Tuesday, February 26, 2013

VFX Today: Why Game Devs Should Pay Attention

I had this whole long response to a co-worker regarding the plight of VFX artists, but it was TL;DR. So instead, I tried to put it in terms that game devs can relate to. Here's what I came up with:

Imagine if your studio's only money came from milestone payments, that were determined by a signed contract. Then imagine that the publisher was unwilling to pay the current milestone because they asked you to change something in the delivery after it was delivered, _even_ if you matched the delivery requirements of the signed contract 100%.

Now, imagine that this happens over multiple milestones. Imagine that if your studio fought back on that refusal of payment, they would be cut off by the publisher, who would tell other publishers to never work with your studio. Imagine that they then take the game elsewhere.

Given that possibility, imagine that your studio makes the game under those circumstances, with a team who hasn't even been paid base wages. Imagine the game comes out, and your studio has to lay you off, and possibly shut down due to lack of funding.

And then imagine that your game breaks sales records, with no money coming to you or your now bankrupt studio

After all of this, imagine that you need to potentially uproot yourself (and your family if you have one) and move not just across the country, but across the world to find work.

This is what happens, as I understand it; This how movie studios screw the VFX studios.

And that is why you should care.

UPDATE: Polygon has run an excellent opinion piece on this subject: