By Jason Green
When you think of video game publishers, the big names on the market are Electronic Arts and Activision.
They are the forces in the gaming industry that are responsible for publishing big titles such as Call of Duty and Mass Effect.
What is a publisher, you say? Well, a publisher is a company that basically funds the development of a game by using an external developer or an in house studio. They are the people who get the game out on the market.
A publisher has more creative control than one would think. It seems that the developers are the ones down in the salt mines chipping away at the game making while the publisher gives them money, but, there’s a lot more to it than that.
Publishers are the ones who are breathing down the developers neck like a teacher looking over the shoulder of a test-taking student.
Gamers are generally not in favor of this.
Take Activision for example: they crank out Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed games every single year because they make a butt load of money. Instead of Treyarch, Infinity Ward, or Ubisoft sitting down and taking a few years to make a genuinely new COD or AC game, Activision cracks their whip and tells them to put out a new game every year which is not much different from the last.
A few years ago, developer Terminal Reality released Ghostbusters: The Video Game. The game was pretty well received but a sequel was never made because Activison deemed it wasn’t annualizable. Well what about the gamers who want a sequel?
EA, on the other hand, is known for buying out smaller game developers are controlling them.
An example that would come to mind is Mass Effect developer Bioware.
If you take a look at ME 1, a total Bioware production, you can see how much was crammed into that game.
Than, if you look at ME 2, after EA bought Bioware, everything was more streamlined so more people could get involved. That’s not a bad thing, but it does show how much EA changed the game. As for ME 3, I totally believe that ending was rushed because EA wanted the game out as soon as possible.
I could be totally wrong, but it’s just fishy that as soon as EA buys Bioware, ME becomes a more general game than an RPG game.
Also, EA was just voted the worst company in America.
Publishers aren’t always a bad thing. They can help an independent company get on their feet a make an awesome game. The main problem every gamer has is that they think some publishers suck the “artistic integrity” out of the developer.
Sometimes, it’s hard not to agree with that.