GDC is still going on, and during the event developers from all over the industry have come together to celebrate their best games and talk about their futures. One such speaker, last night, was the iconic founder of Double Fine Productions, Tim Schafer, who made one thing very, very clear during the presentation: he wants to see the industry unionize.
Of course, he presented that information in a very Tim Schafer-y way, by making a little show of it. Starting by saying how unnecessary unions are… and then having the lights cut out, revealing that the lighting crew unionized. Then he had his mic cut out, because the audio guys unionized too, as well as the teleprompter. The message was finally spelled out when all those things turned back on: that this was a union show, a union town, and that all of those industries were better for it. Which meant it was time for the game industry to follow.
It was an inspired and motivational bit, and it goes a long way to showing just how serious people are about having this discussion now, following the enormous layoffs at Telltale, Activision-Blizzard, EA, ArenaNet, and more. And he was far from the only person to bring up the idea, with narrative designer Meg Jayanth and Night in the Woods developer Scott Benson wearing pro-union pins. Apparently, pro-union merchandise was shared all throughout the conference as well.
But of course, nothing has happened in terms of unionization yet. Heck, Tim Schafer himself runs a studio that definitely does not have a union, so it sort of strikes as ironic that he would push so hard for unionization himself. It would be fantastic – and not out-of-character – if he led the charge by having the very first unionized game studio, but until we see him do it, we can’t offer him much praise.