Making Video Games Is A Harsh Mistress

Illustration for article titled Making Video Games Is A Harsh Mistress

Five years ago, Akihiro Hino was coming off designing, writing, producing and directing two role-playing games, Rogue Galaxy and Jeanne d'Arc. He was young, ruddy and full of life. Then, the unthinkable happened. His games started taking over the entire country.

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In 2007, Hino designed, wrote and produced Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The game was a smash. It wasn't Hino's first high profile title, directing Dragon Quest VIII for Square Enix. But that was gun-for-hire work. Layton was different — it was his baby and the product of his own studio. In the past five years, Level-5 grew to become one of the biggest studios in the country.

Also in 2007, Hino followed with Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, which he also designed, wrote and produced as well as Dragon Quest IX and Inazuma Eleven, both of which he only produced.

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The following year, Hino designed, wrote and produced two titles, White Knight Chronicles and Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. He also directed White Knight Chronicles.

Not only does Hino work on every Level-5 game either as designer or producer, he is president and CEO of the 200-employee strong company. When Hino showed up at the recent 3DS event in Tokyo, he looked like he was in need of a good nap. Japanese netizens point to his insane schedule and workaholic tendencies. "In the game industry, all-nighters are standard stuff," wrote one commenter, while another added, "Dude looks like he's on death's door."

Perhaps after releasing Professor Layton and the Miracle on the 3DS, Hino can work on designing, writing and producing a totally new project: nap time.

レベルファイブの日野社長が働きすぎな件 [オレ的ゲーム情報]

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DISCUSSION

And we have all been able to enjoy his work. Level-5 are now a top-tier development studio that release high quality and highly polished, unique titles. Kudos Hino and the teams in general.

I think there are still some that believe making games is easy, because, well...they're games. Games are fun right?

Obviously this is a little different now, people know a bit more. But, as well as the misconceptions of the people behind the games, is the hard work it takes to put them all together.

It would be nice if the media started to focus on this a little more. We all hear about Christian Bale's grueling preparation for movies, and the research that writers and directors do. I would like to see this happen for games. Then maybe we will see the public's opinion of them mature.

Games are hard as hell to make, I think Gabe once said that was the reason behind one of Valve's releases, or the delay of it.

During the development of a game, you will become tired and drained. You will hate the game and you will just want to see the back of it. The amount of effort and creativity involved is never really highlighted.

I always go through a phase with the games I work on:

1 - Game's okay, could be good

2 - I don't like it

3 - I hate it so much...

4 - It's a nice game

And, I will never, ever play them again.

I know that there are some interviews about games that are being developed, but it's always on the focus of the game and not the team. Which, is understandable because that is usually the reason for the interview, but I would like a change.

It can be a little touchy as to what can and cannot be said, but there are plenty of great insights to be shared that are more than safe to make public.

If anything, I believe that this openness will only ever create an interest in an industry that is still unexplored by most. It will also create a lot more interest in regards to those who wish to pursue it as a career option.