In today's main Gamasutra feature, Jill Duffy looks at Grant Collier, CEO of developer Infinity Ward's lecture at the Montreal International Game Summit, held November 2 and 3. In the lecture, Collier spoke to a full house on the topic of business expansion and developing a next-gen title.
In this extract, Collier discusses both the cost of a next-generation game and the difficulties in expanding a team for next-gen development:
"Since the team size nearly tripled in anticipation of Call of Duty 2, so did the budget, and Collier gave out a rare concrete cost figure for a next-gen game - the title was made in two years in a $14.5 million budget, and the game shipped on time...
In discussing the changes at the employment level, Collier seemed slightly wistful of the days when, with only 25 people working on one project, one common goal, the team could “turn on a dime” and had a “family atmosphere.” “Everyone wanted to be successful,” he said of the corporate culture of yesteryears. “That whole small company culture is all precious and dear, and we tried to hold onto that culture as long as we could,” but it was “impossible after 50, 60 people” were in the team, he said.
To lessen the blow of change, Infinity Ward focused on increasing communication as employment increased. Mandatory Monday meetings quickly became the forum for everyone to check in and learn what others were working on. The meetings, he said, would give people “a pipeline into management"
...The next step is to hire an events person to organize spirit-building events, like barbecues, movie outings, and write a company newsletter. Collier hopes that more fun and more events will help the small-team culture prevail even in the larger structure. “As people know, building up a company very quickly is a very dangerous thing to do. You can be successful at a certain level, but then it quickly becomes hell in a handbasket.”
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