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Google Chief Game Designer quits citing lack of opportunity to make "big, consequential games"

Noah Falstein leaves the company after four years but states he's "not ready to give up" on games.

Published onApril 10, 2017

Google‘s Chief Game Designer, Noah Falstein, has left the company after four years in the position. Falstein announced the departure via a recent blog post in which he discussed some of the reasons behind the move.

Google’s gaming output in recent years has been restricted mostly to small-scale pieces. These games occasionally appear through its search engine on anniversaries, and you may recall Android Easter Eggs like the homage to Flappy Bird. It seems like this scale was directly tied to Falstein’s decision.

“Unfortunately, the opportunity to actually build the big, consequential games that I had been hired to help create failed to materialize, even as the world market for games has continued to grow in size, diversity, and geographic reach,” wrote Falstein in his post.

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Though it’s not clear why these titles didn’t materialize, the implication is that Falstein wanted to make them but Google didn’t. He notes that he was hired to build them and that the market was there — it seems like he was keen.

Falstein also states: “Google is a tremendous company and I know I will miss the perks, the excitement, and most of all, my colleagues there. But with 37 years as a professional game developer, making games is in my blood. I’m not ready to give up on it, certainly not when there are exciting new fields just opening up. I’m particularly energized by the confluence of games, neuroscience, and VR.”

It’s disappointing that Google didn’t produce something larger scale while Falstein was at the company. With the company’s resources and Falstein’s experience and (apparent) desire, they could have produced something special. The good news is that Falstein still intends to pursue games in future. Hopefully, they appear on Android.