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Where Have All The Game Gods Gone? 106

Posted by Zonk
from the fortress-of-solitude dept.
GameDailyBiz's media coverage article examines the absence of newly-minted 'game gods' from modern design. The article stems from PC Gamer's look back on the occasion of their 150th issue. One of the covers they show off is one proclaiming 'the game gods', well-known designers such as Will Wright or John Carmack. Modern game design, often with large teams, would seem to preclude elevating many new designers to such lofty heights. From the article: "Aside from a smattering of recognizable names like Naughty Dog's Jason Rubin and David Jaffe of God of War, renowned developers don't spring to mind like they once did. Even worse, Media Coverage would have trouble recognizing these two 'game celebs' if they showed up wearing matching shirts that said 'I'm with Jason Rubin' and 'I'm with David Jaffe'."
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Where Have All The Game Gods Gone?

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Monday June 12, 2006 @11:29AM (#15517573) Journal
    First off, I'd like to say that I think the managing of games has come a long way from the beginning. In the beginning, it seemed like you needed one key inventor/genius player on a team to make a great game. It had to be someone's child. That's what would make great games. Nowadays, people know how to manage a team and have more experience. I think that this would lead the way to great games being made without the need of one star player. A solid team with mediocre people can make a great game.

    Try this out, search the web for "creator of doom" and then search for "creator of world of warcraft" or "creator of oblivion." And I think you'll find that one person (John Carmack) is attributed with Doom while the topic isn't even addressed when talking about WoW or Oblivion.

    I would also say that we, as consumers, are guilty of buying the same old crap over and over (Madden Football, anyone?). The producers know we'll do this and they cater to our needs with mediocre games. I would wager that today's games are a immensely more complex than games of yore, thus making it nearly impossible for a game to be entirely concieved in one person's head.

    There are so many things working against a solo developer to get a game going. Aside from developing licenses for platforms skyrocketing, there are things like console wars that only compound the different platforms they made need to support it for. I know you probably know of a thousand good indie games for the computer, but any for a console? As far as computer games go, the customer base is often very demanding (we're nerds, what would you expect) and I think companies rely on people with specialized skills to put a product out at every step of the way. Is this bad? Not necessarily, there are still good games being produced--just not in the same fashion as before.

    Along with the above contributing factors, great game developers today might not seem so great because innovation of years past is much more nostalgic to us. That's right, the same reason that we know Van Gogh & Picasso but can't name one contemporary artist says a lot about how nostalgia rules the art world. I look back on Kubrick's movies and say, "Christ, where have all the good directors gone?" when in reality I'll probably be worshipping Darren Aronofsky after he's dead just as much as Kubrick. Note, that was an example of my opinion--please do not hijack this thread with speculations of who's the better director. Unfortunately, the media won't cover someone until they're dead (Stanislaw Lem, anyone?) or at least that's how the American media seems to work.

    Wait until these men age & die (or leave the business) then nostalgia kicks in and they are remembered as a "Game God."
    • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday June 12, 2006 @11:44AM (#15517677) Homepage Journal
      In the beginning, it seemed like you needed one key inventor/genius player on a team to make a great game. It had to be someone's child. That's what would make great games. Nowadays, people know how to manage a team and have more experience. I think that this would lead the way to great games being made without the need of one star player. A solid team with mediocre people can make a great game.
      That's a major result of the rising complexity of the technology. Back in the 1980s, one geek could stay up all night and crank out an Atari 2600 game in raw machine code. Later, David Crane and a few others could produce the 1980s "Ghostbusters" PC game, with still more people to port his game design to the other PCs and consoles. Nowadays in the world of commercial game design, even getting a concept off the drawing board and into production requires legions of artists, programmers, musicians, sound designers, directors, producers, voice actors, motion actors, and additional people whose job it is to help all these people communicate with each other. If you asked Carmack or anyone else to go home with a gameplay concept, and come back in a week with a fully-coded XBox game, you'd receive a blank stare in return.

