Gamasutra is proud to present, in association with Game Developer
magazine, the Top Deck 2008
- the 52 individuals (plus two jokers!) who were most important to the game industry during 2008.
The 13 people included in our Trailblazers list were honored for their efforts to make the world easier for their fellow developers by going where no one has gone before -- or at least, not to the extent that these individuals did, or with as much obvious success. Blizzard's Rob Pardo and Epic's Tim Sweeney are two of those people who we feel have evolved the business:
"Ace of Spades: Rob Pardo, Blizzard Entertainment
Not only has World of Warcraft shown the world that there are at least 10 million dedicated PC gamers out there, it has undisputedly proved the mass appeal of MMORPGs. Pardo was instrumental in creating this phenomenon, and with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and a massively successful BlizzCon, 2008 continues to be a banner year for the company. And that's notwithstanding the upcoming dual hammer of StarCraft II and Diablo III, plus the company's next MMO, of course.
Jack of Spades: Tim Sweeney, Epic
No other game engine out there has had such an impact as Unreal Engine 3. It is more ubiquitous than even Renderware was in its heyday, and lawsuits and quirks aside, there's got to be a reason nearly everybody uses it. Tim Sweeney, as the main architect of this beast, has opened up the market for developers looking to cut costs and prototype early, while also supporting the company's own original software.
Sure, it may not be cheap, but this little "side business" has turned into Epic's largest contribution to game culture thus far, and given Sweeney's history in game tools (see: ZZT), it's only to be expected."
In our Progressives group, we noted game designers and other inspired minds that stood out from the crowd of traditional creators, people who implemented completely new ideas in game development or simply refined what already works to work a whole lot better.
"7 of Diamonds: Ron Carmel and Kyle Gabler, 2D Boy
The development of the tremendous World of Goo -- just-debuted on PC and WiiWare, and at one point the highest ever Metacritic-rated game on Nintendo's console -- is an inspiration for game designers who believe in the DIY culture that video games are founded on, but find themselves making rote titles in cubicles.
Created by ex-Electronic Arts employees Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel, World of Goo was built on the go with a tiny, essentially two-person team, and a "better, faster, cheaper" ethos that utilized many open source solutions and was free from the money-draining overhead of a physical office. This, ladies and gentlemen, may be the future of short-form gaming."
You can read the full feature
, which includes our complete list of the game industry's Trailblazers, Ambassadors, Entrepeneurs, Progressives, and Jokers (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).