By Fr0Br0 10 Comments
The game industry is under a change. This change has nothing to do with technology improving or game publishers growing bigger. Yet I feel this change will be the biggest thing to hit the video game industry in it's history. Over the past few years, the budget to make games has been increasing exponentially. For these past few years, I felt the publishers granting this budget were doing this because of IP's of the game being created. It makes since to spend big money on a new Gears of War simply because the name of the game is "Gears of War." However, after recent events, I have come to realize that big license names aren't the only things pushing the industry forward. Similar to the movie industry, the big names creating the names of these people are going to be the thing making the sales.
Probably the most recent example of this is when Jason West and Vince Zampella were both fired from their position at Infinity Ward. These two names have been floating around the media so wildly that we now refer to them as the people who made Call of Duty, not Infinity Ward. A development team can change so rapidly there is almost no point in expecting them to employ the same people for consecutive games or even in the development of a single game. That is why the game industry now follows these big names.
After the canning of West and Zampella, they were picked up by the Creative Artist Agency, the largest talent agency. There hasn't even been a handful of game developers who have been represented with such high regards, but having two being picked up at the same time, it seems like this is just the beginning for a way for "free agent" game developers to get around.
The next big news in this story comes when EA Partners seeds these two men, with nobody else on their team, money. Two men, that is all it takes to seed money from one of the biggest game publishers. This has hardly happened in the game industry. It would usually take an entire team with a laid out plan before they may even approach EA to ask for this. In this case, the two names were big enough to grant them the money.
I find this very similar to how the movie industry works. A movie is not sold by the studio making the movie, it is sold by the directors directing the movie and the actors acting in the movie. The movie industry has faces to push the material it tries to sell. To me, it seems that the game industry is slowly gearing toward this new marketing strategy. We already see Tom Clancy's and Sid Meier's name on the front of the box. How long until we see "Cliffy B's Gears of War 3?"