A year ago I decided to temporarily shelve Master of Olympus and use its best bits to create Dawn of Gnome. This, I reasoned, would be a good business move: Gnome is more accessible and, therefore, more likely to sell. But a scary thing happened the other day: I realised I could shelve Gnome, extract its best bits and make something even more accessible.
Where does this end? Will I find myself, in a few years’ time, shrewdly churning out lightweight card games? What about the passion, the contempt for convention, which first drove me to create Olympus? Why should I care about getting my games published anyway? Will they ever make me a millionaire?
As game designers, we’re artists: we do, with patterns and interactions, what others do with brush strokes or melodies. Picture, for a moment, Picasso spending five years painting his masterpiece. If he spends the next ten years reproducing and selling it in postcard form, he’s wasting his talent. Yet this is the situation many game designers, especially those who self-publish, find themselves in.
For me, this should always be a hobby, so if I feel like creating some silly Pokémon cards I shouldn’t let business sense stop me. It would be nice to find a publisher for Gnome and have that project finished for me. That would complement my master plan: ditching work, ditching Birmingham and spending next academic year traveling. That should silence the Voices. Or will it make them louder?