      These days we do have a few major players like Hideo Kojima or Shigeru Miyamoto, but they are no longer able to be the jack-of-all-trades their predecessors were. They are like film producers or directors, with the talent to see a creative vision through and help an entire team realize it.
      • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Monday June 12, 2006 @12:14PM (#15517885) Homepage
        "If you asked Carmack or anyone else to go home with a gameplay concept, and come back in a week with a fully-coded XBox game, you'd receive a blank stare in return."

        Not necessarily. A good programmer who had the proper tools to develop on that platform could easily produce such a game, but what you received next week would have more in common with the simpler games of the 80s and 90s than with the overproduced "A-list" titles that line the shelves today.

        There is nothing about modern platforms which actually require "legions of artists, programmers, musicians, sound designers, directors, producers, voice actors, motion actors, and craft services". It's just expected that the games will be that complex.

        You could package up something like Nethack or M.U.L.E. for the 360 and it would play just fine, but don't expect EA to publish it for you.

        • There is nothing about modern platforms which actually require "legions of artists, programmers, musicians, sound designers, directors, producers, voice actors, motion actors, and craft services".

          Back when the entire screen was 280x192 (Apple ][) with only six colors to use, even a non-artist could actually create usable game graphics simply by trial and error. You could literally add and remove pixels until it looks about right, because most things are about 10 pixels high. In the age of 32-bpp 1024x768

          • You're talking about what people expect. I'm talking about what a game requires. Those aren't always the same thing.
            • I am talking about what a game requires. User expectations are very much a part of game requirements!

              Sure, a text adventure game implemented on an XBox still won't require an artist or a musician, just as it did not in 1985. However, a 2-D shooter game in 1985 might not have required a real artist or a real musician, because a reasonably knowledgeable amateur can fake it and hide under the poor capabilities of the machines at the time. A 10x10 black and white icon depicting a soldier can easily be drawn b

              • And yet one of the first things most people do when they play a new game is turn the video options way down and shut off the music. That says something about what really is required.

                What matters is gameplay. Remember that this started with the argument that it was no longer possible to code an entire game in a week. I'm saying that it is and that the game could be playable anmd fun, not that it would be a best-seller.

                • And yet one of the first things most people do when they play a new game is turn the video options way down and shut off the music. That says something about what really is required.

                  I'm not even a gamer and I know this is complete bullshit.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          You could package up something like Nethack or M.U.L.E. for the 360 and it would play just fine, but don't expect EA to publish it for you.

            I know what you mean, but man, that's one bad example. Have you SEEN the devteam credits for nethack? That's fifteen years worth of work. (And it shows.)
        • Not necessarily. A good programmer who had the proper tools to develop on that platform could easily produce such a game, but what you received next week would have more in common with the simpler games of the 80s and 90s than with the overproduced "A-list" titles that line the shelves today.

          I wouldn't call some of the more recent "A-list" games "overproduced". Some were great games because of the high production values, including time spent on developing a good story, development of graphics that help s

          • "The Fallout games"

            Surely you meant to say "Both Fallout games". Otherwise someone might think that there had been a third game made with that name, which of course there wasn't.

            • Surely you meant to say "Both Fallout games". Otherwise someone might think that there had been a third game made with that name, which of course there wasn't.

              lol. That's what I meant of course. I've managed to suppress my painful memories. :)
      • "That's a major result of the rising complexity of the technology. Back in the 1980s, one geek could stay up all night and crank out an Atari 2600 game in raw machine code."

        Actually, we used assembly language. If you think that current game systems are technically more complex than the 2600 or that a decent 2600 game could be programmed in one night, you obviously never tried it.

