Building a Team? The First Ingredient

As a design manager with BioWare I was involved in the interviewing and hiring and reviewing of many designers. There were certain qualities I was always looking for. Designers didn’t need to fulfill all the requirements but there was one aspect, the first ingredient, if you will, that for me was mandatory.
It was not talent or genius.
It was enthusiasm. Passion, if you will. An eagerness to build, to create and to share those creations with an audience. Passionate game developers build great games. Genius is needed… especially in specializations like graphic rendering or gamebot intelligence but passion sustains the developer during the long crunch hours and the many travails and reversals common to all projects. 
There’s a saying among writers that most writers don’t actually want to write… they want to “have written”. Likewise some developers want to have the game development experience — build a game, have fun, reap the rewards — but aren’t keen on putting the actual work in. Building games is hard and demanding. I’ve seen geniuses flake out midway through crunch while others with perhaps a little less inate talent but with a stronger desire persevere. 
Now passion alone is not enough — to be hired the designer also had to exhibit the necessary skills, design endurance (which I’ll talk about in another post) and have reasonable communication skills (ogres are a great game opponent but fit poorly into teams).
So don’t dismiss the over-eager designer-in-waiting! They might surprise you.