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LBP's Evans: UK Game Companies Need To Embrace Academia

The UK game industry "isn't helping universities", says Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans, but also notes that the "breadth" of the European game business helps differentiate it globally.
The UK game industry "isn't helping universities", says Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans, suggesting that the game biz in the region would benefit from supporting academia more. "It feels like much more structured game programs exist [in the U.S.]," LittleBigPlanet co-creator Evans told Gamasutra as part of a recent in-depth feature interview. "They exist in the UK in fledgling form, but the industry isn't helping universities." Evans is careful to clarify: "I'm not actually critical of the universities at all. I don't think their courses are always relevant, and I don't necessarily think that it's their fault that they're not relevant yet." He concluded: "I think the UK games industry needs to kind of embrace academia a bit more", as part of the local game biz's continuing struggle against globalization of the market and development infrastructure. Elsewhere in the interview, Evans elaborated on a question of whether modding and a more game engine-based culture exists in the North American game biz. He explained: "In terms of the tech-building thing, I think that one thing that European gaming studios are good at is there's a bit of breadth." One possible issue for the UK is that many of the leading global tech licensing studios trace their lineage back to both the U.S. and the shooter genre. "You can trace the lineage back through Quake," says Evans. "The Source engine is related to [the genre]. Even Epic and [Unreal Engine]." "I haven't yet worked out why," he says. "Maybe it's the structure of it. You can build any game -- you don't have to build a shooter with Unreal, but it has that lineage of a shooter. Whereas the UK industry has always been a bit more like, 'Oh, let's do some racing games, let's do some of this.'" "So we've been all over the shop. And with the possible exception of RenderWare, we haven't had the focus to make a really licensable technology. Maybe that's what it is."

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