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The development-side benefits of creating an E3 demo

Days Gone creative director John Garvin notes that creating the E3 demo was more than just marketing; it helped the team determine how well certain systems worked in the game.
"You know, it's really not even about the marketing. It's about the development process for the game itself."

- Days Gone creative director John Garvin on how creating the E3 demo helped the team workshop encounters.

Sony Bend Studio’s Days Gone was one of the many games showcased during Sony’s E3 press conference last week, but notably was on of the few titles at the show to receive more than a just a trailer.

Now, speaking to Kotaku, Days Gone creative director John Garvin notes that creating the demo shown at the show was more than just marketing; it actually helped the team determine how well certain systems worked in the game.

The development benefits of creating a polished demo aren’t something exclusive to major titles showcased at E3, however. In the interview, Garvin explains how even the process of creating a demo can help a team zero in on what works and what doesn’t before it’s too late in the development process for major changes.

“One of our goals was to not do stuff specifically for the demo—we wanted to make it real," said Garvin. "So everything we were doing was going to be part of the actual game. We were polishing stuff that hadn’t been polished, and that’s what took most of the time.”

In the case of Days Gone, creating a demo in the span of three months offered the development team a way to spend time polishing certain features and let them determine which elements worked, should be left behind, or needed more attention in development.

“You don’t want to put too much polish into an ambush event if it turns out to not be fun,” he explains. “So we go through this whole set of focus testing both internally and externally and then say, ‘OK, this is working really well; this is the kind of thing we need to do more of.’ And once we get to that stage, then we polish it. Because otherwise you’re tossing work that’s expensive. So we don’t wanna do that.”

The rest of that conversation, as well as the full Kotaku Splitscreen episode, can be found over on Kotaku.

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