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That reminds me of your conversation with Ken Levine and Greg LoPiccolo at DICE.
RM: I have huge respect for those guys.
They were obviously three very different games, but you all had a similar quality tier. You guys maybe had different philosophies about how to get from point A to point B of development, but...
RM: It's key to pick your systems and structures and processes and hire the right people that map to your culture and values, and if you structure it right and everything's in alignment, then a good idea and a great product can result in a number of different configurations.
Valve's very different from us, but they make amazing games. Epic is very different from us, but they make amazing games. Blizzard is an amazing company, and they have very different processes and structure than we have. Harmonix, obviously, and Irrational, or 2K Boston and Australia, are very different from us, but they make amazing games. I think it's exciting.
It's an amazing opportunity for the industry, because if you know all the guys and are good friends with those people, you can collaborate and come up, be really collegial, and exchange best practices, and we'll pick and choose some things that we've seen that we're excited about at Blizzard or Valve or Epic or Harmonix or Irrational, or 2K Boston and Australia.
Ken's GDC badge said 2K Boston-slash-Irrational, so I think you can still call it Irrational if you want.
RM: I prefer Irrational, myself.
A little more personality?
And you're not EA Edmonton.
RM: No. Nor will we be.
That's great. Speaking of sharing and looking at things you can share, and I know this was central to the city-state metaphor, that this is the way that EA's being run, but... is there a sharing or something in common that you see? You said that you respect the guys at DICE, and I agree with you that it's a great studio, so do you have conversations with them about that?
RM: Yeah. Actually I hadn't met Patrick Söderlund before, but I got to meet him at a global publishing marketing meeting about month ago, and it was really exciting, because I'm a big fan of their stuff. So we chat a bit and continue the conversation in the longer term.
So actually it was like with Pandemic, but on a bigger scale. We really have the option to always exchange ideas, but it's never forced, right? Part of BioWare and Pandemic... the Elevation investors never forced it. "You guys do whatever's organically right for you, and the best ideas will win." We'd send people out to Pandemic for a few days, and they'd send people up to us, and we'd actually have a lot of ideas, and collaboration, and technology sharing. But it was all very much team-generated.
It's the same way with EA, now. It's not forced in any way. It's very open. It's very transparent. It's very, "There's some guys doing some cool stuff over there. You might want to talk to them." "Okay, I'll pick up the phone and talk to them. That's awesome." So yeah, we talked to a whole bunch of different GMs. I had dinner with Alain Tascan from EA Montreal and said, "You're doing some really cool stuff." So we're figuring out different ways.