Star Wars Spiele : Personality

November 02, 10

How does developer personality influence Star Wars spiele or game building in general?

Can you make a great game against a well known Universe?  Absolutely.  Yet, we might agree that it doesn’t happen very often. 

There are many reasons for this, way too many to dig deeply right here.

One simple danger is that the personality of the developers is often entirely lost in the translation of a game based on a pre-established world. 

This sounds obvious and trivial, but the effects in practice are pretty far reaching.  It’s quite different from the “not so distant history” of how games tended to evolve. 

Earlier games like Frogger, Pac-Man, Q-bert, Mario, Paperboy, Robotron, Sinistar, Asteroids — left plenty of room for developers to show something and try something.  They had what looks like tiny graphic and processing power to us now, but actually expressed more than many console titles do. 

When I say “expressed” I really just mean offered up a particular kind of play value that has a direct connection to the personality of the developers.  When I experience a flat level, or a game that plays hollow and soul-less, I often wonder if it was a matter of inhibited personality.  And, sneaking in a practical point, you often don’t have the software tools (or time/resources to build them) to go after what you would really like in the game anyways. 

So the equation looks like : no personality + bad tools = flat, hollow, soul-less

When you’re simply executing a level section detail as part of a 100+ person team, against strict brand standards, well, you can figure the difference.  Yes, you can innovate somewhat with a brand, but the range of experimentation is minimal — and here’s the killer: experimentation is the only way to make a great game. 

As in any medium, if you can’t experiment much, you will end up with something that rings flat and ignores the personality of those doing the building.  So developer personality is at the heart of the matter because almost anything new, interesting, captivating or unique in a game comes from the expression of personality on the part of the builders.

I think this holds true way beyond games.

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