Writers at the forefront of a growing trend

They’re talking about us again.  Okay, they’re not talking about *us* exactly, but they are talking about the games industry moving toward the Hollywood model of production, with contractors working on a project-per-project basis.  Japan wants in on the action, and Michael John touts the “free agent” status that has often been the norm, rather than the exception, for game writers.  Although Michael draws a line between contractors and “free agents,” he describes a hiring process that is more common for writers than for outsourced labor.    

If the rest of the game industry follows in writers’ footsteps, some questions immediately arise:

Will programmers have to have agents like we writers do, giving 10% to the man behind the curtain?

And the age-old question:

Will the games industry consolidate in one location to allow for easy transition from project to project, like Hollywood? 

Finally, will games go the way of Hollywood and be burdened by unions?  This said, of course, with all the love we can muster as members of the Writers Guild.

If the situation we face as game writers is the wave of the future, perhaps we have more to share with you than our writing expertise — we can also give you a glimpse of things to come.

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Published in: on March 2, 2007 at 2:53 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Personally, I think that the games industry is picking up too many bad habits from the film industry, namely project-based contracts. Of course, not all development houses operate on this model; companies like EA and LucasArts keep developers on staff. It helps that they control all aspects of the development and publishing process, making them more like software companies than movie studios. The big difference is in job stability (i.e. quality of life), and indirectly, product quality. Consider what would happen if business software was developed on a per-project contract basis?!

    Of course, the fundamental difference between the business software world and games is that games rely heavily on one-time creative content, that is, until you start talking about MMOs, persistent worlds, and episodic content. Then continuity and long-term maintenance become very real considerations. In those situations, there’s something to be said for institutional wisdom, something the game industry must strive to maintain in the face of high turnover and burnout rates.

    So in the end, the work model that companies will choose depends on the type of products that they intend to create and support, as well as the lifestyle and work environment that developers demand.

  2. […] I wonder if it’s a glimpse of the game industry’s future.  If developers turn to the Hollywood model of production, will this be a good thing, or a bad thing? Published […]

  3. […] I wonder if it’s a glimpse of?the game industry’s future.? If developers turn to the Hollywood model?of production, will this be a good thing, or a bad thing? Original site : […]

  4. […] of the story.  Silicon Knights’ Denis Dyack went on record against the concept of “free agency” and its identical cousin outsourcing.  While I don’t begrudge him his point of view, […]


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