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December 03, 2007

Comments

Henry

The labels will continue to be separate - Blizzard games will be branded with the Blizzard logo, and Activision games will be branded with the Activision logo.

The "Activision Blizzard" corporate name is not a consumer-facing brand and will not appear anywhere on the boxes.

CDriK

I agree with u and i'm happy i saw the first response...

Carl Pinder

While licensed movie properties are routinely poor products, "ironclad ship-dates" are not the antithesis of quality. Quality is an animal unto itself. Spider-man 3,for example, wasn't a bad game because of the ship date or the movie tie-in. It stands on its own as a bad game because of the game itself.

Jamie Fristrom

I disagree. The thing that killed Spider-Man 3 for me the most was the frustration, which could easily have been fixed by slipping the ship date and putting it through more kleenex tseting. And the second thing that killed it for me was it was tied to a crappy movie. Maybe it wouldn't have been great if those two problems were solved, but it could at least have been good.

Carl Pinder

More time wasn't the answer. Three years is plenty of time to make a game. If you count only the time after the switch to next-gen you still have two years. I can't imagine more focus tests would have resulted in any conclusions other than cut, cut, and cut. Until you were only left with swinging. Which might not have been a bad thing.

Jamie Fristrom

Sure, a great game could be made in three years. (Although many great games took longer: NWN, some of the Zeldas, Psychonauts, I heard Mass Effect...)

My point is, once you've hit that three year mark, and you discover, to your surprise, that your game isn't up to your standards, you've got three options:
- ship the game even though it's crappy
- cancel the game
- keep putting more time into it
A company committed to quality doesn't choose the first option. And that's one of the main differences between Blizzard and Activision.

Jare

Come on Jamie, you're preaching to the choir if you are saying that Blizzard has higher quality standards than Activision (or, heck, anyone else in this business). Any publisher puts out dozens of games every year, they can't all be classics. There's just varying degrees of "commitment to quality," and as far as publishers go, I would say Activision is above average.

davidicus

.

Activision may not be wholly devoted to premium product, but that would be risky business. i want to play (and make) quality games as much as anyone, but it's a better mix to invest in a few "three-year" games, and a lot of proven income games. why? for one, it's a business, not an elite art commune; besides, it keeps us employed.

does it suck? maybe, but it's a fair system; the players are to blame for quality---not Activision---if they choose to buy "good" games instead of only the "great" ones.

imagine an Activision that was committed to exclusively to quality, to the detriment of 1) employee hours 2) compensation 3) number of titles/genres on offer, etc.

the whole "only make stunning games" cry just reeks a bit of ivory tower to me. mind you, there aren't enough of them for me either.

.

Carl Pinder

Regarding "...once you've hit that three year mark, and you discover, to your surprise, that your game isn't up to your standards...".

Since we are talking about Spider-man 3, let's continue to beat a dead horse--you were here for most of the development--it was not a surprise that the game wasn't fun and wasn't "up to your standard."

To call it a surprise is disingenuous. If you discovered tomorrow that Schizoid wasn't up to your standards (purely for argument's sake) what would you do? Ship it? Cancel it? Delay it?

Jare

"it was not a surprise that the game wasn't fun"

I had actually written something along those lines but refrained because I would be stepping on other people's toes. However, it is my belief that the only developers that are surprised by the quality (or lack thereof) of a game by the end of development, are people who chose to not be honest about it.

Sure there's fudge factors (it's your baby after all) but deep down, most developers I know really have a fair idea how good or bad their game is. Commercial success, as usual, may or may not correlate with quality and may bring surprises.

Jamie Fristrom

Not most - I was there for under a year. But nevermind the 'surprise' bit anyway. However you get there, even if you're watching an inevitable doom with horror, you've got the same choice.

With Schizoid, currently, some of our kleenex testers find the early levels too frustrating. Whoops. So we're making changes and we'll do more kleenex testing and if people are still frustrated we will delay it, something we can afford to do because we haven't made any promises to anyone about when it will launch.

Finally, not saying Activision or Blizzard have bad strategy. Sure, publishers can't afford to have a bar as high as a studio that only puts out one title every two-three years. And, true, Activision is above average. My only real quibble was with Blizzard putting their name on the thing. But if "Blizzard" isn't on the boxes or title screens, then I don't have much of an argument.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game