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But that's one of the reasons I like RPGs so much -- and not even just RPGs, but games that let you create a safe spot. You can just take a break and play at your own pace.
DM: Right. Exactly; it's true.
GM: And one of the interesting things that we found is that, because this is going to a much wider audience than the traditional core console/PC audience, there were a lot of players -- especially females -- that would spend more time looking around.
That was their favorite part of the game: clicking on the gold. They'd be like, "Ooh!" They'd find a thing, and then they'd be like, "Oh, I have to go fight a guy now? Ugh." They'd fight the guy, and then be like, "Oh, now I can find stuff again!" There were different people and different demographics.
DM: Well, and there are just different tasks within [the game], to help it pull you along.
I always imagine a couple playing it and passing the iPad back and forth. I don't know if you've ever seen anything like that happen.
DM: Exactly. That's one of the things that we certainly talked about: "Phew, okay. I beat that guy. You do the next guy."
SH: That's how my wife and I play, actually. She thinks the monsters are too scary, and she likes going and plodding all over...
Ultimately, you can do metrics and surveys and focus testing and playtesting, but there are so many people out there, especially on a device like this, that to capture what the play patterns are -- ultimately, you're only testing the things that you anticipated there would be demand for, anyway.
DM: Exactly. It's always scary, especially something like this, because we made Infinity Blade in five months, from "Hey! We're going to make an iOS game" to "It's on the shelves." Developing that, at least to us, in that short of a time frame, felt like running straight at a brick wall at a hundred miles per hour; any deviation off of that, you were going to fall and die.
We had to make decisions -- and they had to be right -- lightning-quick. It's scary stuff. Really, the metrics we had were: Who plays iOS games in the office? Well, okay. I play them. How do I play them? Well, I play them when I'm in the bathroom. I play them when I'm shopping with Laura, and she's trying on stuff, and I'm like "urgh." That's when I get to play stuff.
LM: That's when I play my games, too; when he's trying on stuff.
DM: Yeah, that's true. (chuckles) But we talked about it a little bit, and our team was like, "That's kind of how it's happening." So we pooled the information we had, and made the best decisions that we could. Luckily, the market seems to be supporting it, but it's really kind of like the Wild, Wild West out there. It's exciting! I love it. It's a creative space to be in right now.
Did your team expand or change between Shadow Complex and Infinity Blade?
DM: We finally found our producer. We've wanted a producer since the inception of Chair, and we knew that was a scary position to hire. We needed to find someone that was amazing, and so we spent many, many years looking for our Simon -- and we found him! So we added a few key personnel.
When we shipped Shadow Complex, we were eight or nine core developers, and now we're up to 12. So it changed a little bit, but we're still in that mentality of, grow slowly but make sure that every person we hire is just an amazing fit with the team and gels well.
GM: One of the advantages we have, though, as being part of Epic is that, even though we're a small team on our own, we have lots of resources we can pull in. If we're running out of time on something, we can pull in a few extra resources for a few days, and then they can go back and work on Gears 3 again.
DM: We did that on Shadow Complex, and we're like "This is actually really nice to have this resource." On Infinity Blade, we really made that part of our core --
SH: We leveraged it from the start.
DM: Yeah, from the very start we were like, "Okay, here's how we can use this, and predict it, and schedule it." So we were able to go, "We have these 10 people in Epic Games China that we could swing in for a month or two and do this," and that's now definitely part of our regular production process.
SH: And working closely with the engine team at Epic was really useful for us -- but also for them, as well, because we were sort of proving out the technology as an actual game for the first time. All the things that we learned, and that they worked with us to incorporate in there, everyone gets with UDK now as well, so that's just benefitting all the licensees, as well.
DM: So I love it. I feel like I have the advantage of a super small team and the advantage of a big team, and I get to use what works best in all of those and -- whoop whoop! Sweet. We can make cool stuff.
SH: We just have to coordinate to get all our hands in the same spot at the same time, so...
DM: That's what we have you do! (Everyone laughs)