Emotional Attachments

This entry was posted on Nov 16 2011

Since Barbara is my friend, despite the fact that we have a business relationship between us, I talk about my emotional state with her regarding our project.

Just to be clear, this is a bad idea for anyone else. I can do this with Barbara. You should make sure that the person you are working with is your own Barbara before you even think about sharing your feelings with them when working on a business project with them.

So, I shared with her today my immediate reaction to her ideas concerning our project, and how it is was funny to me considering the reaction I put forward during the discussion was not my emotional reaction (Ant is a lot more outwardly level-headed than I am, it is hard for me to know what he is feeling on the inside unless he tells me).

She laughed and then something that surprised me. She said that she had no idea that I was that emotionally attached to this project, and that for her, though the project was spawned by her intellectual property, it did not carry for her the same way that telling a story did.

I was taken aback when I heard this, because for me, all games are storytelling in one way or another. It’s one of the reasons why I love them (it’s also one of the reasons why Ant and I are making games and are doing pretty well for a new company). Though the games we have made for Mercury Retrograde, Suabh (Sweep) and Fortunes, do not to tell a story the way that they do in the fantastic books that they appear in, they allow the player to experience the world that Barbara created in a way that they could not in any other medium. Instead of hearing about or being told about the world, for a moment, they are in the world. It’s one of the reasons that tabletop role-playing may fall in and out of favor, but will never completely go away (until we make a holodeck), because it allows people to live and do things that they would otherwise be unable to.

So, yes, I am emotionally attached to this thing.

But see, though you should be attached to your projects, you can’t let that attachment consume you. Games are not things that are made in isolation. The best authors have great editors. Even the most brilliant director in films requires the technical and creative expertise of the people around them. Good directors provide a guiding hand to bring consistency and clarity of vision to a collaborative effort. Bad directors bring you the live-action Transformers movies.

So, yes, care about what you are doing, but don’t care so much that you become blind to the brilliance and intelligence of the people working with you, because if they are not brilliant or intelligent, why are you working with them?

About jkempf

James Kempf, CEO of Cliché Studio, has made two games for Mercury Retrograde Press, learned from managing the comics at Criminal Records that John Stewart is the best Green Lantern, and once happily played a 12 ft. dwarf in Rifts.