World of Goo creator Ron Carmel has discussed the creation of his game, the early days of his development career, his time spent at EA Pogo, and weighs up working within a large publisher against being an independent coder. No prizes for guessing which he prefers.
“I should first say that Pogo was nice in a way because it was sheltered from the general EA culture – a lot of the ‘quality of life’ issues that had come up weren’t a part of the Pogo culture. I don’t know why it maintained this kind of…why it kept living in a bubble.
“The reason I left EA was because it really was a machine, because the designer/producer who came up with the design document – it’s literally this packet of paper that’s 50 pages deep – and it was handed to me.
“It was my role as an engineer to implement the design document, and so I could steer it maybe one or two degrees in any direction. But I really felt like I was a factory worker more than a creative worker. I felt like I would have a lot to contribute to the design process.”
This chance never came however,and would eventually prompt Carmel to go solo. He went on to explain why he felt workers at big publishers are more like specialised tools, rather than influential voices.
“It’s inevitable that when you’re at a large company, you are a specialised tool. That’s kind of how the work gets divided. It’s the exacted opposite when you go off and do something independently in a small team.”
It was a wise move it seems, as Carmel’s game World of Goo is rather popular indeed. Check out the rest of the video interview here.