I was looking at my Civ4 Warlords box, and it got me thinking-
Where have all the great designers of yesteryear gone? Why haven’t we seen one single original IP by any of these guys in years?
Sid Meier hasn’t created an original IP in almost a decade. The last one he was even remotely involved in was Alpha Centauri. Now he just sits on his franchises and “consults”.
And all the other designers? Chris Roberts tried to make movies, then just disappeared. All the other Origin designers… what happened to them?
Even sadder are the great designers regulated to churn out shovelware shite year after year. The best example of this is Paul Rieche and his Toys for Bob team, who have had to do Disney licenses for the past 8 years. The only break they got was the “Tony Hawk Downhill Jam” project, which is derivative enough as is.
Richard Garriot is one of the only active designers of yore, working on his MMO project. Then there is Warren Spector, who faltered greatly by leaving his excellent franchise in the hands of an inexperienced design team. He apparently is working on a comeback project. Finally, we have Molyneux. Although he is currently active, I’m afraid he’s just lost his ability to make a fun game.
Then you have the industry “gurus”. People like Chris Crawford, who do nothing but complain about the current state of the industry now while doing absolutely nothing to contribute to it.
The only studio I can think of that contains some of the storied designers of yore that continues to push out amazing product is Irrational with their stock of Looking Glass designers. A further offspring of this is Doug Church, who is apparently head of “original IP” at the EALA studio. Given his sparse role on the last Tomb Raider game, who knows what may become of this new partnership.
The only designers who seem to have any initiative to create new product are, ironically, on the consoles. The Ico team, David Jaffe, Miyamoto, Sony’s first party developers, etc. They constantly churn out fantastic new franchises and design paradigms.
We need more designers like Will Wright. Always active, always designing, and always impressing us.
Anyone have any leads on where the greats have gone? Have any to add to the “where the heck are they now” list?