Career Blog Part 24

Year 10 2009 (continued)

SAW was in the bag and released and we all said, "What now?" Konami was interested in a potential sequel but only after getting the numbers on how SAW sold. We all knew we wouldn't be getting those numbers for months at the least, so we decided to go ahead and start cracking on a sequel now and if or when Konami decided to do it, we'd be ahead of the game.

The first thing we all did was write out proposals of what we wanted to do differently, what improvements could we make in the time we had, and what our "must haves" were. I dove into this, writing up a story-like proposal of what the first few minutes of gameplay could be like. No more quick-time events, no stupid "find key, open door" types of puzzles... more visceral experiences, more mood, more environment interaction. It was well received.

We did NONE of it. We still had no designer, so our producer decided to design the game himself. That's a problem, in my eyes. The job of a creative director or lead designer is to PUSH design forward. The job of a producer is to get a job done on time and on budget. These two jobs do not mix well and in fact, collide together.

One of the biggest complaints of the first SAW game was the melee combat. That was on everyone's list of "must have" improvements. Over the next few months, many different combat systems were mocked up and designed. In the meantime, a quick-time event system was used as a placeholder until a "real" combat system could be made. We had a year to get it done and get this game out the door before the next movie.

Actually, we only had about 10 months. Before a game ships, you need at least 2 months just for getting it all printed, so we needed to have this game done by, like, July or August of the next year. After working on the sequel for a couple months, we got the news: Konami has approved a sequel! Now we were really moving forward!

NEXT: Stepping backwards...

3 Comments
3 Comments
Posted by mtmckinley

Year 10 2009 (continued)

SAW was in the bag and released and we all said, "What now?" Konami was interested in a potential sequel but only after getting the numbers on how SAW sold. We all knew we wouldn't be getting those numbers for months at the least, so we decided to go ahead and start cracking on a sequel now and if or when Konami decided to do it, we'd be ahead of the game.

The first thing we all did was write out proposals of what we wanted to do differently, what improvements could we make in the time we had, and what our "must haves" were. I dove into this, writing up a story-like proposal of what the first few minutes of gameplay could be like. No more quick-time events, no stupid "find key, open door" types of puzzles... more visceral experiences, more mood, more environment interaction. It was well received.

We did NONE of it. We still had no designer, so our producer decided to design the game himself. That's a problem, in my eyes. The job of a creative director or lead designer is to PUSH design forward. The job of a producer is to get a job done on time and on budget. These two jobs do not mix well and in fact, collide together.

One of the biggest complaints of the first SAW game was the melee combat. That was on everyone's list of "must have" improvements. Over the next few months, many different combat systems were mocked up and designed. In the meantime, a quick-time event system was used as a placeholder until a "real" combat system could be made. We had a year to get it done and get this game out the door before the next movie.

Actually, we only had about 10 months. Before a game ships, you need at least 2 months just for getting it all printed, so we needed to have this game done by, like, July or August of the next year. After working on the sequel for a couple months, we got the news: Konami has approved a sequel! Now we were really moving forward!

NEXT: Stepping backwards...

Posted by Akrid

I've always wondered: What does the art department (And programming too, I guess) do at this in-between projects point? Surely there's a few days where there is simply no work to be done for you guys... Well, probably not in this case, since you had such a small team with no dedicated designers. But under better circumstances?

Posted by mtmckinley

In most in-between times, the developers are given some paid time off. In an ideal situation, your studio would have two teams that dove-tail their developments so that as one team is finishing, the other is starting. After your time off you come back and start development on the next project that has already had the brunt of design and preproduction completed.