Can A Bunch Of Names Sell A Game?

Illustration for article titled Can A Bunch Of Names Sell A Game?

You might go to a movie based on the names of the people in its ensemble cast. Recently I was given reason to wonder if we might buy a game based on the roster of the talents behind it.

The occasion was my interview last week at QuakeCon with Paul Wedgwood, founder of development studio Splash Damage, who had already provided me a marvelous description of his game and would later demo the game impressively in front of conference attendees.

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But for me, to be honest, that might not all have been necessary.

I asked him about some recent hires to Splash Damage I'd read about. I recalled that the studio had brought in Dean Calver, the lead programmer of Heavenly Sword. That game had wowed me technically, so I thought that was impressive enough.

Wedgwood said there were other names attached to Brink he felt he should mention:

-Richard Ham, Brink's creative director, had been lead game designer on Fable 2.

-Neil Alphonso, also on Brink, had been a top level designer at Guerilla Games on Killzone 2, according to Wedgwood.

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-Tim Appleby, lead character artist on Brink, was, in Wedgwood's words, "the guy who created Shepard in Mass Effect."

-Olivier Leonardi, also on Brink, was the art director on Rainbow Six Vegas and a Prince of Persia.

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Hearing all that, did I need to know anything more about the game? Sure. But I was left wondering: Why aren't more games described in this way? Maybe some talented people on the team still don't get mentioned. Maybe some resumes get inflated. But this is neither the equivalent of hyping just one lead creator nor ignoring them all.

A creative ensemble worth getting excited about? Why not?

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DISCUSSION

I think the last creative ensemble that had a relatively large amount of people's engines roaring was the trifecta working on "Blue Dragon" - Hironobu Sakaguchi (FF, director), Nobou Uetmatsu (FF, composer), and Akira Toriyama (DQ, artist).

(Not coincidentally, that was also the touted trio for Chrono Trigger.)

Anyway, I think more and more gamers are becoming aware of who worked on a game. Is it to the point that an "all-star cast" can be promoted and recognized? Not quite. But I think we will eventually get there.

I, for one, would buy - or at least have a serious interest in - a game by a crew consisting of Shuyo Murata, Norihiko Hibino, and Yoji Shinkawa (all from ZOE2).

P.S. - Little King's Story was acknowledged for its wide array of game talent from all over the Japan game industry.