Robert Bowling, formerly of Activision, recently parted ways with the mega-publisher to start up his own development studio dedicated to preserving the artistic integrity of the industry. It's clear that after spending years at Activision working on Call of Duty day after day, Bowling is eager to approach game development from a very different angle, namely one that isn't driven by the business side of things.
“I worked on Call of Duty for seven years, one of the biggest publishers in the industry,” he told GameFront in a recent interview. “With some of that experience behind me, you learn a lot about what you don’t want. You learn a lot about what works well, like what makes a successful franchise, you learn a lot of great lessons. And part of that is learning ‘ok, this doesn’t work. This is not how you do it.’
Bowling went on to express his belief in the importance of creativity and nurturing that kind of talent throughout the entire development process. “I think as an industry as a whole, we have a lot to learn about how we treat creative talent. At the end of the day, what you learn is we’re in a creative field, just like film and television. Anything that you create, it’s not black and white. It requires emotion, it requires passion, and it requires people to be happy–because if you’re not happy with what you’re doing, it’s going to show in the quality of your work.
"You can’t let business objectives guide your creative decisions, no matter what."
While he doesn't say it directly, I'm getting the sense that he was pretty fed up with the corporate model at Activision. At the end of the day, developing and publishing games is very much a business, so it will be interesting to see how successful Bowling and his team at Robotoki are at defying that notion with their first game, Human Element.