Dino Dini, creator of the Kick Off and Player Manager football titles, has launched a scathing attack on the industry's lack of appreciation for development talent, and accused it of losing focus on gameplay in favour of production values.
Speaking in an interview with Eurogamer.net about his new football title, an as-yet unnamed game which is being self-funded by independent developer DC Studios (which is helmed by long-time Dini collaborator Mark Greenshields), Dini argued that the industry's development focus has lost its way since the introduction of the PlayStation.
"Ever since the PS, the industry started thinking 'big' - it lost appreciation of individual talent," he claims. "The industry has focused on ever-increasing production values instead of the core essence of interactive entertainment."
As might be expected, Dini has special ire for modern football games in this department - accusing them of being "big licenses and big teams and very little focus on a core of great gameplay, of the art of video game development as I understand and value it." However, he believes that this is a problem which extends far beyond the sports game genre.
"This industry does not really champion individuals," he explains. "How many people know the creative force behind GTA3 for instance? Instead, the industry has pushed the labels, the publishers, the brands. Although this works in the short term, brands generally have a limited lifespan, as we are now starting to realise. If you want true longevity in this industry, it has to be through the promotion of the talent behind the products."
Dini categorised the current situation of games development as a "creative crisis," and expects that as this deepens, "[the industry] will increasingly value and promote creative individuals rather than brand names."
DC Studios expects to launch Dini's new football game in 2005, and is currently in preliminary talks with a number of publishers about the title. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz last month, DC Studios boss Mark Greenshields was bullish about the prospects for the title - stating that the company hopes to strongly challenge the established market leaders, FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer.