“Those I spoke to described challenges in making games look and sound good, storytelling, movement and interaction with objects, menus, save systems, multiplayer, and all sorts of intricacies of design that are so rarely discussed outside of studios themselves. Many noted that they’ve received angry player feedback about the topics they mentioned, with their audiences asking, ‘Why don’t you just do X?’ The answer is, almost always: because it’s really, really hard.”
One of the reasons I’m always skeptical about the latest [Random Company XX] getting into game development announcement is I know how incredibly difficult game development is —never mind marketing and ongoing support— and I’m just an enthusiast, not a developer. Valentine does a great job of breaking down some of the ideally invisible aspects of building immersive, interactive experiences in a collaborative, often high stakes environment, and you’ll never think about nor take for granted opening a door, choosing a response to progress the story, or saving your progress in that story the same way again.
One of the most interesting things to me is that some games are telling sophisticated stories on par with novels— in some cases, more compelling than the novels they may have been based on or inspired by— but storytelling too often gets the short end of the stick in the development process. I predict we’re less than 10 years away from games’ stories regularly being talked about the same way novels, TV, and film are, and more games being successfully translated to other media than vice versa.