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Deus Ex Creator On How a Video-Game Academy Could Fix the Industry 132

Nerval's Lobster writes "In the fall of 2014, 20 promising video game developers will begin a yearlong (and free) program at the University of Texas at Austin, where they will study under some of the gaming industry's most successful executives. 'The idea is to get the best of the best of the best, run them through a Navy Seals boot camp of sorts and not force them to worry about "how do I pay the rent and buy groceries,"' said program leader Warren Spector, who is responsible for creating well-known games such as Deus Ex. 'Fingers crossed, when we start delivering graduates who can contribute in major ways to the development of future games, that philanthropy will continue.' In a wide-ranging interview, Spector also talked about how his future students will be graduating into an industry in which 'every business model is broken, which is either terrifying or an opportunity depending on how you look at it.' Focus groups, analysis of historical trends, and aggregated game review scores may be comforting to number crunchers, but the majority of game projects still end up as commercial failures. Spector ultimately believes the people who actually make the games are going to make better decisions than the number crunchers. 'We've got to be looking forward and any time you start bringing data into it, you're not," Spector said. "I pitched a Lego construction game in 1989, and guess what: Minecraft is basically a Lego construction game. But at the time I was told "no, that won't work." I pitched a western game and the response was "westerns don't sell." And then Red Dead Redemption came out. Stuff doesn't sell until someone makes one that sells, and no amount of data can reveal what new thing is going to sell. The metrics and data guys, and the publishing guys will never come up with the next big thing.'""
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Deus Ex Creator On How a Video-Game Academy Could Fix the Industry

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  • Does it need fixing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @11:59AM (#44226395) Journal
    People say the game industry needs fixing, but there's tons of great games coming out from both the big boys and the indie scene. Sure, you can complain about Madden 20xx and "Gears of Halo Battlefield Combat" remakes, but then there are other choices you can make. You just need to realize that you're not the person those churned sequels are being made for.

    It seems to me that Spector could have fronted the money himself if he thought the ideas were so good. They probably would have been if he was working on them, DX was one of the all-time greats. Unless he had some sort of no-compete contract, he should have gone indie.
  • Re:New Grads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @12:04PM (#44226451) Homepage Journal

    Great, so they can be scooped up by EA and churn out shit like Madden 2013: You Bought it Again.

    -- Ethanol-fueled

    That's only half the problem.

    The problem of game designers learning from current executives is the other half. Honestly, if game companies are only churning out rehash after rehash and unwilling to take risks on new ideas (sounds a lot like Hollywood, doesn't it?) what could you learn, other than what creates failure?

    I spent the weekend analyzing Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, what made these films fresh and funny where so many with so much to offer (great art, great 3D, etc.) flop like the Lone Ranger - easy, look where Pierre Coffin was schooled - GOBELINS, l'école de l'image, spend some time looking through the galleries at student projects, there's a lot of fresh creativity on display there.

    What made a standard (from the 1980s) game format like Angry Birds succeed was in taking a risk, simple graphics and fun game play - a formula which works time and again, but it succeeded wildly where other game developers are focusing on cramming too much of everything into a game and leaving the fun to suffer.

    An academy with past designers, who were very successful in their day, before they burned out or were put on a treadmill at EA , would work well.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson