Kotaku has a nice article by Anthony Burch from Gearbox Software about the challenges of game development. The artist has previously worked at Destructoid as a features editor, highlighting indie games and criticizing big-budget titles he didn’t like. It appears that you should know a couple of things before you start complaining about one of the Ubisoft’s games or Mass Effect: Andromeda.
To make a new NPC, you need to concept the character (which can take weeks), then do a high-poly model. And man, do the high-poly models look great; they look perfect, in fact, except for the fact that they actually, uh, won’t be anywhere in the game. Because you actually need to make a low-poly model based on the high-poly model, which takes more time. But hey; at least you’re done now, right? Just put him in the game and let him animate. Except, oh, wait, right. You need to make the animations. But before that, you actually have to rig the character so it can animate at all – before rigging, it’s just a static model, no more animated than a 3D rock.
What is more, you have to know that games look like complete ass for 90% of their production. Here is how playable character named Krieg the psycho from Borderlands 2 looked like for the vast majority of development:
As it turns out? They quite possibly did. Game devs are not a bunch of oblivious monkeys who smash their keyboards with crosseyed indifference—they often know what works and what doesn’t, and why. When particular aspects of a game end up being less than stellar, it’s likely not because the developers are dumb, it’s because time and money constraints forced them to make tough choices.
As a for-instance: why are most video game endings kind of disappointing? Is it because the developers are stupid and don’t know how to bring closure? Or is it because, on average, only a small percentage of the people who buy your game will see its ending and every moment you spend polishing it is one you haven’t spent on other parts of the game? Parts that a way bigger chunk of your players will actually interact with?
You really have to read the full post here. Tons of other insights on the life of game developers.