'Endless movie tie-ins are the death of gaming'

You're helping with some innovative projects, like Darwinia. Is that going to continue?

Absolutely. There's a conservatism and a friction in the industry right now that makes it harder for innovative products to get attention. I just read this really depressing analyst report that goes out to all the major publishers basically arguing that they should abandon original games and only do movie tie-ins. I actually think that would be the death of the computer games industry. It's exactly the wrong way to go.

All of the arguments that say why it's a good idea are actually identifying the roadblocks that need to be fixed. Steam, direct distribution to customers, having that direct relationship with customers, that's part of the solution to getting more Darwinias and fewer Shrek 2s. I mean, I loved the movie but the game was so horrible, it's an abomination that should never have been released.

Above: Steam offers a haven for innovative, quirky games like Darwinia

It's about risk - people want to take advantage of the built-in audience a movie has and reduce the risk of a $20 million game development. Because of this, we as an industry are becoming this very bland, well-blended soup.

The better answer is to work out how you can more efficiently deliver innovative and exciting products to customers and keep developing those solutions. There's no Counter-Strike Tom Clancy movie or book tie-in - you look at these movie tie-ins but none of them can hold a candle to something that came out of the community. And it worked because of the dynamics of episodic, continuous delivery. That's why it's insanely popular.

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.