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Also, the time commitment and the financial commitment makes more sense to do it in batches, to get as much knocked out. Also, actors' schedules. Can you actually do that for one DLC package? It seems like you'd have to plan in advance, actually.
MM: Yeah. I think you'd go in different cycles. Certainly, I've looked at our initial production ideas, and what you do is you calmly do pre-pro on the whole thing first. You might gather all the material you need; for example, you'll do all the stunts, or you'll do all the body mocap in one go, but you don't necessarily go into production on all that raw data yet.
You do the actual production and the post-production for different episodes at different times. That seems to be the logical way of approaching it, but we're not there yet; so we'll see what happens.
It just seems like you'd want to be risk-averse. So, on one hand, to be risk-averse, you try to get more out of what you've got in the sessions; but at the same time, you don't know exactly what your plan is, either. So weighing that must be a complicated situation.
MM: True. Sure. You see it with things like cinematics: until the environments are locked and they're not changing, a lot of that cinematics work needs -- you don't want to waste the effort of, "Oh, my God! I'm sorry; we changed the scene. We moved the cabin forty feet that way, and the trees are actually now over here. The cinematics are going to have to be redone for this environment."
I think you need to be smart about the way you do those things. It's not rocket science; I think it's just being diligent and using common sense.
This is a new IP for you guys; how much pre-production work did you actually put into this way back when, and how did that affect everything?
MM: A lot. A lot. I think one of the good things from this project -- not everything went according to plan -- but one of the good things that we did was, we had a lot of self-discipline to call pre-production what it is. We then go into production. We didn't kid ourselves until we were in production.
I think that that's one of the things at least that, talking with colleagues from different teams and so forth; they nominally come out of pre-production and go into production where, really, until it's final and you're creating final stuff for the game, you're not in production. At least, that's our philosophy on it.
So pre-production went really, really long, but on the other hand the production cycle was very much what we foresaw from the outset. Then, really, since E3 -- since June -- we've had the game playable from start to finish, we we've really been just iterating and polishing. Okay, cinematics have gone and orchestration and stuff like this, but really the game has been there.
It's been cool to have the opportunity to work this way. I think we're blessed; Microsoft's been very patient and a good partner, and, on the other hand, our previous successes helped us to be able to do that. I know everybody doesn't have that opportunity. I wish more folks did; I think they'd be happier, and the gamers would be happier, as well. Sometimes you see something, and you just -- "If they would have had three more months..." You get those flawed masterpieces. They're really, really good, but they just lacked the final polish.