Austin GDC ’08

It’s been a rough year for Austin game studios. Lots of upheaval. Some people have been affected adversely by project cancellations and layoffs, while others are staffing up, excited about the coming years. This seems cyclic to me, but there’s definitely been a lot of chaos, in Austin and elsewhere. I’m eternally optimistic, because I know that the desire to play (and design) games will never go; everything else, including “the industry,” is a distant second to that primal drive.

I’m excited by projects here at Arkane Studios and I’m hopeful for games underway at other independent Austin companies: Certain Affinity, Edge of Reality, King’s Isle, Blazing Lizard, Pixel Mine (who just got nominated for a couple of awards, I think), etc. There are a few interesting startups in the background too, coming soon. Larger companies like Nintendo, Disney (Warren’s group), and Bioware hold great promise, and I’ve even got high hopes for (ex-Deus Ex designer) Ricardo Bare’s project at Midway.

Because of the year we’ve had, I’m hoping that Austin GDC will be exciting and reflective this year; a bunch of smart people coming together to network, socialize, share ideas and debate the process of not just shipping games, but making games great.

I’m giving a career-track talk aimed at new people coming into games now, at a time when no one knows what the industry will look like in 5 years.

There’s a charge in the air…is it the imminent hurricane or is it something else, generated by passion… by people who love what they do, who want to pick themselves up and charge the hill again?