        I know this will sound like your grandfather's story about walking to school in the snow but the 2600 had no interrupts, no BIOS o
        • Thanks! It's always a pleasure to be corrected by someone who knows what they're talking about.
          • and what have you done with the real Slashdotter's who don't admit a mistake even under pain of death. Sometimes, I don't either. Thanks.
        • But I think the point was that one person could produce a game in a reasonable length of time back then. While today's system's are easier to code for (judging by your anecdote about the Atari and my own experience with modern systems), it wasn't necessary to be a jack of all trades like a person would have to be to produce a competetive game today. It's easier to make a game do what it needs to now, but you have to make it do a lot more, and produce a lot more content on top of that.
    • Time Honor's World of Warcraft Creator - Rob Pardo


      But also, Both of the games (WoW and Oblivion) are sequels to popular chains.

      The Single "God" will get new games off the ground but wouldn't they be less effective for
      sequels?

      The other thing is, entry. The older games had what tools to use? How much did they have to
      develope themselves. But now tools are becoming more standardized with companies making game engines and not games.


    • Try searching "Creator of Vanguard" ... you will find Brad McQuaid in the top 5.

      Brad has the Vision(TM)(C).

      Should hit stores end of this year. Brad originally was a designer for 989 studios (original Everquest) and is now rolling his own MMO. While you are right about Oblivion and Warcraft I think Vanguard is a good example of a "game god" leading the way.
    • First off, I'd like to say that I think the managing of games has come a long way from the beginning. In the beginning, it seemed like you needed one key inventor/genius player on a team to make a great game. It had to be someone's child. That's what would make great games. Nowadays, people know how to manage a team and have more experience. I think that this would lead the way to great games being made without the need of one star player. A solid team with mediocre people can make a great game.

      Our game sci
    • First off, I'd like to say that I think the managing of games has come a long way from the beginning. In the beginning, it seemed like you needed one key inventor/genius player on a team to make a great game. It had to be someone's child.

      In fact, I think this is one of the reasons so many sucky games are made these days. Being someone's child can be a great advantage to a game in development -- it is a lot easier for a novel gameplay vision to be held by one person alone than by a team of co-designers.

      Exam
    • Ok, to reply to your idea that one key mind is no longer necessary. Consider the film industry which has been going strong for over 50 years: Lucas, Spielburg, Scott, Hughes, Hitchcock.

      I think I could have just said Hitchcock and that would be enough, but you see where I am going. In software development, there are a very small number of people that are masters of their art. In fact, in any area of human accomplishment, this is true. My area is martial arts, and history has shown the same pattern.

      I

  • So long as Will Wright is around, who needs other Game Gods?
  • We still have them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iced_773 (857608)

    What about Sid Meier?
    • by Surt (22457)
      RTFS. Not even RTFA. Just the summary. ;-)

      It's about the lack of new 'game gods' being created by new titles. Sid Meier is well established. Since ... 15+ years ago.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization_(compute r_game) [wikipedia.org]

      • I'm not sure if they're only looking at single persons or can stretch to groups of people. Obviously, it's not as easy to become a "game god" today by yourself when you have beasts with millions of dollars to spend, and much of that on marketing. It was different in the eighties as the game industry didn't look nearly the same as now.

        But as I posted above, there are still (new) games coming out that conquer markets; it's just that there are more than one guy behind it, in case they're only counting such cas
    • What about Sid Meier?

      As the TFA points out, the names that have dominated for the last ten years haven't changed; it's speculating on why no-one else has recently joined the pantheon.

      • ANYONE can make a game for the PC. Just look at the Barnett College guys and their Indy fan-game [barnettcollege.com].

        And here we find a forgotten element in game developers: DEMO VERSIONS. You can always download demo versions for PC games. But demo versions for console games can't be downloaded - you'd have to purchase a game magazine which includes whole CD or DVD with the demo of *ONE* videogame.

