5 Legendary video game designers that changed gaming forever
5 Legendary video game designers that changed gaming forever. Image: Konami.

To many, video games have become an art form. The amount of dedication and craftsmanship that entire teams devoted to the creation of a single title is remarkable, and it is all to realize the vision of a key team member: the video game designer.

They deal with both the form and the substance of the project, conceptualizing everything from the gameplay mechanics to the story and the characters. It is notorious creative work, and some of the most iconic titles of our time have been the product of pioneers with unique visions for design.

Below, we list some of the most recognized creators of our era, based on how impactful their contributions have been to shape the state of the video game world, and how long-lasting their marks have been and will be for generations to come.

Shigeru Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto - Nintendo video game designer
Shigeru Miyamoto – Nintendo video game designer. Image: Digitiser 2000.

Nintendo’s representative director is one of the best-known names and faces in the industry, and for a good reason. Miyamoto-san is responsible for the Japanese giant’s biggest franchises, including Donkey Kong, Star Fox, The Legend of Zelda, and Mario Bros., of course.

He has been credited with making side scrolling games mainstream, and despite his veteran status in the industry, he still continues to be active. Over the years he has been involved, in one way or another, in the development of titles like Pokémon, Pikmin, F-Zero, the Wii series, and Nintendogs for the Nintendo DS.

Sid Meier

Sid Meier - Civilization games designer
Sid Meier – Civilization games designer. Image: Mod DB.

No other video gamed designer or content creator in the industry has had his name have such a pervasive presence in their titles. You might be familiar with Sid Meier through the Civilization series, which is officially titled Sid Meier’s Civilization.

His work in designing the turn-based strategy game spawned different spin-offs of similar nature and changed the genre forever. The Civilization saga lives on in PC, with the latest title being released last year, but Meier has also developed Sid Meier’s Pirates!, Colonization, and Alpha Centauri.

Hironobu Sakaguchi

Hironobu Sakaguchi - Final Fantasy Designer
Hironobu Sakaguchi – Final Fantasy Designer. Image: GameSpot.

Hironobu Sakaguchi is a household name for fans of the Final Fantasy series since he is the creator of the original concept for the saga and he is responsible for the design of several installments. The game has had an ever deeper impact in the RPG field since its incursion into the West with Final Fantasy VII.

Sakaguchi had a more active role in design back in the 90s, but after much critical acclaim and financial success, he has fallen back and taken mostly production team positions. He has participated in the development of Kingdom Hearts, and he returned to the design table in 2012 for the Wii title The Last Story.

John Carmack

John Carmack - video game and 3D tech designer
John Carmack – video game and 3D tech designer. Image: YouTube.

John Carmack is widely credited, along with id Software co-founder John Romero, with the popularization of first-person shooter games in the mid to late 90s. The iconic first titles in the Doom and Quake series, as well as Wolfenstein 3D, were designed and programmed by the father of modern 3D environments.

Carmack also served as a key figure in Apple around that same time, and he is now the CTO of Oculus VR. At just 46 years old, his legacy lives on with the same flame in the recently announced Doom VR, Quake, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.

Hideo Kojima

Hideo Kojima the writer
Hideo Kojima the writer. Image: Metal Gear Informer.

The creator of the Metal Gear series is largely hailed as an author before a designer, which many have used as an argument to undermine his contributions to the scene. However, his unique writing style and vision instantly recognizable, serving as an inspiration to many after two decades of consistent success.

Hideo Kojima had his start with Konami back in the 80s, and only a couple of years ago he parted ways with the firm over creative differences to lead his own studio, Kojima Productions. Up until Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, he had complete control of the franchise.