative types here to not -- and occasionally submitting for a feature here and there. I'm not retiring my column so I can move on to greener games-writing pastures. I am simply focused more on my "Real Life" career these days which is something entirely different and wholly outside the business of games.
A very public thanks go out to the people who run The Escapist, whom I consider my friends. From the absolute top on down, this is an establishment run by honorable, intelligent and deeply talented people.