People worth knowing in the videogame industry

The gaming industry—as well as the journalism industry that covers it—is full of so much sameness, so much toeing the line, that when someone can express an intelligent thought and express it eloquently, I’m impressed. Here are a few of the people who are bastions of sanity in the videogame world.

1. Ken Levine

The creative director at 2K Boston, and the guy behind Bioshock. Bioshock was so fantastic that it kind of reset the bar of what videogames can do. And finally, when some forum-poster is looking for an example of a game that attains true artistry, true emotional depth, they can hold up Bioshock instead of wiping the ten years of dust off Final Fantasy VII. But Levine wasn’t satisfied to just make a great game and sit on his throne and let the accolades pour in; after the release of Bioshock he got very vocal. Not only did he give an interview in which he spoke about the launch problems (even calling the PC authentication system a “clusterfuck”), but he’s been everywhere—the DICE Awards, GDC 08, involved with Bioshock 2, shit he’s probably standing behind you right now—and he’s not shy about sharing his ideas about what makes a good story in a videogame. My favorite part about these comments: he makes crafting an interesting videogame narrative sound easy. Ken Levine should be cloned and distributed to every developer, that way we would have more games like Bioshock and fewer games like Turok.

2. Luc Bernard

From a big name that everybody loves to a little name that a lot of people seem to hate. Perhaps I misspoke when I said that this is a list of people who are bastions of sanity. British indie developer Luc Bernard is clearly insane. What I love about this guy is that he seems like he walked right out of the dark ages of game development: he did most of the development himself, he hand drew all the graphics for his upcoming game Eternity’s Child, and he banged on doors until he found an outlet for his work. Also, he’s developing a videogame about the holocaust that already has people pissed off (it may or may not get a wide release). Luc Bernard is on the shortlist of imaginative game designers, and I’m totally snagging Eternity’s Child when it hits WiiWare. His blog is here.

3. Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw

Zero Punctuation” is my Wednesday treat. Not only is Ben Croshaw funny and British, but he’s appropriately rough with crap games. I don’t have the time to waste on videogames that aren’t up to my standards, and Croshaw sets his standards so high that he’s one of the only reviewers I trust. Developers should hire this guy and pay him to stand over their shoulders and reject their crappy ideas. The format of his weekly game review videos (“Zero Punctuation”) is innovative and entertaining, but what makes Yahtzee so special is his complete lack of a filter. If you are unfamiliar with “Zero Punctuation,” you should watch a few right now.

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~ by Ian D. on April 16, 2008.

2 Responses to “People worth knowing in the videogame industry”

  1. Speaking of which: did you know they are working on Fallout 3? To be released towards the end of this year?

    And do you know who is making it? Bethesda motherfucker. That’s right.

  2. Eric Wolpaw. Once of Old Man Murray. Wrote for Psychonauts. Now at Valve. Wrote Portal. TRUE AMERICAN HERO? Survey says yes.

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