Chris Roberts, the creator of Wing Commander and the recently revealed Star Citizen, thinks the gaming industry has a serious talent problem. But it’s far from a lack thereof–instead, he thinks too many great game creators are promoted away from actually making games.
“You’re doing a lot of things that have nothing to do with making the game. That’s probably the biggest challenge for the EAs and the Microsofts of the world,” Roberts told Shacknews. “The film business has solved it, right? I mean, you’re talking about James Cameron, and he may have 1,000 people, but no one is asking him to go into the boardroom meetings and do all that sort of stuff. They’ve bifurcated the executive management stuff from the creative. Steven Spielberg–no one is asking him to be the head of Warner Bros. They say, ‘You should just make movies, because you do movies really well.'”
Roberts said this may have been part of the reason BioWare’s founders, doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, departed in September from the EA-owned studios after more than 15 years.
“I think part of the problem was is that they went from what I’m talking about–being guys that make games–to like ‘Hey, you’re doing really good. Why don’t you have this division in Austin? Why don’t you take over Redwood Shores? Why don’t you take this thing over in Ireland?’ And so all of a sudden, they’re running an empire, which is a bit different from being a developer. I don’t know, this is completely just my supposition. I think those guys got into making games because they like to make games.”
Roberts departed the games industry after the release of Freelancer, and went on to work as a producer on films like The Jacket and Lord of War. Fans seem to be eager to see what Roberts will get up to now that he’s back in games–his Kickstarter for Star Citizen has already exceeded its $500,000 goal in less than a week, on top of the $1.37 million raised on its own website.