Top Video Game Designer Dishes on New NYU Game Design MFA Program

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After New York University on Wednesday announced plans to offer an MFA program in game design, a top game designer told International Business Times that the new program should improve the industry as well as the quality of games sold to the public.

The designer, who declined to allow his name to be used because he is not authorized to speak to media, works for one of the largest game studios in the country. He has a bachelor's degree in comparative media with a focus on video games from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently working on a major game.

Here's an excerpt from NYU's announcement: New York University has announced that the NYU Game Center, one of the world's leading academic game programs, will offer a new Masters of Fine Arts degree beginning in Fall 2012.  MFA students will explore games as a creative art form as they design and develop games within a context of rigorous scholarly study in the two-year program at the NYU Game Center.

The designer spoke to the IBTimes Wednesday::

IBTimes: What impacts could the new NYU program have on the industry?

VGD: I think that there being MFAs in video games says a lot about how far the industry has come. Back in the '80s we may have once been toys for kids, for playing with your friends, people having fun in their garage. But now we're a serious industry. Everyone's played a game by now, whether it's the most hardcore underground video game, or if it's Farmville on Facebook.

IBTimes: What impacts could the new degree program have on the games themselves?

VGD: It's a serious experience. People bringing more of the art into it is good because it enriches the whole process. If you just have people who program making games, you're missing out on everything else that makes it artistic. You may have a great structure but you won't have all the emotional and visual content. It's possible I've thought about this a bit.

IBTimes: Have you heard of any similar program?

I have not heard of any other MFAs in video games, but I'm sort of more on the tech side. I have a BS in video games, but that's the first MFA I've heard of. I have heard of BAs.

IBTimes: How will this new degree program impact the future of gaming?

VDG: I think short-term you'll have smarter people making better games. In the long term, as the industry gets more and more mainstream legitimacy, I'm hoping to see games evolve past even where they're at now, and that the industry can get better footholds. I think it's good for gaming.

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