        No demo versions, no public to impress. No public, no purchases. No purchases, no money.
        That, and the fact that most (if not all)
    • You obviously didn't play the recent remake of Pirates! Sid Meier screwed up huge on that one. I used to love Sid Meier as a child, but he really turned out a hunk of crap on this one.
      • What about Tim Schafer? Gabe Newell? Peter Molineaux? They belong up there with Will Wright for sure. The Game Gods haven't abandoned us, we have a lack of new ones due to the difficulty creating new profitable game companies (thank you EA), but they are still around if people were to take the time to look.
  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday June 12, 2006 @11:42AM (#15517667)
    When all the biggest selling games tend to be licences and/or sports games developed with the intention of making a quick buck rather than being memorable, of course you're not going to remember the people behind it. It's another parallel to hollywood. You may be able to remember who directed Saving private ryan but can you name the director of American Pie 2 without using IMDB? We remember names when a person has specifically crafted a good game and it bears his trademarks. We don't remember mass produced stuff that could've been made by any number of software houses around the globe
  • EA? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by madnuke (948229)
    Electronic Arts seems to own them now, about 70 % of my games have their logo on which is the scary thing. They bought Maxis, asimulated Westwood Studies which made the best title of the 20th century, Command and Conquer.
    • Yeah, just saw a preview trailer (long) from EA for E3, which had Sims 2: Pets clips, and the Command and Conquer title looked nice. But Spore rules over all!
    • Electronic Arts seems to own them now, about 70 % of my games have their logo on which is the scary thing. They bought Maxis, asimulated Westwood Studies which made the best title of the 20th century, Command and Conquer.

      Thus speaks a man who clearly has never played Total Annihilation anywhere near enough :)

      Oh & before you come back with "But C&C was the original" Two Words "Dune 2"

  • Easy Answer: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by th1ckasabr1ck (752151) on Monday June 12, 2006 @11:46AM (#15517686)
    Back when John Carmack and Will Wright gained fame, a single programmer/designer/whatever could almost singlehandedly be responsible for a game, or at least a huge part of it. Nowadays like 1,000 people work on every game.

    Also they were around at an oppertune time when there were HUGE steps being make (Carmack made DEATHMATCH, took mods to the mainstream, put graphics in games that were cool/fast enough to make my mom say "wow" - so many things we take for granted).

    • Re:Easy Answer: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cliffski (65094)
      "Nowadays like 1,000 people work on every game."

      Bullshit.
      The last 2 games I bought were 'Masters Of Defence' and 'Lux', both done by teams of under 6 people. They both have low system reqs, can be bought online, and are great fun. They both start in less time than battlefield 2 takes to show its first splash screen.

      There ar loads of high quality games being done by lone develoeprs or small teams. Ive been doing it myself since 1998
      (http://www.positech.co.uk)
      The 'hype' only occurs for the 100+ team games, be
    • 1000 is a bit steep according to this report http://www.dti.gov.uk/files/file10663.pdf [dti.gov.uk] average team size is around 20 people.
    • Back when John Carmack and Will Wright gained fame, a single programmer/designer/whatever could almost singlehandedly be responsible for a game, or at least a huge part of it.

      Not sure about Will Wright and Sim City, but there were quite a few guys working on Wolf3D and Commander Keen.

      Tom Hall, Adrian Carmack, John Carmack, John Romero for Keen
  • Where Have All The Game Gods Gone?

    Well, I'm right here. Have you seen me play frozen bubble lately? My friends call me a "God!"
  • CliffyB (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scrabbleguy (980944) on Monday June 12, 2006 @11:48AM (#15517705) Homepage
    Gears of War creator CliffyB seems to be making a name for himself. Other than that the field seems pretty dry.

    Most franchises these days are associated with the developing company. The Price of Persia: Sands of Time trilogy, Jak and Daxter, and even Grand Theft Auto -- everyone knows the companies behind the games but people don't really know the individuals. In the end it's probably a better way for the company to operate.
    • Re:CliffyB (Score:2, Informative)

      by scaryjohn (120394)

      If your CliffyB is Cliff Bleszinski, he was one of the three primary designers of Unreal back in 1997, and the driving force behind its sequels.

