The Human Publisher

Between the idea
and the reality
Between the motion
and the act
Falls the shadow.
(T.S. Eliot)

Everyone, every single person who at some point of their life has tried doing something creative has felt it. You may haven’t recognised it, but it has been there. It’s what we call the emotional rollercoaster.

That horrible set of feelings moving you fast and abruptly for thinking of being the single most fucking awesome genius in the world, down to thinking you are a complete failure, a fraud, someone that would never do something good. The problem with this constant up and down between the Dunning-Kruger effect and the Impostor Syndrome is that there are no middle points. There is no grey area. You either are to one extreme or to the other, and both are equally bad for you (well, at least when you are on the high side, you feel energised).

This is especially true for people in game/interactive things development, because it’s something really hard and everything looks shit and compromise for the most part. They say that people making games have to constantly live with these feelings and so be it.

Being the sick, power-fantasy dominated mess the industry is, nobody is really doing anything for this (or at least, I never have find evidence about that, if you do, please tell me, because I’ll be very happy to be wrong). In some ways, this is like a brickwall you have to figure out by yourself how to get past to, along with lack of motivation and burnout. Learn to overcome it, if you can’t, you’re just not fit. Natural selection. Survival of the fittest.

But wait. No, seriously, FUCK IT.

Why would we dismiss this thing so easily? Why the focus is always to finish the project, and we never think about caring about people? After all it’s the team who works on the project. The team makes it real. And yes, there are deadlines and costs and everything to figure out. I’m not ruling these things out or saying they’re not important. It’s just, maybe we need something more? Something or someone that does something different than the producer/publisher or whatever. Someone who focus on people rather than on planning or deadlines. And cares about them, improve their mental stability, let them thrive on a human level.

That brickwall is something that we can help people deal with. We just need to do more. We just need to start seeing people as actual human beings rather than tools needed to complete a project. And my question is simple. Is there something actually doing it? Has your publisher or producer come to you sharing their feelings and letting you share yours? Is this something that happens?

Because you know. In the end we’re all people. We’re all flawed. But we share a passion and the will of build something awesome. Of course money is important. But it cannot be everything. Can we care for each other while we’re doing something that we know it’s extremely difficult and consuming? I sincerely hope so. I’m starting to see around small publishers presenting themselves as “more human” and I wonder if they are thinking what I’m thinking now. I really do, since I haven’t had any experience with publisher for many, many years, so, maybe now it’s different.

But yeah, maybe every one of us is not just a coloured line in a Gantt chart. Which by the way I hate.