Sunday, August 30, 2009

From USC to XBLA: The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom

"When a team believes in, and is passionate about a project, their enthusiasm manifests in the quality of the game"

This quote has lived with me since the beginning of the year, when I adopted it as a call to arms for the team I am working with at LucasArts.
It was written by Matt Korba, a student at USC, in his excellent postmortem about the making of The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom.

Now very cool to see the announcement on Gamasutra, that Winterbottom has been picked up to be published by 2K Games, with it slated for an XBLA release in early 2010. You can visit the new 'coming soon' website here.

I wish them all the best.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Times are Changing

Fantastic article in Wired this month called 'The Good Enuf Rvlutn'. It's about how Lo-Fi tech is taking over. From mp3s, to Hulu, to netbooks to Flip HD cameras, people are foregoing bleeding edge for cheap, convenient and super easy to use.

I believe more and more the games industry is going to have to shift towards this trend. There will always be the big budget titles for $60 based on known brands (IP like Star Wars, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto) but I think big budget NEW IP is increasingly an endangered species.

This is great news!

In the race to the top, games cost $30-40M, teams are huge and the stakes are incredibly high. What chance the creative vision, when so much at stake, so many interests vested, and sales needing to be huge?

But now we have a new race to the bottom. Low costs, smaller dev teams, cheaper games.

Gamers are increasingly more comfortable with trading bleeding edge graphical quality for convenience, fun and originality at a fair price. These days, I play Shadow Complex, Battlefield 1943 and Trails HD on my XBox. These are games that cost in the $2-4M range, maybe even less and cost me $15 to buy.

With lower cost comes lower risk, so game creators have the opportunity to retain control and drive their unique vision. The last big budget game I played was Mirrors Edge. Although I enjoyed it, recently I have been loving Shadow Complex just as much. Great polished game in a small package. I get the sense with this summers crop of XBLA games that the small teams had FUN making them. That they were made out of a passion for the craft.

This is a great time to be creating new IP. This next decade for games could be what the 70s were for Hollywood, the time when fresh new ideas and young talent were able to break the mold of an entrenched system and deliver new content for an audience hungry for it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Insanely Twisted

Michel Gagne is someone that I'm going to be watching with interest.

Check out this awesomely beautiful trailer of his upcoming game Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Check his blog for more info on the game.

This is a direction for games that inspires me. Another example of games that break away from photo-real and push visual stylization.

This is an exciting time for contemporary artists with cool unique art styles. Just see the success of The Behemoth, and how much the identity of their games, such as Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers, is defined by the awesome artwork of Dan Paladin.

As digital distribution continues to break down the barriers between creator and consumer, the opportunity to make bold choices around the visual development of our games will only grow.

Coming out of hiding

I've been laying low for a while, heads down working on some cool new stuff that I'm super jazzed about. Will soon be able to talk about it.
What I can share is that I have been closely involved with LucasArts latest push into digital distribution.
We kicked this off with the release of Monkey Island:SE, that was developed by many of the talented people on my current team. The game was a true labor of love for many people at the studio and its been great to see the reception that it has got.

On a related note, check out my recent conversation with on how we kicked off digital distribution at LucasArts.

Interview with

Watch this space for more info soon!