Ex-Destiny devs on the downsides of big game production

It should almost go without saying that making a successful AAA-type game requires more than throwing money and manpower at a computer screen all willy-nilly. In a new interview (with Playboy, believe it or not), former Destiny developers Jaime Griesemer and Marty O’Donnell gave some behind-the-scenes insight as to why making big games is a fiendishly difficult task.

“It’s really easy to get into a situation we call feeding the beast,” Griesemer said, “where there’s this enormous production team that isn’t allowed or isn’t capable of making progress on their own, so creative directors are always just trying to generate something for those guys to do. And you come in every day and you’re like, OK, there’s a line of like seven people waiting for me to tell them what to do, I guess I will just — as fast as I can — make something up. And that’s crisis mode.”

The duo also revealed why pretty much every big game tends to trigger a wave of pink slips toward the end of its development: “The layoff is part of the budget. I mean, it happens before the game even is out the door. So they know it’s coming, they just don’t tell their employees until the game is in the box. And to me, that’s kind of treating people like cogs, like a resource. It’s not respecting them as professionals.”

Griesemer and O’Donnell have since moved on to work at a smaller studio, Highwire Games, where they’re making a PlayStation VR title called Golem.

Source: Playboy via Kotaku
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11 Comments on "Ex-Destiny devs on the downsides of big game production"

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mysecretid
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mysecretid

Jack Pipsam 
 Halo: ODST was one of my favorite games, ever. 
I think I’ve played it through something like three? four times? which is not something I do.
I loved it, probably because it took the tired old military SF pew-pew shooter game and actually made me give a damn. 
Solid plot; good characters, stellar voice acting (Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica; Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, and Adam Baldwin from Firefly), and dialogue which wasn’t merely setting up the next fight.

I suspect the main reason I never got rid of my XBox 360 when the getting was good was because I wanted to keep the option of playing Halo: ODST just one more time. :-)

Cheers,

boredinBC
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boredinBC

Destiny was 50% the best game I have ever played mixed with 50% of the stupidest game I ever played.  I played this game non-stop for 8 months and loved it, despite it having some of the most ridiculous design elements ever.  The optimist in me says Destiny 2 is going to be amazing, but the realist is thinking, if they wanted to fix it, they could have done it by now.

schlag sweetleaf
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schlag sweetleaf

Wodge Sigbjorn

Jack Pipsam
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Jack Pipsam

I miss the old Bungie.
The Halo games I hold with such fond memories. Halo 3 was pretty much pure gaming perfection to my young teenage self, it had everything I needed. Story, Split-screen, Online, Forge and a Community.
Reach was great, ODST was great.
However it’s all downhill from there. I got Destiny at launch on my Xbox One and it has to be one of the greatest gaming disappointments of my life. So bland, so dull, so soulesss. Sure the map with planets looked cool, but it played like a stripped down version of Halo (despite having more mechanics).
Laying off Marty O’Donnell was pretty much the perfect metaphor of what Bungie is now. Disregarding and discarding everything that made them loved.
I am not saying they should have done just Halo forever, I understood their desire to do something different (although jumping from one sci-fi FPS to another sci-fi FPS isn’t a huge jump, even then before Halo they made another sci-fi FPS called Marathon.)
Then again, Destiny is a massive hit. Huge bucks went in and huge backs has apparently come out. So in the end, doesn’t matter what I think.
Although I have a feeling in 5 or so years, Destiny will have lost quite a lot of its luster as a franchise.

playerxx
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playerxx

I expected the financial downside, like it needs shitloads of money and you are not sure if you even get that back?

Gibs
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Gibs

“you come in every day and you’re like, OK, there’s a line of like seven people waiting for me to tell them what to do, I guess I will just — as fast as I can — make something up. ”

wow…that’s so professional…wouldnt hire

Wodge
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Wodge

Sigbjorn Nowai!

Sigbjorn
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Sigbjorn

Hugh Hefner heard there was this Internet thing, and it’s basically filled with free porn!

Zycor
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Zycor

Sounds like a betas to me.

Wratts
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Wratts

Armsbend You mean you have to read it for the articles??