Shame on a designer! For a thin theme?

There is one point that I never hear mentioned when discussing how a designer "pasted on" a theme to a mechanic. That being, that it can be the case that a publisher will express interest in a game, but published with a different theme. This can be for reasons varying from already having that theme in their portfolio to a feeling that another theme would match better with the mechanics. Now, in the case of a designer reworking the theme upon publisher's demand, of course the theme runs the risk of feeling detatched from the original mechanics and intentions. Did the designer create a thinly themed game? Hard to tell, because we never saw the game as it was originally intended. He or she simply made the economic decision to give in to a publisher's demands and take an offer. While the game itself in it's final form may appear as an odd mix of theme and play, the designer him- or herself may have had less control over this factor than accusations suggest.

Why do I bring this up? Perhaps because I wish to hear fewer accusations against a designer who has less control than conversations suggest. Rather, I'd detatch critisism from the designer a bit and focus it more on that particular publication. Yes, the game may not feel well themed. But let's end it there. After all, there are a few cooks in these kitchens and the chef preparing the plate may not be the one we really think.

- Mike