Genre aside, I'm going to claim that films are usually sold and promoted on two 'features': the actors, and the director. For the average person, the actor is probably the main focus point. It often tells you quite a bit about the kind of film you'd be seeing - eg. Vin Diesel or Hugh Grant... which one is most likely to be in a romantic comedy and which one is most likely to be crushing heads with his pectorals alone? And obviously people have actors they think are better or who they like more for whatever reason.
Then, arguably for the more discerning viewer, you have different directors, who again tell you a lot about the sort of film you'll be seeing, but also how you'll be seeing it, as each director has ideas about the amount of dialogue they use, the sort of cinematography they like to employ, the types of actors they will bring to a production, and more.
For the average viewer, the combination of actors and director is the most part of the movie (arguably the screenplay is a close 3rd, though the director often has a big hand in that too). Hence their prominence in advertising, and in other
promotion. You rarely go to see a film without knowing who is in it or who directed it.
Yet with games... all you tend to hear about is the publisher. How often I've heard about the new game from Eidos, EA, Infogrames, Microsoft, or some other publisher, when they don't contribute anything of significant creative worth to the process. Sometimes admittedly they actually buy up the studios in question so you can argue that they have the right to call it 'their' game. But either way, what you still have is a marginalisation of the creative workers in favour of those who hold the purse strings.
This in turn allows the industry to continue as if all that matters is intellectual property and the publishers that own it. How are we ever going to see more creativity when the people who come up with that creativity are never acknowledged? Worse still, what about when those people are sidelined and the publisher pushes the intellectual property onto someone else? How many people really think that Thief 3 played as well as Thief 1 and 2, after Eidos liquidated Looking Glass Studios and gave that property to Ion Storm Austin?
A recent example here in the UK is that of football (soccer) management simulators. The first one, to my knowledge, was a simple game by a man called Kevin Toms, called simply "Football Manager", now 24 years old. Later on came similar games like Premier Manager, and Championship Manager, the latter developed by people who went on to form the Sports Interactive company. Championship Manager and various sequels was happily published by Eidos for quite some time. Eventually the relationship seems to have broken up, but because of the perverted nature of the industry, Eidos get to keep the brand name. Hence, we have Championship Manager 2007, developed by someone else entirely. Look at the website; can you see which creative people were behind it? Keep looking - there's some small print at the bottom, light grey on dark grey, listing a developer's name after the publishers. They don't even get their own logo displayed as a reward for all their hard work. Obviously Eidos are not keen to emphasise the developers because then people may realise that it's not the same people who made the previous Championship Manager games. As for Sports Interactive, their new endeavour is the Football Manager series. At least Sega let them keep their logo on the front of the package. But of course, this 'Football Manager' has nothing to do with the original 'Football Manager', not that any but a few oldies like me would remember the original.
But can we keep going on, disregarding the unique and individual efforts of developers worldwide, treating them as if the intellectual property they devise and implement is worthless? Can we ever expect the industry to be anything but sequel and hype-led when we yield up our creations to publishers to be doled out to whichever interchangable developer best suits their bottom line? At the very least, consumers deserve to know who is actually making these games for them.
EDIT: More games I thought of where the IP has been passed on to someone else apart from Thief and Championship Manager seem to include Fallout, and The Bard's Tale. Anybody got any others? I bet there are many around.
2nd EDIT: Tomb Raider, Might and Magic, Myth...