Zynga's Chief Designer Joins Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Board

Zynga's Chief Designer Joins Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Board

image

Brian Reynolds, the Chief Game Designer at Zynga, has been named to the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Board of Directors.

Brian Reynolds is best known these days as the vaguely-defined Chief Game Designer at casual gaming behemoth Zynga, which itself is best known for an unabashed copy/paste approach to game design. A couple of indie devs, NimbleBit and Buffalo Studios, have accused the company of straight-up ripping them off over the past week or so, and you may recall Zynga CEO Mark Pincus telling his employees in 2010 that he'd rather steal ideas and settle lawsuits than bother with innovation.

As the big dog of design, Reynolds would presumably have some hand in maintaining that less-than-admirable approach to making games, so it's a bit unexpected - surprising? bizarre? take your pick - that he was recently added to the Board of Directors of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. To be fair, Reynolds's list of credits is an impressive one: Despite the naming convention, he was the lead designer on the strategy classic Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and has design credits on Sid Meier's Colonization, Sid Meier's Civilization 2, Rise of Nations and several others. But his appointment to the AIAS board seems based primarily on his time at Zynga.

"Zynga has been leading the charge for delivering quality social gaming to an ever expanding demographic," said Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences President Martin Rae. "And they have been at the forefront of one of the major shifts in our industry. Brian's work at Zynga has helped redefine how people enjoy and interact with the medium of gaming, and we are proud to have his experience and deep insight on the Board as gaming further becomes a part of everyone's everyday life."

Reynolds himself described the appointment as "an important step in the continuing assimilation of social games into the broader game community."

I don't generally subscribe to the "Zynga is irredeemably evil" point of view and I certainly don't think that Brian Reynolds is a "copypasta" kind of guy. But given Zynga's reputation, which I think most people would agree is well-deserved, and what appears to be a growing lack of forbearance of its tactics, this is an interesting appointment, to say the least, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if not everyone in the industry is entirely happy about it.

Permalink

It's hard to get mad at the guy, his boss is the one telling him to rip off games left and right, and why rock the boat on a steady job. If his boss wants to ruin the company let him, when it all goes to crap he'll coast on out of there to a new job.

Though adding anyone from Zynga to any organization that's said to uphold the arts is a dubious decision in my book, and leaves me wondering who blew who to get that honor.

This guy is a formidable game designer, it's a shame he's making a bunch of stuff I'll never play. Congrats to him anyway!

Well, it's a sign that any credability this organization has is gone. They are obviously interested in turning it into an organization of rich game designers, as opposed to those who are actually best for the medium. Make enough money and your in, no matter how you did it.

That's what I think at any rate.

Therumancer:
Well, it's a sign that any credability this organization has is gone. They are obviously interested in turning it into an organization of rich game designers, as opposed to those who are actually best for the medium. Make enough money and your in, no matter how you did it.

That's what I think at any rate.

Gotta agree. The most any "designer" job at Zynga accounts for is probably playing the original game side-by-side to the Zynga ripoff, making sure that as much of the original game is copied and present in the Zynga version as possible.

Far from anything I would call special.

That's disheartening.

Finding out the guy responsible for some games you admire is shilling at a Xerox-and-add-a-few-pay-buttons company.

But all these big boards of famous people seem to take in waifs and strays who once did something good.

What did the AIAS board ever do for me as a gamer, apart from scream what they want in my name?

Zynga, art, and science in the same sentence?

lol

Andy Chalk:
Despite the naming convention, he was the lead designer on the strategy classic Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and has design credits on Sid Meier's Colonization, Sid Meier's Civilization 2, Rise of Nations and several others. But his appointment to the AIAS board seems based primarily on his time at Zynga.

Was the AIAS photocopier on the fritz and they needed another one? Because any organization that ignores that pedigree unless Zynga is bolted onto it immediately looks suspect in my mind.

So, what's the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences done that makes them worthy of such an august title?

Wait, quality and Zynga in the same sentence? I think somebody messed up the script there.

Does this mean the Board will start to endorse copyright infringement?

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here