Death of the Auteur?

I saw this posted over on slashdot. The author talks of how games today are made with so many hands that having one “auteur” behind the whole game can be misleading and that in looking for authorship for a modern game one must look past a quick name on the box.

I’d agree that with some games and some game houses there is more of a colaboative effort into how the game is made and how it eventually reaches the market. With companies like Valve and Blizzard, we recognize the combined efforts of the staff to reach that goal, without having an actuall producer or author to credit the success of the title. This lessens the effect of an author as an artist, but then in a way with a game house like the above you can claim that the game house as a collective has the right to be the “auteur”.

He asks some great questions at the end:

Are there really different types of authorship with contemporary videogames? How should we categorize, if we should? What do we need to know to talk about authors (or auteurs)?

How do we distinguish the true vision behind a game and really whether or not there really is a singular vision anymore that brings a project to fruition. I think there are still a few people out there who are capable to do so, and there are probably more that no one has ever heard of behind the developer logos. You’ll hear endlessly about Hideo Kojima, Peter Molyneux, Sid Meier and Shigeru Miyamoto. About their vision for the games that they’ve made. In some cases it just ended up being their name on the box to sell the product.

I don’t see much changing though. There will be personalities who control and guide their vision to completion and there will be those who will guide a collaboative team to a stunning vision as well. It means though that through this new game journalisim we’ll have to not count on literary models to construct how we talk about games, but in the end create a new way to talk about them. It’s coming, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

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