As part of a panel at the DICE executive summit in Las Vegas, Insomniac co-founder Ted Price discussed quality of life and his own personal breakthroughs in setting an example in easing back on his overwork.
Talking to fellow panelists Mike Capps of Epic and Frank Pearce of Blizzard, Price explained how he learned important lessons when completing Spyro 2
and feeling negative about the future of his Southern California developer. He felt his overwork was affecting his own life and colleagues, and noted: "I stopped working weekends... if you say that in this industry, you're kind of a loser."
But he realized that as a result of the change he himself made, "people in the office seemed to be a lot calmer." They were feeling less pressure, partly because their boss was setting a good example.
Price noted: "It's inevitable in a creative industry... we have so much passion that people are going to work really hard." But the challenge is not to make enough peer or elder pressure that people work 365 days a year, and to set a good example yourself - something that the CEO of the Ratchet & Clank
creators feels he is now doing.
Later, asked about how you run game development teams when there may be a few people in there who are "poisoning the well," Price suggested: "Sometimes you have to just be brutally honest with yourself."
If there's a couple of people on the team that aren't working, it's up to the leaders to take action. When they don't, "we do everybody a dis-service." And if people aren't happy, and perhaps have an alternative agenda, it might be that "you're not giving them something that keeps them motivated."
As for Insomniac's ethos in recent years, Price explained that "we're constantly re-evaluating who we are," but the thing that's stuck with him over time is simply "collaboration." Over almost 20 years, the Spyro
creator has also emphasized transparency: things go so much better if "people aren't freaking out over things that really may not be a problem."