      I don't know if that means he's not a new Game God, or whether it means it takes ten years for them to percolate to that status.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Monday June 12, 2006 @11:57AM (#15517776)
    we associate games with publishing houses, which is just as the pubs intended. That way, when the guy who writes Madden for a living gets uppity and wants a piece of the billions being made off his hard work, he gets replaced. Hell, before too long expect to see most of EA's line up being coded in Malaysian sweatshops (Indian sweatshops cost too much).
    • That way, when the guy who writes Madden for a living gets uppity and wants a piece of the billions being made off his hard work, he gets replaced

      Because... his paychecks have been bouncing, all this time? I have family in this line of work. They get things like juicy raises when business is good, live comfortably, and are sought after because they can not only work hard, but because they're local talent. You simply can't replace the more creative, make-it-really-shine people with a crew halfway across t
  • The defintion of a 'god' has changed somewhat. With an army of programmers/designers behind games now, it would be more like the creative director than the programmer, assuming they were able to generate a lot of interesting and unique game ideas.

    I still think that at any time, however, a genius individual can produce a tetris-like game (i.e. Tetris), and completely either create a new genre, and/or dismantle or change the direction of the gaming world. With so many games on the market, it
  • Real Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scolby (838499) on Monday June 12, 2006 @11:59AM (#15517789) Journal
    They either drowned in a sea of sequels that didn't quite live up to the original (Carmack) or choked on their own hype (Molyneux).
  • lack of credit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Monday June 12, 2006 @12:00PM (#15517798) Homepage Journal
    Most established game houses don't give credit to the people who really do the design and the work. Instead, credit goes to the owners, and this helps to make it harder for the really creative people to break away and do their own thing. As one of the more glaring examples, you might note that it's not called 'Soren Johnson's Civilization IV'.

    And he gets more credit than most of the people I'm thinking of.
  • Game-god athiesm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday June 12, 2006 @12:03PM (#15517808) Homepage
    The problem with game gods? Well, one "game god" at least... they can get to have too much of an ego. Consider Chris Sawyer, of Roller Coaster Tycoon fame. (And just consider Roller Coaster Tycoon and its expansion packs and such, since I haven't spent $$$ to buy RCT2 or anything :P).

    So someone developed some cheats and patches and "trainers" and the like for RCT. Several people, actually, a variety of things you could do... But Chris Sawyer didn't like people cheating, apparently (never mind that this is a single-player game of a fairly open-ended nature)... so what does he do? There was some code, either in the original game or an expansion pack, that would sit and watch for some obvious signs of cheating (I think the main one was that if you had researched ALL the rides and stalls and such in the game). If it caught you cheating, the game would crash. Intentionally. And not just that! The game would create a secret little data file so that it would crash again, next time you started, whether or not you were trying to cheat this time around. Eventually some people provided a patch, but with the next expansion pack and such things were changed so you would need a DIFFERENT patch, and this time it would check if there, like, weren't enough trees (did you clear the land so you could have your own little sandbox world? HORRORS! You're not allowed to do that!)

    Roller Coaster Tycoon was great. Transport Tycoon was a gem as well. But I don't like getting bossed around by the God of my Game. If these multi-programmer teams can realize things like this better, and let people cheat at their single-player games (at least) if they want to cheat, please, why stop them? (Heck, you can cheat until the cows come home in a game like Morrowind/Oblivion or Half-Life (2 or otherwise) by using the console, and the Sims 2 takes codes as well...)

