One Hit Wonder

February 01, 2009

I have been a "Producer" for 18 years. The title was invented at Electronic Arts to describe what they expected of their project managers. They expected a lot more than just to get the project out on time, so they patterned the job after the record industry.

When I was a C-64 programmer at Broderbund I wrote a lovely paragraph about how I wanted to help the other programmers complete their projects on time and with a higher quality, my boss said to me in response: "Why would we ever want someone to do this job?" I'll be the first to admit its a thankless job, but its still a required job.

But really, the Producer doesn't code or do art or the sound. He just does his best to push the quality of each part of the game, and get out of the way of those talented folks who actually make the game.

So then the question comes up, why aren't there many mega-developers? Those that produce hit after hit. I think we can say that Blizzard and Id might be the only two studios that have more than one hit. And I could argue that Id doesn't count because they specialize in the FPS area.

So why is that? Why can't a developer make two hits? (Remember, sequels don't count)


Melkoret said...

Probably because they are definitely more along the lines of Mega developers.

I think most developers are under bigger corporations now-adays such as Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Activision, EA, etc.

And making a "hit" isn't exactly easy. And I would assume the chances of a developer winning the 'amazing game success' lotto are not that high.

I think what their should be is a myspace for game developers... or something. There's just so much darn potential out there thats just effing wasted because of a lack of (mostly) any communication .

Just my admittedly uneducated two cents

Mac said...

I agree, there should be a MySpace for game developers. Making a hit game is like lightning in a bottle, but we need a place to show off great attempts... maybe the IGDA?

What do you think about that?