Yesterday, game makers and fans were all up in arms over comments made by Richard Garriott to PC Gamer, where he said among other things, that “most game designers really just suck”. Now the man best known for his ground-breaking work on the Ultima games has issued a clarification.
On the website for his Portalarium dev studio, Garriott says that his remarks were taken out of context:
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!
… I really do see a major challenge to our art form, specifically in the area of design. The design of a game is simultaneously 1) the most valuable aspect when it comes to the potential of success of a game, 2) the hardest part of game development to improve over previous efforts because of competition, and 3) the skill set with the least formal and informal training available to game developers.
Garriott goes on to acknowledge that he could’ve phrased things better and, just like so many of the people who went at him in the last 24 hours, nods at the bumps in his own design career:
Perhaps my statement that has been quoted so often in recent days could have been presented in a more eloquent fashion. But I stand by the point I was making, that game design is the hardest profession in our business to understand and to learn.
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.