Creator of the famed Ultima series, Richard Garriott, believes that the majority of current game designers are ill suited for that role and that they work as game designers only because they lack the technical skills required for other roles.
"Other than a few exceptions, like Chris Roberts, I've met virtually no one in our industry who I think is close to as good a game designer as I am," he said. "I'm not saying that because I think I'm so brilliant. What I'm saying is, I think most game designers really just suck, and I think there's a reason why."
Garriott suggested that most modern-day game designers end up in that role because they lack the skills required in other fields such as programing or art where work quality can be assessed easily. In fact, Garriott noted that artists and programmers are often better game designers than the designers themselves since they have better understanding on how their work products affect gameplay and design.
"So we're leaning on a lot of designers who get that job because they're not qualified for the other jobs, rather than that they are really strongly qualified as a designer," he lamented. "It's really hard to go to school to be a good designer."
And this lack of skill is only amplified by laziness and reliance on rehashing existing ideas instead of exerting effort to come up with new ones. "They generally say, 'You know, I really like Medal of Honor, but I would have bigger weapons, or I would have more healing packs, or,' you know. They go to make one or two changes to a game they otherwise love versus really sit down and rethink, 'How can I really move the needle here?'"”