Top Three Video Game Designers
I’d like you to take a moment right now to think of the top three game designers currently practicing in the industry. Who are they?
Go on, do it now. Seriously. Get three people in your head.
Now, when I did this, I thought the answer was pretty obvious: Shigeru Miyamoto, Sid Meier, and Will Wright. Then I started thinking: why? This seems so obvious, but why is it obvious?
Miyamoto is easy. Anyone who creates two new genres in their lifetime, wins.
Sid Meier puts out consistently good games. He makes solid turn-based strategy games, although he has more range than he’s normally given credit for (he’s made decent sim and flight sim games, among other things).
And then there’s Will Wright. And I know he’s an industry icon, but I started to question the status I’d given him as “top 3”. He has two notable successes (and one really notable GDC lecture) in between a string of games that were not all that critically or financially successful. He only works in one genre. The genre isn’t even all that well-loved by most hardcore gamers due to its lack of goals and achievement. So what’s the deal here?
Why do I think of Will Wright, and not Clint Hocking, or Rob Pardo, or David Jaffe, or Cliff Bleszinski?
Does this happen to anyone else? Can anyone explain it?
– Ian Schreiber