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Y Control: Joe Ybarra On Cheyenne Mountain's Massive Plans
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Y Control: Joe Ybarra On Cheyenne Mountain's Massive Plans

March 24, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

Right. Well, someone mentioned recently, and it really struck me as true, is that all of the really big blockbuster games -- not just in terms of sales, but in terms of success of execution -- were really late. They were released way after they were planned to be released.

JY: You have to put some thought into that, but I can see that argument.

You know, or at least they took a really long time. Like, Half-Life 2, BioShock, Portal, Halo 3, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II; all these games have had extremely long cycles, and they were released when they were done. It seems like that's the space that people need to get to, but it's really tough because, you know, they've got to meet ship dates and things like that.

JY: Yeah. Plus they're damned expensive.

Yeah. (laughter)

JY: Yeah. So you have that problem, too. And I think you're right. I think the issue is, is that, the longer the project duration is, the harder it is to predict when it's going to be done. That's pretty logical. And, along the course of the way -- what I've seen in my own personal experience is that you get products of opportunity while you're constructing your product.

So, you know, you start off with one design principle, you go off and you start building it, and then you realize it either doesn't work, or, "Oh, by the way, this works so well that if we were to adjust it this way, it gets even better." So these are what I call "the products of opportunity". And, of course, all that does is it elongates your project when you start running into that kind of thing.

And then, you know, I think there is a scope issue. There certainly is a scope issue with MMOs. How much product do you build? With an MMO, first of all, you never stop building in an MMO to begin with, right? So you kind of have an arbitrary finish line, right?

So we have critical mass of content, it all runs, everybody's having a good time, we can launch --knowing that I'm going to continue to add more content over time. So, you know, you have that issue as well, the considerable elongation of the project cycle.

I don't know, I think a lot of it comes down to, one of the issues we have as an industry is the fact that every time we go to build a product, the technology is different. Especially when you have a three year development cycle; that encompasses the entire lifetime of a console environment. So it's sort of like you're almost doomed by the time you're finished, and wherever you go next is going to be completely different. So, that doesn't help anything either.

There are a lot of issues that we need to overcome here, and I think it's all of those factors. And then there's one more that I think is kind of interesting, and that is: some of the more successful products that we've seen in the history of our industry are really right on the edge of being inventions.

Like, before Doom, there were no first person shooters. So when they're designing a product like that, we've never seen one before, so how do you predict when you're going to be done?

Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

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