    • I didn't realize that Chris Sawyer was a real person. I always assumed that the term 'Chris Sawyer' referred to some development house, in the way that 'Jethro Tull' usually refers to the 70's prog rock band, not the 17th century English botanist. Hats off to Chris Sawyer for his megalomaniacal ambitions. I will occasionaly play Transport Tycoon to this day.
      • I played transport tycoon a ton, but I wish the economic model had been more cyclical. I generally spent the last part of the game spending my profits trying to build railroads that would purposely run into my rivals trucks in a vain attempt to dive them the rest of the way out of business.
    • Can we have something else apart from your word on this? :(
      • Go to alt.games.rctycoon on Google Groups or something, and search for old messages about crashes and anti-trainer patches trainers and such. Messages like this one [google.com] (which actually is about an unrelated problem but it's about the first thing that I could dig up on the topic and it does mention the existance of this anti-single-player-cheat setting). It was all fairly well-documented back in the day when RCT was still big; things seem to have fallen apart a little since then, though.
    • If you still have the art files for Transport Tycoon, check out openttd.org. Very fun, with rules expansions, patches, bugfixes, and (yes) cheats.

      Many people think it's more fun than Sawyer's own followup Locomotion [1up.com]. And you can't beat the price or the platform availability (Win32, Linux, OS X, MorphOS)..

      (just wish there were a Symbian or Palm version ;)
  • by Medgur (172679) on Monday June 12, 2006 @12:11PM (#15517865) Homepage
    Keita Takahashi - Katamari Damacy
    Tetsuya Mizuguchi - Rez, Lumines
    Shigeru Miyamoto - Donkey Kong, Mario, Legend of Zelda, Nintendogs...
    Masahiro Sakurai - Super Smash Bros, Kirby, Meteos (Produced by Tetsuya Mizuguchi)

    Or, rather, anyone in the Sonic Team or Nintendo's HAL, EAD, and Intelligent Systems...
    • And not all Japanase

      Frederick Raynal - Alone in the Dark, Little Big Adventure\Relentless, Time Commando, LBA2\Twinsen's Oydssey
      Michel Ancel - Rayman, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Beyond Good & Evil

      Other game designers I think are worth mentioning:

      Tom Hall - Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Rise of the Triad, Anachronox
      American McGee - American McGee's Alice (well, he's relatively new as game designer)

      The real problem is that these days people dont' really focus on who created the games. Well, ex
    • Fumito Ueda - Ico, Shadow of the Colossus

      Tim Schafer - Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, Psychonauts
      Yu Suzuki - Virtua Fighters 1, 2, 4, and the upcoming 5; Shenmue I & II
      CliffyB - Unreal, ummm... Jazz Jackrabbit? The upcoming Gears of War

      And they don't mention that we now know 'more' designers than we did previously. The spotlight shined on the 'Gods' has been diluted a bit by the shoving of more people into the spotlight, without said light growing relatively. At least it seems that way.
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Monday June 12, 2006 @12:11PM (#15517872)
    Hey, don't forget George Broussard, producer of Duke Nukem Forever. Now there's a way to make a name for yourself.

    Remember, Gods don't have to become Gods by doing happy, fluffy things for the good of humanity. Hades and Aries come to mind along with just about every other act carried out by Hera.

    In thousands of years, mythology will cause Broussard to be remembered as the son of and (Chaos and Chronos), combining the powers of eternal time and the nothingness from which all else could have sprung but ultimately was delayed.
  • Honestly, I think the 80s platforms (C64, Nintendo, et all) had the highest ratio of original addictive games to crap. Nowadays I go through the game store and its almost all crap.
    • It was the same in the eighties. You just tend to forget the crap. If I remember my C64 days correctly, people had collections with literally thousands of games - and would play 20 or 30.

      So yes, the crap was there. It's just nowadays we get sequels of crap ;)
      • Indeed. We just remember the good games and forget the bad. People like to complain often that games just aren't fun anymore. It's true that most games aren't fun, but most of the games have NEVER been fun. You have to look around and find the handful that are actually worthy of playing. With that in mind, I certainly find the top tier games from today more fun than the old games. I'd certainly rather play Jade Empire than any of the SNES RPG's.
    • The ROM pit (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Download a "1000 NES ROMS" pack (e.g. from a torrent site). Play some of the games. There are a few gems like SMB 3, but any NES collection with any aspiration to completism has tons of completely shit games.

