A ‘games industry insider with years of experience in a variety of studios’ has written an opinion piece for The Guardian arguing that a lack of diversity in games – a homogenisation, especially within AAA sphere, towards similar thematic trends – is potentially forcing creative developers out of the industry.
“If your dream job is to work on a game such as Halo, there are multiple studios that have touched that franchise, and many more working on similar sci-fi shooters. You can build your career on blasting aliens … But if your dream is to start out making alien virtual pet games, or dense narrative adventures, or detective dramas, you’ve got considerably fewer options.
Even if you’re a fantastic developer, you’re going to struggle to plan out your career, find mentors or get to the point where you can release a title you’re proud of without people telling you its not a real game. You may find a company that makes apps for children or Facebook games, or a tiny independent studio, but you’re probably not going to get the same kind of kudos as someone who worked on a huge AAA tentpole. Then, perhaps the bubble bursts and the tiny independent studio goes under … you hear about an industry veteran who is making an alien virtual pet game for the PlayStation 6 and apply for the job – but then they won’t hire you because you don’t have enough AAA experience and they can’t take on “juniors”.
Players, too, who might not enjoy the same gameplay experiences -for example, the abundance of open – world games at the moment – could easily be put off by the same gameplay mechanics in different guises being repeated simply because it sells.
“Narrative games, multidirectional platformers, strategy sims and “casual” puzzle apps aren’t weird outliers, they’re all the bits of games that have been jettisoned in the race toward the perfect shoot-’em-up mono-experience; they’re every idea a dev has had that was considered too much extra effort to fit into a sprawling AAA epic, or was “too girly” to appeal to the target audience; they’re what happens when people want to focus on mechanics that do something other than kill, race or score.”
It’s an article well worth reading, and although there’s no need to agree with everything the author says it is a sharp reflection on much of the current state of the industry.
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