Richard Garriott thinks "most game designers really just suck"

Earlier in March, Ultima creator Richard "Lord British" Garriott announced his return to the fantasy RPG space with Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. He also launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund his efforts, and this week, it reached its $1 million goal with 19 days to go.

However, Garriott is apparently feeling that he needs to get some things off his chest now that he knows that his newest game will start development. In a new interview with PC Gamer, he stated that there are a lot of better gaming artists and programmers out there than himself. But as far as game designers ..., well, let's have his works speak for themselves:

But other than a few exceptions, like Chris Roberts, I’ve met virtually no one in our industry who I think is close to as good a game designer as I am. I’m not saying that because I think I’m so brilliant. What I’m saying is, I think most game designers really just suck, and I think there’s a reason why.

What is his reason? Basically, Garriott claims that its hard to learn to design a game as a set of skills, rather than an artist or a programmer who can take classes to improve their works. He said that he considered Will Wright and Peter Molyenux to also be great game designers, adding, "They clearly exist, but on the whole, I think that the design talent in our industry is dramatically lower than we need, as an industry. It’s a very hard skill to learn.”

There's no doubt that game design is hard to learn, but are there really only a few great game designers in the industry, as Garriott claims? That's certainly up for a great debate.

Source: PC Gamer | Image via Portalarium

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And then there are ways to ruin a perfectly good game with terrible design choices like making the user play Tetris or some other crap puzzle every time you have to open a door.

For example dead space 3's electrical engineering interface

he hasn't made much of an impact on or contribute to the gaming industry for the past 10 years or so. what's he trying to say.

I think he's right, there have been way too many totally garbage big label games. Skyrim was a cool game, but it still boiled down to running the same maps over and over and over and the same fetch quests. Which is lazy poor game design. Have any of you played the Dragon Age 2? or Diablo 3?

Game design is way downhill.

Jaybonaut said,
...did you actually read the quote?

Yes I did and who made him the God-given ultimate authority on being better than anyone else and judging others when he hasn't probably played every game out there? Frankly, I never got into his games and I found other game designers better than him whether it's in his genre or not.

Take a look at Indie game devs. He would never give them a second look, but I respect their talent as much as I would him. It's all in perspective and his attitude screams "me, me, me, oh and Will Wright and Peter Molyneux." Why not be more humble?

briangw said,

Take a look at Indie game devs. He would never give them a second look, but I respect their talent as much as I would him. It's all in perspective and his attitude screams "me, me, me, oh and Will Wright and Peter Molyneux." Why not be more humble?

He complimented Indie designers in another, different interview. Also complimented Skyrim.

probably because he hasn't done anything in a long time. Still, the way he says it can be misconstrued easily. I still think he hasn't played a lot of games because frankly, I think we're seeing a return of quality games from indie devs like we did of big publishers in the 90s.

If you read into the interview, he goes on to say he thinks most artists and programmers are better game designers than the actual game designers, who he thinks don't get the job because they have more specific skills:

"The artists and programmers are, in fact, as good of designers as the designers. They're often better, because they understand the technology or the art ... So we're leaning on a lot of designers who get that job because they're not qualified for the other jobs, rather than that they are really strongly qualified as a designer."

Which doesn't erase his first comment, but puts it in perspective.

By the way I'd agree that game quality, or at least originality, has gone down from the 90s and one of the main reasons is because back in the 90s the game designers would have also been involved in programming and art. They were interested in building a game from the ground up. Its become a lot more corporate.

The best game designers are people who were around building games in the the 80s and 90s, like Richard Garriott, Will Wright, Sid Meier, Peter Molyneux. So despite showing an ego, he has a point, in a way.

I see your point, but I think the boom now is Kickstarters and Indie game development. If you look at a lot of those games, you see a passion that big name studios are not promoting.

...him included. Richard Garriott just cemented his reputation as one of the biggest douchebags in the gaming industry with that quotes paragraph.

Why? He is right, unless of course you think there is some rare influx of well designed games lately? Maybe I'm just not seeing them...

Besides, If a slight arrogance that hurts no one cements you as 'one of the biggest douchebags' then you're overly sensitive (and naive).