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How did you make those kinds of quality creep decisions? Because it seems like you could very easily just keep doing it.
RS: One of the specific examples, I think, is that the foyer level is the first level we got arted up by Brennan. We looked at it, and we were like, "This is awesome. We hope the whole game can look like this." And then I remember a couple months later, when Amanda, who was one of our collaborators on the art side, handed in the hearth level, which is towards the end of the game, it just looked amazing.
By this time, we had like learned a lot more interesting digital tricks in terms of digital painting, and we were better with Photoshop, and she had put a little bit more time into it, and had a lot better sense of depth, form, composition, shading -- you know, traditional art metrics.
And I was like, "Now, the foyer doesn't look as good to me," or it seemed like it was in a slightly different style. This always happens when you ship a game. When you go back and look at the things that you're worried about, the priority three or four bugs that you let slide and you felt nervous about, and you shipped these bugs or whatever, I go back and look at them, I can barely see what I was talking about now.
I just went in there with like a smudge tool, and I was fixing micro issues, which probably drove David crazy because he wasn't as close to the content as I was. It seemed so important at the time, but in retrospect, it wasn't that big of a deal. Actually, everybody sort of praises the fact that it all looks like it's one artist even though it's a collaboration of several artists. But to us, it was so clear where Amanda's work and Brennan's work stopped and so forth.
Big games are certainly a collaboration between a whole pile of artists. But I don't think, as a consumer, that you can really tell, generally.
RS: Yeah. I think that's true.
You're attracted to indie development by the idea that you can do what you want, but now you've made a game that's really big. Do you feel the pressure to make a sequel?
DK: Yes. There's definitely pressure to make a sequel. I think particularly in this marketplace, in the App Store, our concern is if we wait too long to make a sequel, if we don't decide to make Spider 2 until 2011, will anyone remember what Spider is? It's moving so quickly. There are new games every week, like hundreds of them. So, yeah, that's definitely a consideration.
Our creative goal is to continue to pursue new concepts, and I think on the other side, we have earned ourselves the right to decide what we want to make next. But I think there's a longer-term consideration, which is if we do a sequel now and capitalize on the game's success and give the fans of the game more of what they loved about it, we'll be in a better position to operate longer term, and do what we want.
RS: Yup. And there's a career-building aspect to our goals as well, in the sense that coming off the EA project, I had invested like two and a half years in a game that wasn't going to ship with my name on it. Then prior to that, I had spent about a year and a half doing consultancy work. Those are both like extremely valuable experiences for me, but they meant that it had been like four or five years since I shipped a game.
I always wind up working on risky, innovative projects. I couldn't afford to do that again in a triple-A space, spend four years to have a game cancelled, and now it's been almost ten years since I shipped a game. That's like basically resume poison, right? So, I knew I needed to ship a game right away, and I had this interest in the iPhone space and in indie gaming, so now I have a game I've shipped on my resume, and that's cool.
But beyond that, we also have been the types of developers who can start a studio, ship something that works, it got good ratings, and it's commercially successful. That's like a really big plus on your resume. You're kind of "that type" of person. You're the kind of person who can be a businessman, who can be successful, who understands a market, and so forth. And so, we think about Spider 2, we're like, "Well, we made a game. We're also the kind of people who can make a franchise." So, there's sort a career aspect to it as well. We would like to prove that we can do that.
DK: I love Spider. I think there's a ton of material to be mined out of that basic concept. I think there's a lot of stuff that can happen in the future that I can get really excited about. Yeah, I think we can turn it into a franchise.
RS: It might not be a big new genre, but it's kind of this micro genre of the action-drawing game -- that's what we called it. Spider is an early and obvious entry into that. There is tons of other stuff you could do to explore it.