- April 23rd, 2015
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I know, it’s been way too long. For the few of you out there who actually read this, the last two years has been very interesting.
After deciding to stay put up here in the Pacific NW, I put a bunch of thought into what I’d like to do next. Take a new job at a local studio, consult with a number of larger teams out there to help them out, build a new studio, become a teacher, or eventually start flipping burgers?
Part of me really wanted to start giving back after years of being so deeply involved exclusively at Bungie. So I did! I began offering my time at DigiPen, a local school dedicated to gaming and interactive media of all sorts. This has been a fantastic opportunity for me to see fresh new talent and reminds me so very much of what Bungie used to be like back when we were so young and had no concern about insurmountable challenges.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t stop creating something. I had to make a game.
Naively, I started right where I left off at Bungie, building a huge massive AAA scale game design. What the hell was I thinking? I explored the idea, built a huge foundation for a new universe and a world I so wanted to explore. But, it only took a few meetings with a couple well respected colleagues of mine to provide some cold doses of reality and force me look at things differently. I felt like a such a dumb ass
I went through a spell where I was pretty deflated about being on my own without the strength of a proven team like I was so used to leading at Bungie.
I explored mobile games for a short while. Mobil games suck! It’s literally like developing for consoles back in the early 2000’s. I just couldn’t stomach the handcuffs and right about that time is when a huge wave of influence was putting focus back on PC games. Ahhh! This is what I needed.
Within a single month late in the the Fall of 2013, I changed focus back to PC, revived my big AAA game universe idea – BUT – I looked at it with totally fresh eyes and understanding of how something like it could be built in modular and scalable fashion – meaning I could probably make it a reality with a small team and grow accordingly if things take root.
Having been helping at DigiPen for a while now, I had my eyes on some bright new talent. In the beginning of 2014, I hired on a few people from the school and we began building a prototype for the new game!
Halo was good to me, but I’m not super rich or anything. That said, I saved as much aside as I could over the years for something like this. One of my directives is to retain as much equity within the studio as I can for as long as possible. VCs are a great option for many, but they don’t want a solid quality game or franchise. They just want you to grow fast so you can sell out so they make their investment back – not my cup of tea. Publishers may be a good option too, but they want everything and return very little back to the developer. Thus, I’m self-funding, which is not easy and hurts every time I set down to write paychecks for my employees. It also makes things slow going since I don’t have an army of people helping out on the game!
Regardless, we are having a blast making a solid playable prototype of a real time tactics type game unlike anything else out there on the market. I’m so excited to draw on my experience with Halo bringing some FPS elements to an RTT while exploring new ways to engage with commanding units in a game like this. Sure there are challenges with young talent, we make lots of mistakes, but we are also not stuck in any preconceived ruts of thought as so many seasoned devs (like myself) out there may be. I also tell my guys all the time – listen, if we aren’t having fun, then we’re doing something wrong. We build, we learn, we grow, one step at a time.
Our hope was to announce something at GDC this year. We built a rough teaser trailer and were prepared to polish it for release, but after finally meeting with a PR individual, we decided to put things on hold since we simply didn’t have enough followup material to make it a solid reality. This upcoming E3 might be our next opportunity, but we would just be such a small blip among all the huge studios. So, we’re looking at PAX this September, which will be here before we know it!
Since we’re waiting until then, it also means we need to have more of the game operational. I hope we can have players able to dive in a play hands-on by that time. In the meantime, I’ve been dying to show the world what we’ve been working on!
We’ve also been approached by some good friends who have potentially massive investments to be made – specifically for VR. As everyone knows, VR is all the craze right now. It’s about the only thing investors are looking at. Like I said earlier, I’m not interested in diluting equity in the studio but I’m also not an idiot. If the right investment were to be presented for the good of the studio and the game, then I’d entertain it. But, after much investigation into VR, I just don’t believe in it. I don’t believe VR is going to take off like so many others do. However, I do think it may become a good option for a small niche market, so we are looking at how our game could support VR as a peripheral. Sadly, VR tech is so damn horrible right now that developing for it is like drinking gasoline and swallowing a tiki torch.
Thus, we’re retaining focusing on the PC as our main platform. Part of me wants to simply open up and make it very transparent to the community what we’re developing so we can start a dialogue with people out there who are actually interested in this new world we’re building. I’d like to start this soon, but just don’t quite yet know the best approach to doing it yet. Maybe I should forgo the idea of any kind of grand launch and just start sharing screenshots and vids of the game, snippets from the design doc or story bible or any behind the scenes tidbits that people may find interesting.
Hopefully we’ll figure it out sooner rather than later on how we start sharing our game with the world!