      See also somethingawful's ROM pit, dedicated to remembering the crap of yesteryear:
      http://www.somethingawful.com/rompit/ [somethingawful.com]

      Now I've broken your rose tinted spectacles you'll be able to see the sneaky pink elephants better.
  • by 9mm Censor (705379) * on Monday June 12, 2006 @12:32PM (#15518001) Homepage
    Carmack is far more famous for his code (game engines) than his design work. Infact he is probably the only Engine Codin' (TM) Game God. Romero was the Design Game God at ID.

    The lack of Game Gods has nothing to do with a lack of talent. Its an attitude. The difference between a great rock musician and a Rock Star, is attitude.

    John Romero had great design talent, but it was his style and attitude that elevated him to a Game God status.
  • The answer is quite simple.

    Everybody forgot the iddqd code.
  • There was a time where companies namely EA tried to establish a stardom over the game designers, this period went from 1982-around 1993 or so, since then no new designer names have been pushed although lots of talented designers still live there. But game creation is a team effort, so is game design. The list of game designers still comes from the game design stardom era, although excellent new designers and their teams have pushed excellent new games, they simply have not been brought to fame anymore. (que
  • Well I can name two (Score:3, Interesting)

    by masklinn (823351) <slashdot.org @ m a s k l i nn.net> on Monday June 12, 2006 @12:44PM (#15518068)
    Chris Taylor of Total Annihilation fame (1998) soon coming back with Supreme Commander, and Will Wright (SimCity, The Sims) with Spore
  • It takes time. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by supabeast! (84658) on Monday June 12, 2006 @12:45PM (#15518077)
    The reason we don't have new superstars is that there just hasn't been time for them to become known. Wright, Carmack, Miyamoto, etc. did not become minor celebrities after releasing their first games, or even after releasing their first hit games. Given time and more titles, the new guys will get just as much attention as the old ones. A great example of this is Hideo Kojima, designer of the Metal Gear solid games. By the time MGS3 had come out (eight years ago), everyone who followed console gaming knew his name. If some of the other hot new devs out there stick with managing hot games, they'll make names for themselves, but it takes more than one or two hits for it to happen.
  • by kmahan (80459) on Monday June 12, 2006 @12:55PM (#15518146)
    It used to be that to have a successful game you had to focus on gameplay -- not just pretty graphics and sound. There are some games these days that have good gameplay but years ago when the hardware could only pump out low-res bitmaps and every cycle mattered you truly had to think about how to make the game fun. And in the arcade business you had to make it fun on the first quarter otherwise no more got pumped in.

    Eugene Jarvis, Larry DeMar, Ed Logg, Bob Flanagan, Owen Rubin just to name a few.
  • while i agree with the other people opinion that this lack of gods is mainly due to better team-managment and the fact that no single person plays that big a part in the development of a game as before, i am kind of surprised that the team-leaders responsible for the overall project don't get more credit - for movies, everybody markets the director or the producer of the movie, because that info gives you a rough idea what style or quality that movie will have - but i have rarely seen this in games (Sid Mei
    • Grim Fandango was a Tim Schafer game. He was part of the group responsible for MI:1, MI:2, and co-designed DOTT. He was the lead designer for Full Throttle, and for Grim Fandango. His latest work is Psychonauts, which I have yet to play, but have heard good things about. If you really want to know what Ron Gilbert is up to, why not check out his web page http://grumpygamer.com/ [grumpygamer.com]
  • One Name (Score:2, Funny)

    by Colourspace (563895)
    Matthew Smith
  • Where Have All The Game Gods Gone?

    LOL

    Seriously. Look at the by far most dominating MMORPG and who's behind it. Then see how the same devs made the most successful PC RTS series in gaming history. Not to count reinventing the Action RPG genre previously mostly just found in Roguelikes.

