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.