About Game Development are short essays exploring the world of game development at Bethesda Game Studios. Today’s post is about creativity.
Here’s a useless party trick: what’s the fastest way to clear a room of single women? Say you make video games for a living. Because at every party, there is that guy. The one with the killer idea, the sure thing. He’s done all the work already, he’s practically giving it away. Once that guy latches onto you, forget about talking to anybody else.
If only making a game could be reduced to a singular, perfect idea — a romanticized act, full of mystery, that one performs alone like Michelangelo, dimly lit by candlelight, on his back painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
It’s a lie, of course. The painting of the Sistine Chapel was the work of an army of assistants, carpenters building scaffolding, laborers mining limestone, Craft food services, one Pope, and lots of other people who I couldn’t even begin to imagine.
With projects as complex as our games, creativity involves a large number of people working together. A game like Oblivion or Fallout 3 consists of literally tens of thousands of ideas. Everyone here at the studio contributes to this vast matrix of features, code, sound, art and words. It is both beautiful and frightening. I don’t think we would be doing our projects justice if we weren’t, at least, a little terrified.
We are at our most creative — that is, we create our best work — when we are working together. Some of the best parts of our games can be traced to groups of individuals iterating — a programmer and an artist pushing to improve our particle system to get the right visual effect; a designer, level designer and world artist creating a city full of buildings, dungeons, characters and quests; a hit squad of programmers, level designers, artists and animators cranking away until a giant anti-communist propaganda spouting robot is able to walk and blow **** up.
-Ashley Cheng, Production Director