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4. Creating A Censored Version
The original game ends with a classic image of last boss Master D's head exploding. The money shot. It had to be in there or the fans would be extremely disappointed. But at what cost?
The cost was a censored version. I can't think of any other game that would be a teen-rated game with the exception of three seconds at the end.
Had we not included the over-the-top head popping last scene, then we would have only needed one version, and could have saved bug-checking an entire new version of the game.
This is another area where I wonder if the amount of time and money we put into creating a censored version was really equivalent to the sales that version achieved.
It could also be said that not including the final scene would have been the right financial choice... But as many people in this industry will tell you, sometimes making a game is about doing something you love and doing it because you think it will be fun.
This was the one part of the game that I allowed the "gamer" within to make the final call. Yes... we need to see that head explode!
...and it still puts a smile on my face.
5. The Schedule
This is probably a trap that many other publishers have fallen into as well. There is a tendency to think of digital titles as much smaller than their packaged brethren but in the end, they can be just as much work.
The initial schedule we started out with was quite aggressive but something we thought was manageable. In the end we underestimated the submission process, number of bugs, and multiple versions that needed to be submitted and missed our mark by about four months.
That wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't opened my big mouth and stated that we were releasing in May... something that could also easily be listed as another big "mistake"... fortunately, we only have to list 5.
I would say that you can view a project in a great number of ways. Financially. Critically. Staff management. Etc. Etc. But one of most important things is that we achieved our goals of satisfying most of the old-school Bionic Commando fans, generating some hype and recognition for the franchise, and, most importantly, we brought back a great series that otherwise would not have seen the light of day ever again.
Personally, I learned that some of your greatest successes can also be your greatest failures, so it's never a bad thing to try out new ideas... you just need to think about each and every risk involved in each choice you make.
Although, in the end, it's not nearly as risky as swinging with a bionic arm over a pit of lava... That's one risk best left in the world of games.
Platform: XBLA, PSN, PC
Release date: August 13, 2008
Development time: 12 months
Number of full time developers at peak: 27 (Average 15)
Hardware: Intel PC platforms, Nvidia GeForce cards, X360 development platforms, Sony PS3 development platforms.
Software: Max, Maya, Photoshop, MotionBuilder.
Technology: Diesel Engine, Bink, Nvidia PhysX
Number of files: 10 209
Lines of native C++ code: 335,975
Lines of script code: 158,203
Lines of XML code: 1,902,987