Big­point

STU­DIO IN­SIGHT

EDGE - - REGION SPECIFIC -

2010

80 www.big­point.net

Cur­rent projects

Berlin stu­dio leads the charge with big-bud­get, hard­core browser games

voice of rea­son, but it’s re­ally an hon­our to work with my team, be­cause some of them are leg­ends. My lead de­signer was one of the lead­ing de­sign­ers on Mir­ror’s Edge, for ex­am­ple. There are a lot of great peo­ple there, and I can trust them – I’m just there to help.

It was a big change in cul­ture for the projects that al­ready ex­isted, and that was much more dif­fi­cult, but be­ing able to ben­e­fit from this new ap­proach on DarkOr­bit and Drak­en­sang was amaz­ing. DarkOr­bit is seven-and-ahalf years old, right? And Drak­en­sang is three-and-a-half years old. So there were many opin­ions about what the fo­cus of the games was, and the vi­sion for them. And on both projects, we had to do this kind of vi­sion find­ing – which is maybe a bit strange to do when the project’s al­ready live and su­per-suc­cess­ful. But if you don’t have a clear vi­sion for the game, it’s go­ing to be a very un­fo­cused ex­pe­ri­ence.

Jonathan Lind­say Which per­haps ex­plains why you’ve held off from a con­certed mo­bile push. JL

Yeah, we had to get our house in or­der, ba­si­cally. And it’s re­ally hard to get when you have a stu­dio with hun­dreds of peo­ple in it and your core com­pe­tency is browser games and games like Drak­en­sang – it makes sense to fo­cus on that if you’re not ready to scale and go get lots of mo­bile guys. And we weren’t, be­cause we were go­ing through a re­struc­ture. That’s why we bought Lit­tle Worlds Stu­dio, be­cause it’s a per­fect way to get that knowl­edge.

The stereo­typ­i­cal view of browser game stu­dios is that they re­lease games of­ten, but Big­point seems more fo­cused. DO

There are two dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to this in­dus­try. Ei­ther you’re [fir­ing games off] scat­ter­shot, and one game might be the hit, or you’re more of a sniper. What we, and also other com­pa­nies who are striv­ing to­wards be­ing snipers, do is it­er­ate a lot – in­ter­nal pro­to­typ­ing through in­cu­ba­tors. I used to work for EA, and we had this in­cu­ba­tor: let’s try it out fast, let’s fail fast, and see what will work. It’s scat­ter­shot, but only in­ter­nally.

And our games have much big­ger bud­gets too. DarkOr­bit, for in­stance, is sev­eral mil­lions. It’s a team of 35 peo­ple for the past seven years – you can do the maths and work out how ex­pen­sive that is. It’s a lot and [those games are] very suc­cess­ful be­cause of that, be­cause they’re much higher qual­ity than the games that are just made rapidly.

JL

The GameOfThrones team mem­bers sit un­der their house ban­ners, while a hall dec­o­rated with swords pro­vides a way to set­tle de­sign dis­putes

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