Monday 27 June 2011

7 Years of LA Noire development hell

IGN have a great and disturbing article about Team Bondi's LA Noire 7 year development cycle.

It features responses by Brendan McNamara, who is the typical egotistical management type.

I'm sick of dealing with management fucktards like McNamara. I’m butting against it daily at the moment and I’m sick of it. There may be a bit of projection onto McNamara in this rant, but he’s not the only person who acts like he does in this industry… ;)

But if you ask me, “whatever it takes” means getting rid of egotistical arsehole pricks like him out of the games industry.

However you cut it, running your staff into the ground is NOT a good management plan, nor is it good for maintaining an industry.

I don't buy into the argument that it's due to the competitive nature of game development. I know people in the finance and defence software creating business - software which is worth billions of dollars and far more important than games ever could hope to be - and they positively baulked when I told them the crap hours for the crap pay we put up with.

How is this environment good for a competitive and sustainable industry? You can't develop and nurture creative skills in this kind of environment! How are you meant to have people who are strong leads if you burn everyone out and they leave after a year or two? People will leave for other studios overseas, where at least pay if not conditions are proven to be better. However, more often people leave the industry altogether, choosing to go into fields which pay better and are not as demanding on their time and sanity as games. All that talent, skill and knowledge has left the industry. Is it any wonder every bloody game is almost exactly the same now days?

And where is the industry left after this scenario, repeated time and time again? After the closure of studios and mass exodus due to McNamara and others “management skills”, a lot of casual / indie developers have popped up as a result, and yes, a few are making some great games, but is this really a sustainable industry? Will these startups be around in a year or two? Will they be around after Facebook dies (and it will die just like AOL and all those others died) and iPhone development costs increase with the continual revisions to the devices hardware?

I have a very strong suspicion these studios will vanish when the cashcow of iOS and Facebook games comes back to reality, and we'll lose even more talented people.

And lastly, this is directly to McNamara and anyone else who thinks the same way: it is not your game, you egotistical fuckstick; It’s every single person on that teams’ game! It belongs to everyone who works on it. And I don’t give a fuck who you are - Brendan McNamara, Sam Houser, Cliff Bleszinski, or Jesus Fucking Christ; if you’ve got a producer and leads, then help those people PRODUCE and LEAD - that's how a good producer/director should work.

Don’t give me this “I’m passionate about games” bullshit either – those people who are making $50,000 a year working 12 hour days plus weekends are passionate about games. Just because you’re on $200,000 jetsetting all over the world trying to get finance for the next game doesn’t make you any better, clever, or talented than the team you’re working with.

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