The current gaming industry practice of hiring fresh developers to milk them for whatever talent they are worth before burning them out and replacing them with a new batch won't lead to industry growth in the long term, explains Laura Fryer, VP and General Manager of WB Games.
Fryer, who was also former executive producer at Microsoft Game Studios and one of the founding members of Xbox hardware development, instead calls for studio culture that is more sustainable.
Speaking at the Develop Brighton conference earlier today, Fryer believes that fostering "permaculture" in game development means getting more team members more involved in the creative process, at as many stages of the process as possible. For example, this could involve inviting structured feedback after each development milestone during production, instead of waiting until the very end, so that everyone is touching base with what has been working and what hasn't.
"The question any creative on a game project needs to ask whenever they are asked to do something is ask: 'What problem are you trying to solve?' Maintaining design documents is no good if nobody reads them. It becomes a solution that simply doesn't work."
Though it can be acknowledged that other factors beyond the studio's control can often rain on the parade anyhow, Fryer's advice does serve to address situations where studio management came down to one "visionary" trying to get everyone else to adhere to increasingly unrealistic or unattainable standards.
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