In a new Gamasutra feature interview
, the developers of Scribblenauts
and the forthcoming Hybrid
argue that traditional publisher milestone arrangements squelch innovation through arbitrary requirements.
The notably innovative DS game -- which was also a big commercial success -- did not come together until the end of the project. More adherence to traditional milestone requirements might have killed it.
"A lot of publishers will say, 'It worked on this game,' or, 'It worked on that game,' but just because that's true for one studio doesn't mean that's true for all studios. Milestones matter, but the point was, first of all, schedules, milestones, meetings, bug reports," says Jeremiah Slaczka, thedevelopers's creative director.
"Schedules, milestones, meetings, bug reports, all those things -- the consumer never sees, right? So the focus should be on the game first and all of those things second. That's the main thing."
Adds Joseph Tringali, 5th Cell's CEO: "Those things should support the game rather than the game following this process because that's how it's done."
The developer has espoused the concept of "the V" -- in which a game has a promising beginning, tough development in the middle, and then comes back together at the end.
Tringali adds, "The problem with the milestone schedule is that it's a very flat line. The V starts really cool, goes really bad, and gets really cool again. If you're applying this straight line to a V, you have this point where the game looks like it's underperforming when it's really not."
Says Slaczka, feedback on the game while in development can actually be harmful. "That's absolutely bad because just being able to have a pass/fail metric on an innovative game and you're saying, 'Somebody's not having fun with it.' Well, no crap! Because it's not ready; it's not at that point."
He adds, however, that "It's not an antagonistic relationship with a publisher that we're looking for; we have good partnerships... It's a partnership. We're both after the same goal; we're both trying to make great games that sell. That's the bottom line."
The full feature interview with the pair is live now on Gamasutra