Richard Garriott's Response on Why "Most Game Designers Really Just Suck"

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By anselyouDate: Mar 22 2013 Views:


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Recently, Richard Garriott has been in the eye of the storm because of his some fairly inflammatory statement in an interview with PC Gamer on March 19th. Lord British, more visible in the press these days as a result of his successful Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter project, sat down with the mag to talk a lot about what ails gaming and who he thinks is capable of doing something about it.

Garriott said, "I've met virtually no one in our industry who I think is close to as good a game designer as I am. I'm not saying that because I think I'm so brilliant. What I'm saying is, I think most game designers really just suck, and I think there's a reason why." He cited a lack of education and a lack of extra-design skills as problems plaguing many designers and the industry at large.

If you're not a good artist and not a good programmer, but you still like games, you become a designer, if you follow me.
You get into Q&A and often design. And the most valuable part of creating a game is the design, which the programmers are technically executing. And they'd be happy to just execute some of them. But in my mind, most artists and programmers are just as much of gamers as the designers, and I usually find in my history that the artists and programmers are, in fact, as good of designers as the designers. They're often better, because they understand the technology or the art.
So we're leaning on a lot of designers who get that job because they're not qualified for the other jobs, rather than that they are really strongly qualified as a designer. It's really hard to go to school to be a good designer."

This statement, and others like it that were delivered in the interview, caused no small amount of backlash. On March 20th, Garriott posted a response, titled as "Words taken out of context" in an attempt to "clarify" his words. He blame that a lack of context and "broader real time discussion" for the simplification and inaccurate representations of his statements. "By no means did I intend to disparage others who have led the many great games of each era in gaming history." he said. Then he went on explain his ideas on "why finding or growing NEW great game designers is hard" by comparing being a designer versus being an artist or programmer. He believed that the good designers have to be good at drawing and coding. Although there are now at least a few good schools like the Guildhall at SMU, that turn out quality designers, but "these quality designers remain a rare breed". "Sadly," he concludes, "I really do think that most people who get into design roles on a team have no more skills at design than the programmers and artists."

Lest we do him the disservice of taking his words out of context, you can read his full rebuttal at the Portalarium website.


Richard Garriott's news really made me great interested in game design. I googled a lot the "skills for game designer". To sum up, I think there are at least five skills need to acquire:
1.Computer Programming including Mathematics
2.Artistic skills and techniques
3.A detailed knowledge of current popular games and consoles as well as the history of games
4.Strong written and communication skills
5.A very strong sense to know what make a game good or bad

The last one is most important one? Yes, it should be. It must be the most difficult one. Looking at my list, I feel happy that I am not a game designer, even never dreaming about it. :D

Source:Portalarium, PCGAMER

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