I must apologize that the posts on toyconstruct have dried up for the past few weeks...graduate school caught up much faster than I expected. I am in the middle of my final exam week, and I will be done with them in a week's time and good to go with more posts! (JQ also got a new job and he's adjusting to the change too)
But I wanted to share something I spotted just the past week. Ever wonder why games nowadays are so generic in feeling? The sense of innovation and originality of today pales greatly in comparison with the past. I hope I'm not the only one, but I feel so much more attached to games in the past...even though the graphics were crap compared to today, I feel that games at that time were more like the games we wanted to play.
Today's game publishers are mostly listed publicly and have shareholders to please. Business-wise, they need to make profits every fiscal year in a very competitive environment that's saturated with others who want to make the gaming buck. Upside to this is increased production values and good variety of games to play...but there's lots of downsides too. Rushed games with tons of bugs, boring mechanics, and sequel-itis are some that come to my mind. Just as an example...Call of Duty used to rock my world and reached its pinnacle with CoD 4, and it became the "Madden of FPS" with yearly releases :/
Unlike most game publishers, Valve has something really good going on. For one, they're known to consistently release blockbusters of games, Portal 1&2, Left 4 Dead, and Half-Life come to mind. So how are they able to that at this age?
Recently, Gamespot found out about Valve's new employee orientation manual. It captures the culture of Valve pretty well. And if you have the time, I highly recommended reading through it.
There's no strict hierarchy of employees, the company has kept itself privately funded, and employees get to decide what they want to work on. And it appears that their corporate culture is very different than that of its competitors, and I feel that they have kept true to their passion of making games...encouraging creativity and camaraderie among its employees. They may not be releasing a ton of games, but at least what they release is quality.
Dang reading the employee manual makes me want to work in Valve!
And the elephant in the room: WHEN IS HALF-LIFE 3 COMING OUT???