Last November my game Proun won a Dutch Game Award for Best Original Game Design. When I received the award, I grabbed the microphone and did a short speech, which Control Magazine then asked me to write that into a column. Which I did! The Dutch version is currently on their website and in the magazine, and here is the English translation.
The Dutch games industry is doing really well. More developers than ever before! But still, if you look for truly special Dutch games, you will find painfully few. Testament to this is that at the last Dutch Game Awards, two student games and a hobby game were nominated for Best Original Game Design. Where are the companies? So many developers, so few people who create their own concepts. It's as if we have all become entrepeneurs, and left our passion and creativity at the door.
I think this is because many Dutch developers are afraid to follow their heart. With all these talented people, there must be so many good ideas floating around! Yet almost everyone is doing work for hire. Within budget, finished on time, a certain income. Hardly any creative freedom and everyone will have forgotten your game two months later.
Of course, there are exceptions. Just think about Ibb & Obb, Dinner Date, Super Crate Box, Killzone (yes, that one as well!), and of course our own Awesomenauts. And don't get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with doing work for hire. It is an important part of our industry and it is a good thing that we Dutch are as good at it as we are. But it has been taken a step too far: most developers seem to only care about a steady income.
And of course, building your own concepts also means more risk, and will fail once in a while. But I am certain that more truly special games would be born in the Netherlands, and more international success would follow!
Because truly great games are made from the heart, not from the wallet!