Igor Simić on the Connection Between Art, Technology, Game Development, and Artificial Intelligence

Pandora Conference,
22-23. November, Belgrade
On August 23, 2023, we had the opportunity to interview Igor Simić, the director and founder of Demagog Studio, a Serbian company. We explored the connection between art, technology, game development, and artificial intelligence. You can watch the full interview here.

Pandora: As someone from the fields of film and art, how has the field of game development affected you? How did you find yourself building and envisioning entire digital/virtual worlds?

Igor: It happened by chance. My friends are engineers, and I had built a career in contemporary art. Together, we created two video games. One of those games, which depicts a factory where children produce toys, and players have to make the children productive, was exhibited at an international festival in Frankfurt. However, a few years later, one of my friends challenged me to come up with an idea with commercial potential. This led to the creation of the game “Golf Club Wasteland,” which initiated the development of three different video games focused on world-building.

Pandora: Where do you see the greatest potential for applying creativity within the field of game development?

Igor: Creativity in storytelling remains a constant element over time. While the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) to generate film scripts is interesting, it mainly serves as a way to reduce risk in producing films for a broader audience. By analyzing data on what works, producers can replicate successful formulas. However, when examining the history of storytelling, fundamental elements emerge: memorable characters, a connection to the fictional world, and a link to real-world issues. Creativity in storytelling is reduced to these fundamental aspects, which can be traced back to ancient storytellers like Homer.

Pandora: You co-founded Demagog Studio. What approach do you take in that regard?

Igor: The game “Golf Club Wasteland” created by Demagog Studio explores a dystopian future in which the ultra-wealthy 0.1%, including figures like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, evacuate to Tesla City on Mars due to a climate catastrophe. Years later, they return to Earth to play golf amidst the ruins. This game garnered attention due to its satire related to Silicon Valley and was directly presented to Apple. It served as the catalyst for Demagog Studio’s ongoing efforts to create a world. The main storytelling tool in the game is a radio program called “Radio Nostalgia for Mars,” where people on Mars reminisce about their past lives on Earth. Demagog Studio is currently working on two more games, “The Cub” and “High Water,” which also include in-game radio and explore themes of life in flood areas and the struggle for emigration to Mars before launch.

Pandora: How do you use art to create new value in the digital space?

Igor: The new value of our company lies in creating intellectual property that can expand into various media, similar to Marvel. We have an extensive approach, creating a world that can be experienced through games, film, series, animation, toys, and more. We use YouTube to showcase clips and have short films, simultaneously monetizing music and scripts for potential series. We also provide different gaming experiences to cater to a broader audience. Regarding creativity, new value arises from creating our content in-house, including music, to ensure fairness and inclusivity for all collaborators. We care about payments and strive to ensure that everyone has a stake in the world we create.

Pandora: How do you understand the concept of “data,” and does it play a role in your creative or production process?

Igor: The focus is on reducing barriers in interactions with technology, especially in using tools like Unity to manage scenes and set up digital characters. We don’t rely too much on traditional data usage, unlike mobile games that track user behavior. However, we use data to some extent, especially for minor aspects like creating collectibles in the game. We also use artificial intelligence tools to quickly generate and select interesting headline images for in-game newspapers.

Pandora: Art and technology have influenced each other for centuries. How do you see the impact of technology and data in the coming decades?

Igor: I believe technological advancements reveal the true role of artists. Artists will never be in danger; instead, the boundaries of creativity, intelligence, and new possibilities will be pushed forward by advancements like artificial intelligence. I spoke about the most important artwork of the 20th century, Marcel Duchamp’s urinal. The possibilities are limitless, so if artificial intelligence proves to create more interesting paintings than some painters, painting hasn’t been interesting for the last hundred years. It’s simply pushing the boundaries of creativity, intelligence, new possibilities, and making us better.

If you’re interested in the future of game development with artificial intelligence, you have the opportunity to apply for this year’s Pandora Conference, which will be held at Sava Centar from November 22 to 23.

Early bird tickets are available until September 18 through the website, and the entire playlist of last year’s lectures is available here: