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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