So my wife finished reading the book “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer. Apparently it’s kind of like the new Harry Potter.
Anyway, I was interested in her background because she was formerly a stay at home mother of 3.
So her books have been on the top sellers lists for an amazingly long time. In fact her latest book “The Host” is the current #1 best seller found here http://www.nytimes.com/pages/books/bestseller/index.html as of today.
The key thing that go me is this. She never planned or had dreams of becoming a writer. She didn’t write the story to be sold or even to show it off to friends. She wrote it because she loved the process and loved seeing where the story would go. It reminded me of something an art teacher once mentioned. He said he paints for himself. He doesn’t paint to please other people. It also goes along with that Brad Bird of Pixar said in an interview here:
He makes movies for himself, to satisfy his own creative vision.
Here’s a video of a talk Stephenie gave at BYU (former grad there) , the last few seconds are the best part where she talks about “true writers”:
So now where I’m going with this.
People in the games industry are getting way too caught up in “innovation” and “the next big thing”. We don’t need people focusing on that stuff. We need people focusing on making a wonderful vision become a reality. A vision with meaning. We need people who care about the game and care about what kind of experience they are giving out there. We need less worrying about what’s hot and more brilliant passionate vision made reality. Disney was able to get people excited about his films and “make them their own”. We need people that care more and believe in what they’re working on. As a head of a project, if the people on your team don’t have the vision for your project, you need to help them catch it and make them believers. I think that can be done for most anyone. Even if a game is not their ideal, they can catch the vision of the experience the game is trying to give.
As far as where innovation fits in, it’s a means to an end. Great innovation is the byproduct of progress towards a clear goal. I’ve had lots of innovative things happen on my personal projects, but it was never because I wanted to innovate for innovations sake. It was because I wanted to do this, or have the player feel like this, or experience that. With that goal in mind, I would come up with ways to make that happen. Innovation that does not lead towards the goal of the game is pointless and should be thrown out with anything else that doesn’t contribute to the desired player experience.
On Caster, I’m focusing on making it the game I want to play, the experience I want to have and want to convey to others. It needs to go out the door with my seal of approval and none other.
I think that’s why I’ve been hesitant to consider publishing deals. After I’ve made the game, I’m done. Anything after that is work and gives me no motivation.
Anyway, just some scattered thoughts…
What’s your take on it?