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Ron Gilbert: Developers need unions

Ron Gilbert: Developers need unions

Ron Gilbert is currently working with Hothead Games on his new game, Deathspank.

Ron Gilbert, the developer behind many of the old Lucasarts adventure games, thinks unions will play an important part in the growth of the gaming industry and that before the business can move forward the technology will need to slow to a more manageable rate.

"I think technology is moving forward really rapidly, and part of what a lot of teams do is exploring new technology, and I think that's kind of hard to do with an ad hoc thing," said Gilbert, who is currently working at Hothead Games on his new game, Deathspank.

The comments came as part of an interview with Gamasutra about the future of the industry and what part episodic gaming will play. Gilbert said that he thought that industry professionals would slowly make the move to a more Hollywood like structure, but that several things would have to change first.

One of the things that Gilbert thinks is integral to the future of the games industry is unionisation - a way to band together all the freelance developers.

"I don't think that you're going to be able to grab all of these freelance people when you need them if there isn't some kind of a union structure that's over the top of them. You can't really have a bunch of animators just floating around from job to job with nothing in between."

"I think there's going to have to be a lot more structure, and I think that's going to have to come in the form of unions - which, you know, I don't know that I really agree with that; I think unions bring a lot of bad things to gaming, but I think they're going to be necessary for us to move into that Hollywood model."

What do you think? Are you part of a union? Let us know in the forums.

4 Comments

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pendragon 7th July 2008, 17:56 Quote
oh joy.. then gamers too can be subjected to delays when Gamers Union of <insert country here> goes on strike :-/
OmegaRed59 7th July 2008, 18:46 Quote
Unions are not necessary in most of our modern society. I don't know how they are in the UK but I think that the US could gain a lot by dropping unions in most industries.
Flibblebot 7th July 2008, 21:24 Quote
I originally read the article heading as "Developers need minions", which may be more helpful than unions. Either that or I've been playing too much Overlord recently...

I'm not entirely sure I follow his reasoning as to why unions would be a good thing though and why they would help an ad hoc bunch of freelance developers.
choupolo 7th July 2008, 21:34 Quote
Maybe Ron would prefer to develop for consoles, where technology is standardised and stable. Episodic content works better on that kind of platform. Or is he saying consoles are moving on too quickly as well?

The PC market thrives on being at the edge of technological advancement, and is important to spearhead new challenges in game making as new abilities/tools/potential are developed. I would hate for anything to slow that down. Where would we be today if Ron had his way 10 or 20 years ago?

Maybe he's a proponent of the idea of a unified gaming platform that would exist purely for casual and episodic gaming and last decades.
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