"Movie directors create all sorts of movies, and the movie industry is healthy. I wish the game industry was like that as well."
- Sonic the Hedgehog
co-creator Yuji Naka criticizes the game industry's tendency
to stick their directors on the same hit property for years, instead of letting them create and work on new properties.
It's something we've seen with a lot of prominent Japanese developers, like Eiji Aonuma on The Legend of Zelda
series, Hideo Kojima on the Metal Gear
franchise, and Katsuhiro Harada on the Tekken
Naka says that's one of the reasons why he left Sega several years ago to form Prope: "If I stayed there, I would have had to just make Sonic
games. Right now I don't have to make Sonic
anymore, so I'm enjoying that freedom a lot."
How many other designers and directors have left their jobs in order to get away from working on the same franchise again and again? Why can't more developers learn to let other team members take over the reins for a series?
And are developers missing out on opportunities to let directors bring their fanbases to a new IP?