Why I Make Games: we ask 21 of the world’s leading developers about what motivates them


Harvey Smith

Co-creative director, Arkane Studios

I never simply played with toy cars; I told stories with them. Each one had a driver and a history. Like a lot of kids, I invented variant war and chase games up and down the streets of my home town. Exploring abandoned buildings provided some of my favourite childhood memories.

My friends and I also played a lot of pen-and-paper RPGs. Story drama and game/verb drama blended together in RPGs. Then I discovered videogames: the way the bat in Adventure changed the game dynamically, the bullfrog puzzle in Ultima Underworld, which I solved in a nonstandard way by exploiting spells and physics…

Ultimately, the reason I make games is that I still find it fascinating to explore the dark, the potentially threatening or hostile space; it’s thrilling to me to solve problems under duress, to fight monsters in the metaphorical sense. And I want to do it myself, expressing my own desires and quirks. I’d rather be there as an active agent in a truly dynamic, changeable situation, and games do that better than film or literature.