Separating gameplay from aesthetic

I am more and more convinced that tool/engine/gameplay should be made by a different company/team than the one doing the aesthetic/theme/narrative.

This way the whole game hits a wide spectrum of gamers with the perfect combo: investment in the game and enjoyment of the experience, 100%. Right in the chest.

Think Overland (the indie game) with an Atlanta-ish vibe and a more narrative-oriented game. I would buy the fuck out of that (I already have Overland but I feel its theme is kinda bland).

Counter-Strike with a paintball and women athletes skin, for a more than welcome change from the terrible narrative the original game conveys. The maps are 20 year old maps. Still played. That game is good. The theme is gross.

X-COM2 with a TV show theme: L-World and Shameless and Weeds and the fucking Tudors, I don’t know. All of them could come out and fans would jump on them. To each his own, and probably more attractive to most people than the weird, generic 90s X-Files, very limited, theme that this great game has.


Maybe there would be a new role, some kind of game development A&R thing to match gameplay and “dressing”. I’d love to do that. I’d be good at it. It’d be like modding, only official and professional.

We should as developers seriously think about that kind of things. It’s not *that* hard technically speaking –leaving things open for another team to populate- but it does mean having an extremely stable production process. Very clear tools and very technical folks. Which is still something rare in game development.

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