Spanking Death: Ron Gilbert Goes Episodic... And Loves It
June 30, 2008 Page 5 of 7
This is always a really potentially dire question, but - what are your thoughts on the industry as it stands now, and the way everything is going? You're known as a fairly curmudgeonly guy; you run a blog called Grumpy Gamer. You've also got your project here set up, and maybe that's a new avenue that's opening up. What do you think about the industry in general? How's it doing, and where's it going?
RG: Well I think, generally, the industry is doing pretty well. I think it's on a really good financial setting, which I think is really positive. I think that as the industry can make more money, and be more successful, I think its reach will grow. And I think that, ultimately, will help indie games, and help games that want to be different.
You know, the movie industry certainly has its share of space marine movies as well. There are big blockbusters that are shallow, but they make hundreds of millions of dollars, and I think the movie industry is pretty good at taking that money and funding a lot of more indie movies, and smaller movies, and movies for niche audiences. And I think the game industry needs to move into that model.
There's certainly nothing wrong with Halos and Half-Lifes, and all these other things being out there. But I would like to see companies like Microsoft, and EA, and all these people take some of that, and really start to support different levels of titles. And I think if the industry continues to be financially successful, we will eventually start to see that; so I think that's actually a very positive thing.
And you know, when I started out in the industry, it was very, very niche. If you were not a hardcore game player, you knew nothing about games. But today, pretty much everybody you run into plays games at some level, and I think that's a very positive thing.
That's true. And that situation you described with the movie industry, that's an - I think we actually honestly may have talked about that, like three or four years ago, when we spoke for a little bit.
RG: Yeah, I think we did.
But it's something that I still harp on a lot, because I think it's so crucial in reaching this last group of people, you know, this fairly sizable group of people who aren't into games, per se; and I think it's finding that medium between the ultra experimental indie games - which I love - and the big triple-A, big-budget titles.
I feel like there's that space in the middle where you can still make reasonably ambitious, character-based, world-based games, but you aren't necessarily being held to the profit expectations that a Halo or a GTA or something is. And I feel like there should be fertile ground in the middle, and that's where so many great films come out of, and I feel like games could be the same way.
RG: Yeah. Total, total agreement with that. I think publishers, I think every single game that they sign, they're looking for it to be a home run. It's like every time they go to the play, they swing for the fences. And being able to hit like a single or a double is just beyond their comprehension, in a way. And I think they have to understand that that's important.
And I think that Hollywood does that, for a couple of reasons. I think one of the reasons is Hollywood sometimes funds these movies because they're cultivating talent. You know, they can see something in a director, or maybe in some actors, and they can put them in these films because they want to be able to help grow them.
And this is another area that I think the game industry is completely blind to; being able to take talent and give them games that are, you know, going to be profitable, but they don't have to be home runs, because they really want to cultivate that talent, and work with them in the future. And I just don't think that happens very much.
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