Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Time of Regret

Regret is a funny thing; the internet has thousands of quotes from famous people about how they deal with regret. Presumably fame is something most people want, even if it’s just a small amount. Thus famous people would be the ones least likely to have regrets you’d think; they have achieved what they set out to achieve. And yet even for those that life has gifted with their greatest desires still regret lingers.

38 studios had to lay off its entire workforce last week and it crushed the industry. Whatever the numbers show the industry is in flux. Blame on the world economy or simply the fact that video games are a luxury product but the last several years have brought studio after studio being bought and sold and then closing. In the days, and months to come it’s going to be the poster boy for what goes wrong in game development. Whether or not they got enough funding to finish their project in the first place will be up for debate. Anytime you have politics and money lost you have problems. The public is treating both sides harshly, perhaps as it should, perhaps foolishly. The governor of Massachusetts went on record saying things that were at best idiotic; he went on camera after the studio laid off all its employees and said everything was fine. Curt Shilling, the founder and former baseball great, said that he sunk $50 million of his own money into 39 studios and Big Huge Games, for which it is the parent company. In the weeks and months recriminations will fall, lies will be told, and unsurprisingly the truth will be made irrelevant; because when blame is shifted truth becomes an unfortunate victim to prestige. And in the end as will happen the little guy gets stepped on, the employees who worked 60 hour weeks and their spouses who stood by them and of course the taxpayers footing the bill on a project they had nothing to do with.

All of this is for the future, in the present we can only regret what might have been, the possibilities are endless and though the truth is likely that what might have been always is what happens we still regret the lost chances. Failure happens, sometimes perhaps most of the time, we had the best intentions. I doubt Shilling went into this thinking to lose millions of dollars or the state of Massachusetts thought to lose twice that as well. We fail sometimes and we regret, but it is what we do after the failures of life that make all the difference.

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