This Week In The Business: Doubt, Confidence, and the Journeys Between

QUOTE | “My lead programmer was expecting me to say, ‘you’re right, this is crazy, we can’t do this.’ But I’m like, ‘this is easy, man. This won’t be so bad.’ Even though, inside, I’m feeling a tremendous amount of doubt.” – In his talk at Devcom 2018, Sony Santa Monica creative director Cory Barlog explains how the creation (and recreation) of God of War was a constant battle against internal and external doubt.


QUOTE | “The first time you marry, you’re probably happy enough just to fall in love and see what happens. If you’re in your second marriage, you probably know a little bit more about what’s going to follow after the infatuation. You pay more attention to how it’s going to develop over a longer period of time.” – Massive Entertainment managing director David Polfeldt compares development of a sequel to The Division to the realizations that come from a self-aware, long-term relationship.

QUOTE | “I was actually approached by the Hollywood unions to proselytize to the IGDA. At the time I said no - not because I’m anti-union, because I’m not, but I didn’t want to see the game developer community be taken advantage of by existing unions for the sake of growing their membership.” – Former IGDA director Kate Edwards believes that if game developer unionization happens, it must serve the interests of those developers above all else.

QUOTE | “When mobile came out, people had to figure out how to make games on a mobile phone. Touch-and-swipe was a new input mechanism, and we didn’t have that before. So we didn’t have Fruit Ninja right away when the iPhone came out. That came years later as people understood the medium. If you take that and look at VR, I think that’s the trajectory where we’re at right now.” – Polyarc co-founder Danny Bulla isn’t worried about VR’s slow growth; in fact, it’s to the advantage of independent studios like his.

QUOTE | “We…have an interest in studios right now that fit this criteria of 50 to 100 people, who are making games on a two to three year cadence, and have content that we think will be of interest to our Game Pass subscribers. That means content that is a little different to what our big AAA franchises can deliver.” – Head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty explains how Ninja Theory was a perfect fit as the kind of acquisition Microsoft wants to make games for Game Pass.

QUOTE | “Nerial initially pitched Reigns to Devolver as ‘Tinder meets Game of Thrones’. Quite logically, at some point Devolver initiated the pitch with HBO as a possible licensing agreement…so it all worked out beautifully in the end.” – Nerial founder François Alliot describes the pairing of mobile hit Reigns and Game of Thrones as a logical match-up, and a surprisingly smooth one.

QUOTE | “It doesn’t have to be the big guys that are already established and nearly mainstream. Keep your eye out for up and coming talent and invest in them.” –Blizzard lead Saralyn Smith urges studios to collaborate with and celebrate emerging talent in their communities in her talk at Devcom 2018.


QUOTE | “When you have a publishing partner, you’re obviously sharing the financial risks and rewards, but when it’s all on you, the buck stops here,” Behaviour Interactive has grown from a work-for-hire studio to one focused on self-publishing, a transformation that VP of creative David Osborne says has been freeing in many ways, if challenging.

QUOTE | “Relative to Canuck Play, [EA] has an unlimited budget, and yet there are still thousands of hours worth of glitch videos on YouTube. I think [players] have become a little frustrated with that.” – Maximum Football 2018 developer David Winter explains how a focus on an audience EA overlooked turned into success on a larger scale.


QUOTE | “When I became CEO, I didn’t know if there would still be a company a year later because we were in such dire straits. But now things are looking up.”– Rui Casais on his journey through Funcom from junior programmer in 2004 to now-CEO.

QUOTE | “[No More Buttons] wasn’t picked up by any of the sites, and it didn’t get featured on the app stores - and in this business that seems [important]. I’m really new to this, I don’t know anything about marketing or who to speak to, so it didn’t get much attention.” - Tommy Søreide Kjær explains the philosophy that led him to create mobile puzzle platformer No More Buttons, and the struggles that led to its sequel, One More Button.



I’m firmly in favor of unionizing game development.

However, I believe QA needs unionization far more than developers at this point.