No, Richard Garriott does not think all of today's game designers suck.
Earlier this week, numerous sites ran with a headline that claimed legendary RPG developer Richard Garriott, aka Lord British, believed all of today's game designers suck. This all stemmed from an interview Garriott had with PC Gamer, which he says took a brief statement of his – “in the midst of a much longer more contextual conversation” – and ran with an inaccurate headline. Set out to clarify the words that have been taken out of context, Garriott posted a lengthier explanation on his company's website.
“By no means did I intend to disparage others who have led the many great games of each era in gaming history. I was trying to say, and show why finding or growing NEW great game designers is hard!”
In the post, Garriott examines the history of design “from where I watched it unfold.” The gist of it isn't that designers today suck, but rather a good designer is one that has had experience in the multiple fields of development – from programmer to artist to designer. He never sought to bash today's field of designers. He only meant that "game design is the hardest profession in our business to understand and to learn.” And unfortunately for many companies, there's not a really good way to judge, or teach for that matter, game design.
“And I certainly am not trying to put my own career on some sort of game design high ground. While I have hit occasional home runs, I have made plenty of unforced errors. I was not attempting to prop myself up with these comments, but rather lament my need…our industry’s need for proper training in the most important skill required to make a good game. I never had any formal training either; I have just had more time to learn from my mistakes than most. If what comes from all this is a frank discussion and lively debate on how to best address this issue, then hopefully I’ve accomplished something,” Garriott concluded. You can read Garriott's full statement on the Portalarium website.
I had a similar conversation with Garriott earlier today and although it was mostly focused on his upcoming RPG Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, I did ask him about the recent headlines. Much of what he told me was repeated in today's post.
"Sadly for me, the PC Gamer took a sound bite, made it into a headline, and now I'm taking a lot of heat for it. They knew that it was my intention, but because I used that juicy word they pulled it out as a quote and now I regret it," Garriott told me.
Now that this issue has hopefully been put the rest, be sure to check back next week for tons of new details regarding his latest project.