trained video game designers who get paid thousands of dollars for making video game: some things are way too difficult to create with this engine, you have to understand that we are very limited in our possibilities for this game

modders with a pirated version of photoshop who work full jobs outside the video game industry: hey guys I made 100 hairstyles and re-textures of 750 outfits during my lunch time. Also this female character now has proper armor and can be romanced by a female protag. I was kinda busy last night but here are 20 new complexions you can download for free

hi, resident games art student here! i am. bad at articulating stuff but let me explain why there aren’t 100 hairstyles and 750 re-textures made by game devs! there are a LOT of misconception about the game industry, most prominently maybe that there is this Huge Capitalist Entity™ behind them when in fact there is a team of hardworking devs. These people spend SO much time and work on these games, they’re the last ones who want to release a shitty product. I’m sure that at this point everybody has heard about how stressful making games is but let me tell you exactly HOW bad it is. Because this industry truly treats their people like crap. Like they literally made up a new term for overtime, “crunch”, so they wouldn’t need to pay people extra. Let me add a quote from Blood, Sweat and Pixels, a book that follows the development stories of popular games such as Diablo 3, Dragon Age Inquisition, Stardew Valley, etc.

“The developer’s team had to spend the next few months “crunching”, working eighty- to one-hundred hour weeks (…) Some of them slept in the office so they wouldn’t have to waste time commuting

So yeah.
It’s not really an issue of “do we have the skill?” but more “do we add another hairstyle or do we fix these game breaking bugs?”. When you literally have to decide which bugs you have to fix in time and which ones you can’t there simply isn’t enough time for adding more cosmetics. All games are released unfinished because it is simply not feasible to fix everything. Game development is brutal. Our lecturer told us that people in the industry usually work there for no longer than 8 years simply because it is so demanding and soul sucking. So why is crunch a thing, you may ask.

“I think it remains to be seen whether crunching actually works. Obviously a lot of literature says it doesn’t. (But) I think everybody finds a time in their development careers where you’re going ‘I don’t see what other options we have’” (Aaryn Flynn)

One huge part of that is because the games industry doesn’t have something which almost every other industry has: unions.
This has recently gotten more attention with the whole voice actor thing, but the simple fact is that as of now there are no unions for people working on games, something big publishers want to keep that way. Working in games still has kind of a “rockstar” image, it’s a small industry and there are thousands of eager people who would take any kind of job. As a result there are no real actions that get taken against overworking as everyone is ultimately seen as replaceable.
Not only that but individual studios are largely at the mercy of their publishers. Let’s look at Ensamble as an example. Instead of making the original IP the studio wanted to create they were told by Microsoft to make a game within the Halo franchise. Only to be told that after the release of what was now “Halo Wars” the studio would be shut down.

So while they might not add tons of additional content in form of cosmetics a TON of the work goes into the less glamorous systems like inventory, pathfinding or 3D modelling hundreds of assets only 10% of players are going to look at in detail. And don’t make me go into the topic of 3D modelling because THAT is a whole other rant bc it is difficult AS FUCK and incredibly underappreciated.

And lastly, it is a job. a not very well paid one so you can shove that “thousand of dollars” up your ass.