Ask HN: Why aren't games marketed as the work of director X like movies are?

Hacker News - Sat Aug 6 11:27

Ask HN: Why aren't games marketed as the work of director X like movies are?
7 points by amichail 1 hour ago | hide | past | favorite | 18 comments
And if they were, what impact would this have on video game design?

They used to be, at least during the Amiga heydays.

Sid Meier's Pirates!, Civilization, Colonization, Railroad Tycoon etc. [1]

David Braben presents Frontier - Elite II

Also after Populous, games like Powermonger, Black & White etc were all known to be "by" Peter Molyneux.

Then there were also isometric shooters by some John Carmack


Currently it's the press who coins the directors as auteurs, not the other way round. Eg. dark souls came before miyazaki. There are some exceptions like hideo kojima.

Also not all games are movies. Their iteration times seem far longer. And games/game designs can be worked on for so long it's natural you'd want to switch to something else.

Lastly, it is hard to quantify the contributions of one guy compared to the entire studio without access to sales. If one pushes his personal brand he'd have to step over a whole bunch of very qualified egos too. If it succeeds you'd end up with payscales that are out of whack similar to Hollywood, and it's not a pretty situation since part of your workforce can transition out of games.

Because for many studios, the creative staff are cogs to be used for a game then dumped when it's over. Read "press reset" for many examples of this. They want you to stick with the publisher for sequels, not follow the developers as they go from studio to studio. There are exceptions to this (Kojima for one).

There are a few exceptions, Sid Meier's for example has his name on a bunch of games as marketing. Tom Clancy was also attached to a bunch of military shooters for a while as well. Its used less currently than it was in the past but Studios and publishers as a whole do gain notoriety both good and bad and there is some discussion in gaming communities about certain individuals and their impact on games (these days often negatively).

This only works when the director has solid name recognition, of which there are fewer examples in games.

Notable counter example is Hideo Kojima (check out MGS5 or Death Stranding)

Video games follow the software dev model. I mean most software that is packaged does not explicitly name the lead developer on title. There are exceptions like vim by B. Moolenaar.

John Romero’s Daikatana perhaps.

Amusingly enough American McGee’s name sounded like a studio to me when I bought the game; only later did I realize it was a guy.

They are, to some degree (especially JRPGs), but narrative games haven't been really mainstream until relatively recently. We need a deeper cast of game directors to start glorifying them.