In case of emergency, deploy Miyamoto quote
You’re forgiven if you completely missed the most important moment of this year’s E3. It came at the end of Ubisoft’s press conference, when company CEO Yves Guillemot issued a thinly veiled hands-off message to bosses at Vivendi, who were rumoured to be plotting a hostile takeover of the French publisher. “The real magic,” Guillemot said, “happens when teams are free to create. When you are free, there is no failure – there is only forward.” Flanked by the developers who had taken the stage during the preceding conference, Guillemot told Vivendi that he did not want its money, and neither did his teams. That they had his back, and he theirs. Even that kind of crazy-looking bearded guy who made Red Steel.
Yet Guillemot wasn’t just telling a 22 billion company to stick it. This was also an insightful, if charmingly awkward, summary of the difficulties facing every game developer on the planet. There is a fundamental tension at the heart of every creative business: you want to make the best thing you can, sure, but you also have to keep the lights on.
Delays are nothing new in the game business. The fact that a Shigeru Miyamoto musing pushing 20 years old is still rolled out is proof enough of that. But as budgets soar, so do the implications of failing to deliver games on schedule. Yet slippage has become a defining factor of this console generation. Clearly the cost of putting out a good game late is nothing next to the damage a bad game can do, whenever it arrives.
Activision, however, has devised a third way. Faced with the uncomfortable, but unavoidable, reality that Destiny 2 wasn’t going to ship this year as planned, it made the thoroughly un-Activision decision to push it into 2017. Inevitably, there was a catch. OK, Bungie, you can have the additional time you need to make Destiny 2. But you’re going to have to make something else for 2016 as well. On p62, we visit the studio to find out how it’s managed to pull off something that Shigeru Miyamoto, all those years ago, would surely have thought impossible.
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