In the early days AAA game development still had an “indie-ish” feeling. Teams were small but overflowing with a passion for what they were making. Developers were able to experiment with what they could do. Many days were filled with excitement because someone made something really awesome. The studio would buzz, "Did you see what Mike made? Such a great idea!" I had the same task each day which was, “Make the game fun.”
As the industry changed things became more and more complex. Projects got bigger, budgets got bigger, deadlines got shorter. Teams are often well over 500 people. Directors far above you are making decisions about what the game is or is not. Large management meetings determine what “fun” is and whether that fits into the scope and budget. Development is broken down into sprints. Your tasks come in a list created by a production managers. You no longer come to work to make the game fun, you come in to “Add patrol paths to area 347” … “cha chunk” …. “set archetypes to the new defender type in mission 28” … “cha chunk” …. “Tighten up the graphics on level 3” … “cha chunk.” Why you’re doing it and whether you agree with it doesn’t really matter. Why are you even making a sequel to your last game? Because we have an awesome story to tell? Because we have some incredible new features we want to add? No, it’s to make more money of course. I understand this goal. It’s a fine goal, but I don’t think it’s creatively fulfilling me. I know, I know. I’m the luckiest guy in the world with the “dream job.” I agree, I love making games. But I used to love it a lot more.
So I’ve been on the lookout for a new fit and I’m thinking something probably outside of AAA. If you’d like to talk I’m on LinkedIn.