Video game authors who no longer control the franchises they made famous

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Video game writers are not as common as in other industries. This is likely due to the way video games are produced, with the AAA industry being particularly focused on teamwork led by smaller groups of high profile producers. An exception to this is the indie game scene, which very often sees a creative lead taking care of nearly every aspect of production on their own, but it’s more out of necessity for the project than a need to be considered. as the singular author of a Game.



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Therefore, it’s quite surprising that a particular character becomes hugely well-known for a particular franchise or rises through the ranks of a development studio, sticking around long enough to be considered the face of the project. Yet it still happens, and usually the personalities and lives of these so-called “writers” are intrinsically tied to the games they’re known for. It makes it all the more shocking that an author is entirely separated from the work that built his career.

6 Hitoshi Akamatsu – Creator of Castlevania

Hitoshi Akamatsu’s story is really quite sad. Akamatsu is often considered the primary designer and creator of the first three Castlevania games – with those who worked with him at the time stating that his love of Universal and Hammer Horror films from his youth is what gave the franchise its overall gothic tone.

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It seems that working at Konami in the 1980s and 1990s was an extremely exhausting experience for Akamatsu, especially as the head of such a popular franchise as Castlevania. The fact that in the early days of the Japanese video game industry, developers were expected to remain anonymous, also added to the stress of leading these projects. This was an attempt by video game companies to prevent developers from becoming too famous and therefore able to go it alone. Players only really know of Akamatsu’s starring role in the franchise from the much later testimonials of those who worked under him at the time. It turns out the pressure of working that thankless job eventually got the better of Akamatsu, who eventually left the company to focus on more relaxing games, like fishing simulators, before eventually retiring from the game altogether. industry. This left the franchise in the hands of another potential writer, Koji Igarashi.


5 Koji Igarashi – Heir of Castlevania

While Hitoshi Akamatsu was the main creative force that gave birth to the Castlevania franchise and gave it its very specific gothic tone, it was Koji Igarashi who became the leading figure in the revival of the series as one of the founding elements of the Metroidvania style of games – otherwise known as d-games. research action. Igarashi didn’t originally come up with the main concept for these types of games himself, but rather was one of several project leads for the iconic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Where Igarashi became a video game writer was through the later critical success of symphony of the night, and his own rise through the Konami ranks, eventually seeing him become the only main creator of the vampire killing franchise.

Under his leadership, the Castlevania franchise would see many wonderful iterations of the symphony of the night formula. Eventually, however, the franchise’s sales numbers began to falter, and Igarashi was eventually forced to first drop out of the series and then kicked out of Konami altogether. Shortly after his departure, the franchise died out completely in its official form but would live on through Igarashi as bloodied series, which he launched successfully in part because his name was attached to the project.

4 Hideo Kojima – Another Konami alumnus

Hideo Kojima’s split with Konami is at this point a certified video game legend. The story begins in the 1980s when a young and creative Kojima introduced the world to the wonders of stealth action gameplay in the form of the original. Metal gear. The series was well received in Japan and would go on to become a global phenomenon with the release of Solid metal gear, a game that single-handedly revolutionized the gaming industry and made Hideo Kojima a household name, while massively increasing Konami’s market value.

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Due to the massive success of Solid metal gear, Konami initially let Kojima do whatever it wanted with the franchise. This saw the series morph into a grand tale of the evils of war that was undoubtedly Kojima’s and Kojima’s. Unfortunately for this powerful authorial figure, Konami went through an intense internal reorganization that saw their priorities change massively in the early 2010s. The tolerance they had initially shown towards his eccentric game design eventually turned into pure commercial cynicism, which meant that Konami’s senior management eventually began to try to control its vision of the franchise. This clash would ultimately see Kojima kicked out of the company in a dramatic outing that took the internet by storm in 2015.


3 Hironobu Sakaguchi – His Last Fantasy

There is a popular tale about Hironobu Sakaguchi that looks like this. Sakaguchi joined Square in 1986 as a full-time employee and not only helped save the fledgling independent studio, but rocketed it to financial success with his vision for a very special project. This project will be known as Final Fantasy, the finale reflecting the real situation of the company, because if this game failed, everyone’s career in the industry would be over.

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Whether or not this story is 100% accurate, it underscores the importance Sakaguchi had in directing the creation of the franchise that would become one of the greatest RPG series in the world. Sakaguchi remained on board the franchise throughout the production of Final Fantasy VII, one of the most beloved games of all time. Sakaguchi would eventually leave the franchise voluntarily after the dismal failure of the Final Fantasy VII feature film, Final Fantasy: Spirits Within. Fortunately, however, he seems to be at peace with his decision to leave the franchise behind, and as Final Fantasy continues to thrive, he continues to create his own video games.


2 Alexey Pajitnov – The father of Tetris

Despite Tetris being one of the most popular and best-selling video games of all time, Alexey Pajitnov hasn’t seen a single piece of royalty since the game’s wider release in Western markets until 1996. All of this at because of the political situation in his native Russia, which in 1984 was the center of the Soviet Union. The game that would become Tetris was originally developed with the support of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, which was trying to make the Soviet Union a leader in computer technology. Pajitnov put together the game single-handedly, inspired by his childhood memories of playing with pentominoes. Once the game finally saw a domestic release, authorities banned Pajitnov from authoring the game or making money from it due to the country’s policies regarding editorial law and personal wealth.

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Through a complex series of events, Nintendo would eventually become the game’s primary copyright holder, leading Pajitnov to launch a lawsuit against the company after the fall of the Soviet Union in an attempt to regain control of the franchise to the Japanese company. . Luckily for him, he managed to do so after starting his own company, the Tetris Holding Company, in 1996. Now that he controlled the future of the series and, more importantly, its revenue, Pajitnov licensed the series to Electronic Arts. for a period of 15 years. This again saw the franchise taken out of his hands, but this time with one crucial difference. This time he would make money with his own creation.


1 John Romero and John Carmack – Doom Slayers

The release of LOSS in 1993 propelled John Romero and John Carmack into the godhood of bona fide video game developers. Both were basically rock stars in the 1990s. John Romero’s game design and love for D&D and heavy metal combined with John Carmack’s clever and innovative problem-solving programming created one of most important video games ever made. Not only did the two main creative authors become international celebrities, but they also received huge shares of the revenue generated by the game.

This massive success would eventually separate the two, largely over creative differences. Romero would be the first to go, fighting alone to create the unfortunate Daikatana. Carmack, on the other hand, would end up leading the franchise, attempting to make a future installment, DOOM 3, as innovative as the first. He, too, would eventually relinquish control of the franchise to focus on other pursuits, which these days seem to involve advancing VR gaming technology and AI.

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