    How can the article miss this? If there was some "game gods" of today, why shouldn't it be a group of designers that have conquered a major part of the PC game industry today? Other "game gods" can be found in Maxis who made th

  • sequels (Score:5, Insightful)

    by glsunder (241984) on Monday June 12, 2006 @01:34PM (#15518459)
    Let's see:
    Lately, I've been playing: Civ4, Homm5, quake3 (yeah, I still do), and Elder scrolls IV. My wife plays sims 2 and is looking forward to Caesar 4.

    How about "Where have all the New Games gone?"
  • They're all playing poker now.
  • There are still game gods (or Great Implementors, as us oldies like to call them). The problem is, you kids expect a creative new smash hit every week, and it takes years+ to come up with a true stroke of genius. If you look at the cadence of gamers from Crowther and Woods, to Blanc and Lebling, to Roberta Woods and Richard Garriot, Rand Miller, Romero and Carmack, ... you see that the cadence for a new game god is one every 3-6 years. We just had Katamari, so I guess we're still in the ebb of the ebb
  • Size & Effort... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OneFix at Work (684397) on Monday June 12, 2006 @04:07PM (#15519657)
    It's really because of size and effort involved in doing a "good" game now...look at the origonal games by these developers...

    John Carmack - Wolf3D
    Will Wright - Sim City

    Both "ground breaking" *IDEAS* in their time, and both have what would be considered lack-luster graphics now. The sad fact is that if Sim City or Wolf 3D were released today, they wouldn't be given the time of day. The big companies (Sony, EA, Atari, etc) have pushed us to the point that no one great person could come up with a new breakthough game...

    Todays blockbuster games are developed by large teams of programmers, designers, sound artists, voice actors, 3D modelers, etc...

    Of course, 2D graphics were much easier to hack together than 3D graphics...2-bit sound was easier to hack together than 16-bit CD quality surround sound...this is just the evolution of the gaming industry. Want to see where it's headed, look at film...we are about where film was back in the 60's...audiences are starting to demand more...story and gameplay have taken a back seat to better graphics and commercial crossovers (RIAA musicians, MPAA voice actors, etc)...

    There will occasionaly be a few independent breakthroughs...but in general, these will be a thing of the past.

    Where is video gaming's Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino? Open source is a good bet, but everyone knows open source are rarely the result of a single person's effort...Flash games show some promise...but just like independent film, fans are going to seek out these developers until they become a commercial success...
  • Can a discussion of game gods really be complete without Bill Budge [wikipedia.org]? Old testament!!
  • He has been killed by his studio.

    We're lacking really "memorable" games. Everyone knows Civilisation. Everyone knows its creator. Everyone knows Leisure Suit Larry. Everyone knows its creator (provided he's old enough). Or think about Populous (ok, if you are close to becoming a fossil).

    Who knows the creative head of any EA Sports game? Or the "Lord of the Rings" RTS game?

    They're not memorable anymore they're a "line" of games, cookie-cutter style. We arrived at the fast food equivalent of games. Haute cuis
  • I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Kenta Cho yet. This guy has singlehandedly produced some of the purest, fastest, hardest shooters ever. Sure, they're simple, and don't have much in the way of game art. But the games themselves are fantastic.
  • I think it's the absence of innovation that's squelched the role of the game god in modern gaming. Look at the guys on the list- they were outstanding because they created their own game genres and made something spectacularly stand out from the competition and in the minds of gamers everywhere. Until a game developer manages to repeat that feat, no new gaming gods will be born. After all, every review of WoW say's its refining the formula rather than trying something new, hence, no gaming gods. Add that t
  • There are many reasons why you don't see "game gods" being loudly proclaimed anymore. The article does hit some of them, but they seem to have forgotten a few:

    1. Burnout ruins many careers.

    Will Wright wasn't always a high-flying game designer selling millions. He worked on a shooter-type game [mobygames.com] back in the day, and the development of that lead him to explore some concepts which lead to the development of the classic SimCity.

    Now consider what would happen if Will were a programmer in today's environment. Wh

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