The lights are on
Over the last few days, Richard Garriott (the Ultima creator also known as Lord British) has been taken to task for his comments in an interview in which he said "most game designers really suck." Garriott made the controversial comments in an interview with PC Gamer. As you might expect, he then experienced a rather high degree of criticism both from gamers and other game designers on Twitter and on various blogs, forums, and websites.
Today, he released a statement that attempts to clarify, but not completely back away from his controversial statement in PC Gamer, which was: ""But other than a few exceptions, like Chris Roberts, I've met virtually no one in our industry who I think is close to as good a game designer as I am. I'm not saying that because I think I'm so brilliant. What I'm saying is, I think most game designers really just suck, and I think there's a reason why."
In his statement, released on the website of his company Portalarium, he said: "Wow did I strike a nerve! In the midst of a much longer more contextual conversation, PC Gamer noted "Wow, you just gave me my headline!" At that moment, I knew to brace for an out of context backlash. Without the broader real time discussion, as often happens, much can be made out of partial thoughts used as headlines of comments meant as quipping simplification of complex issues, as was the recent case for me. The variations of headlines where I either disparage others, or glorify myself are inaccurate representations of the intent of my full commentary.
However, he still does seem to think there is a problem with design in the game industry:
"Artists can take classes and create portfolios of their work and an employer knows they can do the work. A programmer can take classes and produce code samples to prove the same. For designers, there are now at least a few good schools like the Guildhall at SMU, that turn out quality designers. Yet these quality designers remain a rare breed. Sadly, I really do think that most people who get into design roles on a team have no more skills at design than the programmers and artists. They may not be worse, but they rarely have better training than the others to tackle the hardest job of all, determining what game is going to be built."
Recently, Garriott's Kickstarter project, Shroud of the Avatar: Foresaken Virtues passed the $1 million mark in funding on the popular crowdfunding site.