I’ve still been thinking about the news over at Day C (Daybreak) and what it will mean for the development of their future games. I still believe that their primary developments and future projects like Hizzy and Everquest Next will continue but then, my concern now is whether or not they will be the same as the would otherwise. Or as good.
It’s funny, but even though a lot of people weren’t really concerned about the dismissal of Dave Georgeson that was the main element that put up the red flag for me. Yes, he didn’t actually create anything I guess. He is not a developer per se and mostly just a PR persona. He has some incredible gaffs too that everyone had to fix for him over and over and over again.
What he was though was a dreamer, and game development needs those people.
Looking at Dave Georgeson he seemed to be the vision behind much of the Everquest franchise. He was the one championing new ideas, mechanics and technology within the media, yes some probably weren’t his original ideas but they would have been the muse for him to take it further. These ideas the got further developed, designed and implemented, sometimes not as well but it is this kind of process that is a huge learning process.
There are quite a few more dreamers out there like Mark Jacobs, Mark Kern, Chris Roberts, Richard Garriot and others are the epitome of these types and are far more valuable than the Publishers and investors might believe.
Personally I believe it is these types of people that are bringing the genre forward. They are the ones championing the new ideas and experiences that then become needed parts. That people then look towards when developing for the future. They are the ones that make their MMO’s stand out from the sea of mediocrity with their vision, whether fully realised or not. MMO’s without them is nothing, it’s Swtor. It’s a game run with a single purpose and seemingly designed entirely around the familiar and whatever metrics are currently popular. It’s games without a soul.
Now of course there are many issues with these types. For some reason, being the dreamer also tends to get you in charge. They are often natural leaders and born socialisers but this is not a good thing. You needs these ideas, and dreams for better but you always need a certain amount of enforced reality and control. Someone on the reigns bringing these back down to reality or you get the mess with Molyneux at the moment where what they set out to achieve is impossible. Curt schilling and the massive waste of money. Or you get cases like Red Five and Mark Kern and the constant shift between the next idea and iteration. Their ideas were amazing but lacked the necessary context and design in order to make them work. Without these ideas those projects become the same copy paste projects I’ve come to loath but with no direction, and no control they are mostly doomed projects.
Dreamers are the ones doing this for the absolute love of the game, the world and the experience. They are the ones moving the industry forward and creating experiences that shape the genre they enjoy. They constantly want better, and bigger and strive to achieve this whether that is realistic or not which is precisely why they also shouldn’t be in control of these projects. It’s definitely a balance there; someone to dream and broaden the horizon of what mmo’s can be and someone also grounded in the reality of what they can achieve.