Postmortem: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
July 30, 2013 Page 5 of 5
5. Upper management shuffle
I should probably give a little background on this point before I get into the meat of the issue. When we were purchased by 38 Studios, we retained all of our senior management and development staff. The BHG studio was reporting to 38 Studios corporate, then based in Massachusetts.
In July 2010, about a year into the development of Reckoning, five of the most senior studio management team at BHG left the company. This easily could have ended Reckoning in a lot of different ways -- the studio could have closed, or the game itself could have become a mess of unrecognizable trash. Luckily, that was not the case. Several people in the BHG studio stepped up to fill the leadership void so we could continue to make the game you'll see at release.
The culture of this studio is unlike anything I've seen anywhere else. I don't want to say we're a family, because that has become cliche. Curt Schilling is fond of using sports metaphor; I'm more fond of military ones. To me, what drives the folks at BHG to do better and go that extra mile is our loyalty to each other. To use a military metaphor, it's like fighting a war, but without all the courage and killing. When you're in the thick of battle, you don't fight a war for the general back at HQ. You fight it because you don't want to let down your buddy next to you in the foxhole. We had other motivations, like wanting our fans to have a great game, but our day-to-day drive came from not wanting to fail each other.
If anything, the senior-management shuffle may have even increased the resolve of the studio to finish this game. It ended up being yet another obstacle that the fates threw at us, and we'd be damned if we weren't going to get past it and make an awesome game.
I can't possibly hope to cover in this article all the things we did right and wrong on a project this size. It was a huge undertaking to make a game of this scope, and we learned a lot along the way. The studio has definitely leveled up as a whole, and we'll be heading into our next project with a better understanding of our game and with better tools and pipelines to make that game.
In the end, any success that this new IP will enjoy has largely been brought into being through the force of will and talent of its developers. We were understaffed and underfunded, but we simply had too much personal skin in the game to let it fail. The team that finished this game did it through dedication to what we all believed could be the next big single-player RPG franchise. I have never seen a team with so much ownership of a game as this one. Many nights were spent working on some minute detail simply because that developer didn't want to let something that wasn't perfect into their game. That kind of passion is a rare commodity to find in a handful of people -- much less an entire studio -- and I can't wait to see what we can accomplish next.
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