Todaywe, the students of Bournemouth University, were treated to a lecture from James Shepherd - the director of the Sony studio in Cambridge. Mr Shepherd and his team of 90 had contributed to the construction of games like Heavenly Sword, Wipeout, Play TV and LittleBigPlanet PSP. He spoke for over an hour, and allowed us to take part in a demonstration of the Sony brainstorming sessions. It was pretty awesome.
His talk was titled "the Art of Computer Game Design". The lecture was roughly themed about inspiration and thinking outside the box. One of his slides contained posters for 5 classic films:
- Star Wars
- Blade Runner
- Apocalypse Now
The message was basically that while it is good to be aware of these films, and to be influenced by them, they aren't productive as a source of new ideas. Inspiration, the ability to think outside the box, comes from making yourself as accessible to as many new and unknown experiences as possible. This can range from simply going out of your way to read a non-mainstream magazine, to watching a generic Spaghetti Western at 2am, to travelling to some country in south America and just absorbing a new culture. Nobody cares if you have seen the latest Pixar film, because everybody has seen the latest Pixar film. Playing the latest Halo game doesn't make you a snowflake - It doesn't make you stand out and it doesn't make you unique.
It's quite an elitist mindset, that you should try to be as unique and individual as possible - the core message was simply that people should be more open minded. He informed us that the videogame industry is loaded with talented individuals, people who know their craft inside-out, but who haven't explored the world and are consequently short-sighted as to thinking outside the box when designing and shaping new ideas. You don't need to take my word for it, just look at the games you are playing. They might be a great games, but I doubt any of them are revolutionary. Uncharted 2 (which was heavily flaunted today) seems flawless in it's execution - and is presented as a culmination of every great videogame evolution from this generation. This is probably why it looks so great and the progression within it is so fluent. It raises the bar for quality, but it's hardly progressive as a concept.
So, if you want to get a job in the videogame industry, immerse yourself in the unknown. Take a chance on something different. Apparently.
It did seem a little hypocritical that the man telling us to be innovative was responsible for Heavenly Sword, but meh what are you gunna do :D
IN OTHER NEWSI'm going to the pub. See you later.
Thanks For Reading