The Game Director Who Returned from Hell - Chapter 1 (Part 1):
I pondered deeply.
Should I be pleased to discover the true face of the one I thought was a friend, or should I be sad?
“Well, that guy’s in trouble. His stubbornness is just too much. Something about art addiction? Masterpiece addiction? He’s just too pure. He still believes that pushing for profitability through gameplay will lead to profit. They say the Business Department goes crazy as soon as they hear the name Cheon Yeon-ho.”
“Wow, Team Leader, you’re so fierce.”
“What can I do if it’s the truth? Anyway, it’s become a nuisance. I have to dive into another new project.”
“Oh, but isn’t the project that was assigned to Cheon Yeon-ho?”
“What can I say? They asked me to handle it. That guy messed things up this time too.”
The conclusion I finally reached was to quietly leave my position.
That guy was the candidate for director who successfully led three large projects, while I was the troublemaker leaving ambiguous results or a mess behind with each project I took on.
It becomes like trying to shine with an unattractive painting.
There was always a saying I heard.
“Yeon-ho, seriously, why did you propose an impossible trading system? Huh? How can we run a game that relies solely on in-game currency? Are development costs just going to spring up from the ground?
They said my game lacked commercial viability.
-Core users? Great! Cash cows need spacious pastures to become strong. But in this pasture, cash cows can’t survive. Why? Even if they want to graze, there’s no grass to eat! This is a field of weeds!
The statement that the game doesn’t understand the users’ needs.
– Is this the fix? I don’t see a place for random items. Revise it again!
They said to align with the company’s policy.
I willingly complied.
I was an employee of the company and also the responsible leader for projects.
And the result was this.
“Sigh… Yeon-ho, let’s stop this project here. It’s in the red.”
– I’m sorry. I’ll work harder.
– You always work hard. Just do something well.
When I adjusted according to their taste, they complained that it wasn’t good enough.
I always suppressed a thought.
‘Games won’t sell if they’re not fun.’
From planning to completion, what kind of enjoyment do you feel in a game where you constantly think about how to sell more?
The enjoyment of spending money? Even spending money needs to be enjoyable.
Even after carefully considering the planning document, they tore it apart and left only the payment screen. What should I do?
The result that those individuals have produced after messing with the game, isn’t it about time to figure out who’s to blame?
Perhaps I should have said that instead.
Now, I don’t really know anymore.
Even though I haven’t done anything according to my intentions, the responsibility was mine.
The words I tried to follow as the basics of a game turned me into a fanatic for art and a fanatic for masterpieces.
I just keep thinking.
‘What am I even doing?’
Amidst this treatment, amidst this environment, what did I want to do?
Suddenly, I looked back on my life, the games I’ve created, and the evaluations of those games.
I wanted to make great games.
Not just games that sell well, but games that are so complete that players can feel like they’re in a different world while playing.
Games that bring joy to the players.
It seemed like that was different from the company’s policies.
Even if I tried to align, it didn’t align.
My game had to contort its identity to finally fit the company’s taste.
‘Could I really be wrong?’
Is the ultimate purpose of a game truly in commerce?
Is the business model above the game system?
Am I the only one ignoring this fact?
Was I actually a one-eyed man in a normal village?
– I still believe that profits will increase if pushed by gameplay mechanics still lingers, even now.
Those words didn’t leave my mind.
Despite having many arguments to counter, I couldn’t take it easily.
I felt like an inexperienced adult lost in dreams and unable to see reality.
The thought that the path I had believed in my whole life might end in a cliff that was eating at me.
I had to make a decision.
Whether to accept that I was wrong or to believe in myself to the end.
In the midst of it, I realized that I was stubborn just like that guy said.
“Well, tell me your reasons. Why?”
“I want to take on the challenge of indie game development.”
“···Ah, indie game development. Nice. It has romance. You’ll do well. I’ll cheer you on. Let me know when you release something.”
The moment I mentioned resigning, the eyes that always let out a strange discomfort while looking at me were filled with warmth.
It was as if those eyes were saying something.
-Just by looking, it’s obvious you’ll fail.
I countered inwardly as if defying it.
I wasn’t wrong.
That’s what I believed.
Still, having worked for a considerable number of years, my severance pay was substantial.
I had saved money separately, and since I wasn’t married, there weren’t many corners where money would disappear in the future.
I had accumulated know-how and acquired skills.
Starting with a programming major in the first place and transitioning to a planner, I wasn’t significantly hindered by technical issues.
Moreover, there was a genre I wanted to explore.
There were systems I wanted to implement, stories I wanted to tell.
I began development.
From planning to design, from creating prototypes to full-fledged development, I didn’t rest much.
– Still believing that pushing for profitability through gameplay will lead to profit.
I tried to shake off that thought.
My driving force was my determination.
‘What’s wrong with that?’
What’s wrong with pursuing gameplay in a game?
Adding detail to the world, adding depth to characters, refining the system’s intricacy, and contemplating gameplay—what’s wrong with that?
Isn’t it obvious?
If it’s a game, it has to be like a game, isn’t it?
Since when did games become a display of wealth?
When did they become disposable products for momentary enjoyment, forcing mindless repetitive actions?
From the beginning, the essence of a game was the experience.
It was about undergoing a journey in a new world, achieving a sense of accomplishment through that process.
It was about preserving that process as a memory and cherishing it for a long time.
When you clear away all the extraneous things, that was the truth.
– Let’s be realistic.
I was not wrong.