Saturday, March 18, 2006


Viva Rare!
Those who read the blog regularly know I'm a huge supporter of veteran development house Rare, even post-Microsoft acquisition.
Though their latest offering appears to be positioned as a kids title, you gotta love the premise behind Rare's recently announced title, Viva Piñata!
The game and TV show will focus on living "piñata animals" that inhabit Piñata Island. Safe from the beatdowns of birthday-party revelers, the piñatas will go on "wild adventures" and "maintain a living garden ecosystem that grows in real time." Piñatas will also be tasked with attracting different animal species and propagating their own.
Nice! Can't wait to check this out at E3.
Even the screens look as beautiful as one would expect from a Rare game.

Interesting Production Jobs
Sometimes I consider where it would be cool to work if I wasn’t at Treyarch. Mind you, I love working for Treyarch, but this is still one of those stupid things I think about during my commute in to work from time to time.
Of course there are the publishers I’d hate to work for and developers working on really cool product that might be fun to be involved with, but what about other possibilities?
Here are some wacky ones that for some reason either seem really challenging or really bizarre places to be a producer.
id SoftwareThis has got to be a crazy place to be a producer. Do they even have producers or do the partners just run the place? With a history of doing titles like Castle Wolfenstein, Doom, and Quake they certainly have the pedigree to make life a living hell for a producer who wants to do something one way, while the development team wants to do it another. You’ve got game gods like John Carmack who I assume does things his own way and I can’t imagine is open to suggestion if the producer wanted to go another. In the end this has got to be a real service oriented production job where the team has a gun to your head and you’re at their service rather than being an integral part of the process.
BlizzardAs the studio who practically invented “it’ll be done when it’s done” as a development mantra, this would be a really strange place to produce. Like id, the titles speak for themselves with emphasis on quality over ship date. It must be a fun and relaxing place to be a producer to be honest. You get to work on games of superior quality without dealing with quarter pressure and other lovely side effects of working closely with a publicly traded publisher in the traditional sense. Imagine working on a schedule that focuses mostly and dependencies and task tracking over an inevitable ship date that must be met at all costs. Ulcers would be a thing of the past! I think they have producers at Blizzard, but then again, I’ve never personally met one.
3D RealmsIt’s amazing that I still have a special place in my heart for 3D Realms given that Duke Nukem 3D was released so long ago. It was a great game for its time though, and I give them props for that. I don’t need to even go into the history of the current project, Duke Nukem Forever, and I’ll avoid the obvious comments on the production cycle here. Still, this is one of those games that could be really great when it comes out. I imagine there’s a high probability that 3D Realms will actually have the last laugh if the game comes out and rocks our world. Still, as a producer, I have to say, I live for games like this. Wouldn’t it be amazing to interview and get a job as a producer working on DNF just based on the sheer challenge of the whole thing? I assume George Broussard and Scott Miller are satisfied with how things are shaping up as they’ve staunchly defended their team and development cycle – and hey, through all the drama the project hasn’t been cancelled. Something must be going right on some level, but you have to imagine a talented producer would have had impact on this one somewhere along the way.
ValveValve must be an interesting place to work. Gabe Newell seems to have enough of a war chest to tell everyone he disagrees with to F off. Beyond that, he’s made some comments in the past that lead me to believe he’s not a fan or producers anyway. Imagining this isn’t a completely hostile work environment for a producer, I’ve always been particularly intrigued by the development of the original Half Life. While it’s gone on to be one of the greatest games ever, I’ve read reports that they actually scrapped the original game a significant way into development and then started over before arriving at the classic they eventually released. How must that have been for a producer?
NintendoSpecifically, Nintendo working on any Miyamoto game. For me, this guy is the true game god in our industry and it must be a thrill to work with him. I can imagine you’re career development would jump into light speed just being in meetings with Miyamoto-san. I went to a lecture at the Montreal Game Summit given by Hideki Konno who was the producer on Mario Kart 64 and Nintedogs and I couldn’t help but think this guy was one of the luckiest producers around.

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