The video game industry is unnecessarily secretive. For a while, there was no way to tell who was responsible for your favorite games. Things are more transparent now. Players realize that entire teams of talented developers create games, not just a single superstar or a faceless corporation. However, getting real insight into how the game development creative process works remains frustrating.
Fortunately, the democratizing power of the internet has made it easier than ever for creators to share their thoughts directly with fans. For example, you can use your eReader to buy books written by Cliffy B (Gears of War), John Romero (Doom), or Derek Yu (Spelunky). Podcasts and YouTube shows are even more direct, offering long conversations hosted by gaming luminaries…and David Jaffe.
If you want to hear veteran game developers share behind-the-scenes stories of how they’ve honed their craft over the years, check out these shows and podcasts. Continue your game design journey by learning to code and choosing the best game development software.
Learn to create video games
by Mark Brown Game Creator’s Toolkit(Opens in a new window) The YouTube series has lots of helpful tips for budding game developers. Using old and new games as examples, Brown examines topics such as how to balance economies, how to combine genres, and how to design Metroidvania maps. Brown even documents his first steps into game design. If you want to hear from the pros, however, the channel also features in-depth developer interviews and game jam dev diaries.
Katsuhiro Harada is famous for designing the Tekken fighting games and making sure fans know not to ask him anything. Harada Bar(Opens in a new window) is his YouTube series where he casually chats with other major players in the video game industry. So if you want to see Harada interview esports athletes or find out why people think Masahiro Sakurai is a ghost, this is the show for you.
Hideo Kojima’s brain structure
If you’ve played a Metal Gear game, you know Hideo Kojima has a lot of thoughts. Konami may have tried to silence the maverick author, but now, as a completely independent creator, Kojima can express whatever he wants in his games (Death Stranding), his books (The creative gene), and now his next podcast Structure of the brain(Opens in a new window). Exclusive to Spotify in September, Structure of the brain takes you on a “deep dive into his brain and sheds light on his creative process”. Our beloved monsters, have fun.
(Credit: Idle Thumbs)
idle thumbs(Opens in a new window) was founded by people responsible for some great recent games, such as Firewatch and Telltale’s The Walking Dead. The network offers a variety of podcasts, but if you’re specifically looking for game design advice, check out Notes from the designers and Tone control for conversations with game developers about how and why they do what they do.
Masahiro Sakurai on making games
It’s truly impressive that Masahiro Sakurai, creator of the Super Smash Bros. from Nintendo, has become as popular and recognizable a character as the mascots of this all-star crossover. Sakurai isn’t just an entertaining host, however; he’s a genius game designer whose career dates back to the creation of Kirby on the original Game Boy. On his new YouTube channel, Create games(Opens in a new window)Sakurai will share the vast knowledge he has accumulated and some delicious lessons in gaming history that more players need to heed.
At Danny O’Dwyer’s no clips(Opens in a new window) The channel offers professional short and long-form documentaries with unprecedented access to the game design process. Video topics range from indie darlings and fan projects, such as Black Mesa and Hades, to behind-the-curtain highs of AAA hits, like Fallout 76 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. With a mix of design lessons and reminders that the people are behind these games, Noclip is essential viewing.
Recommended by our editors
(Credit: GFB Radio Team)
GFB Radio Team
You might know developer Iron Galaxy for games like Killer Instinct, Wreckateer, and the recent Rumbleverse. Or you might know founder Dave Lang as one of gaming’s biggest threats (we say that with love). On GFB Radio Team(Opens in a new window)you can hear Lang and Iron Galaxy colleague Darryl Wisner “sharing stories from the front lines of game development.”
(The Zachtronics Podcast)
The Zachtronics Podcast
Under the Zachtronics label, independent designer Zach Barth led the development of offbeat titles, such as Exapunks, Ironclad Tactics and Opus Magnum. Indie game development is a beast in its own right compared to the rest of the games industry, so you’ll have to learn some new lessons. On The Zachtronics Podcast(Opens in a new window)Listen to conversations with independent creators to hear their take on the medium.
For more on the games, check out our pick of the best PC games, Nintendo Switch games, PlayStation 5 games, and Xbox Series X/S games. For a more in-depth discussion of video games, visit PCMag’s Pop-Off YouTube channel(Opens in a new window).
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