Richard Garriott has some harsh words and a bit of tough love for game design professionals in a new interview at PC Gamer. Lord British, more visible in the press these days as a result of his successful Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter project, sat down with the mag to talk at length about what ails gaming and who he thinks is capable of doing something about it.
"I think there's really very few great game designers," Garriott says. "I think Chris Roberts is one of them, Will Wright's another, Peter Molyneux is another. They clearly exist, but on the whole, I think that the design talent in our industry is dramatically lower than we need, as an industry. It's a very hard skill to learn."
Garriott cites a lack of education and a lack of extra-design skills as problems plaguing many designers and the industry at large.
If you're not a good artist and not a good programmer, but you still like games, you become a designer, if you follow me.
You get into Q&A and often design. And the most valuable part of creating a game is the design, which the programmers are technically executing. And they'd be happy to just execute some of them. But in my mind, most artists and programmers are just as much of gamers as the designers, and I usually find in my history that the artists and programmers are, in fact, as good of designers as the designers. They're often better, because they understand the technology or the art.
So we're leaning on a lot of designers who get that job because they're not qualified for the other jobs, rather than that they are really strongly qualified as a designer. It's really hard to go to school to be a good designer."