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Insomniac's Ted Price: Games studios must break the habit of brute-forcing through problems

Majormaxxx

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Its still not enough to reach higher level.

You can release small games, and make it polished fast, but that doesnt grant you the seat of your own league.

We saw Insomniac like studios. 1 mistake, and they become history.

Bethesda (Despite shitty bugs), Rockstar, and Naughty dogs are the top alpha. Compared to them, Insomniac is still a teenager with potential, with a backing of rich daddy, with a bigger resources.

I hope they fix Spiderman 1 issues. Game was fun, but too much shit repetitive, and scripted npcs.
Rockstar and naughty dog are not "top alpha" anymore with their anti-consumer behavior.
 

Topher

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I know, too spicy for GAF.
Hungry Food GIF by 8it

will smith bullshit GIF
 

BabyfaceRe

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Insomniac are one the of greatest studios in the industry and Ted Price is a fucking legend. With that said, some of the talk surrounding crunch feels pretty disingenuous.

Crunch shouldnt exist and doesn't need too as long as studios are willing to make sacrifices. There is no problem crunch can solve that a delay cannot, crunch is literally an extra commitment of time to hit deadlines, remove deadlines and you remove crunch.

For Ted to tell us that thier anti crunch policy resulted in a "better" final boss because it became more intimate is all well and good for him to say but obviously as we never experienced thier original vision, it's impossible for us to compare and are left taking his word for it.

Personally, I think fighting through the city would've been the perfect blockbuster ending to the game and a great way to have us travel through the amazing world they created one last time in an epic curated send off. Framing their anti crunch policy as actively and objectively improving thier game feels icky to me.

Don't crunch, delay. Better yet, don't announce your game too early and you won't ever need to do either.
 
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Herr Edgy

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Isn't that the case everywhere, where once you have a big name on your resume you're good to go and set?

Also isn't a contractor position less than ideal, since you can't actually explicitly say that you worked at Epic on your resume and have to instead put something like "worked at an American video game and software developer and publisher based in Cary, North Carolina". Since you likely work for a contracting company and not Epic themselves.
Kind of, but the point is that it's extremely hard in game dev to put a big name on your resume. Depending on the case, as long as you weren't a complete slacker during your studies, there is ample opportunity to get a good entry level job based on academic qualifications alone.
Entry level jobs are treated as entry level jobs. Not so in the games industry, where moving at neck-breaking speeds is the norm. That's where the difference lies.

You are right that being a contractor is less than ideal; I don't get paid vacation, sick leave, or benefits in general. I do get paid very well though, far better than most people in Germany.
As for credit, nah, I'm contracted to Epic directly, as an individual. Also, I might be wrong here, I don't think anyone would care about that. If you spent a good chunk of time working directly in a company, within the company's team, saying you worked there seems adequate. I'm as much a part of the team as anybody else, including taking on responsibility.
Now, I bet there are predatory contracts at some game companies that would deny you taking credit. Can't say how common that is. Not here though. I'm allowed to even put WIP work on Unreal Engine 5 on my website for resumé purposes, but I bet it also has to do with the fact that I'm doing tools, not games.
 
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IntentionalPun

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Isn't that the case everywhere, where once you have a big name on your resume you're good to go and set?

Also isn't a contractor position less than ideal, since you can't actually explicitly say that you worked at Epic on your resume and have to instead put something like "worked at an American video game and software developer and publisher based in Cary, North Carolina". Since you likely work for a contracting company and not Epic themselves.
As long as the project you work on is public knowledge, it's generally fine to list a company.

If you are working on something unannounced, which means you've signed an NDA, you generally just mention a company but no real details.

A lot of people skip listing a company, and instead put details.. and that's not smart... eventually you may be asked to reveal the company, and have your employment double checked.

For consultants where you actually are employed by a 3rd party firm; you follow the same rules, but generally can list some details of "secret projects" because the only employment verification that happens is with your consulting firm.
 
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Saucy Papi

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Interesting that Insomniac no longer requires a college degree for employment (for "most" of its positions as pointed out by @M1chl). As a software developer who was writing code long before I earned a degree in computer science, I'm really happy to hear that and hope it becomes a trend through the rest of IT related fields.
While I think it's great that they're allowing relevant work experience to trump formal education, you still need a LOT of mathematics if you're going to program in a game development environment which is why so many places require an undergrad in CS. A lot of other majors simply don't have the required coursework in mathematics.
 

polybius80

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He also revealed that the studio is eliminating higher education as a requirement for "almost all of [its] roles," adding: "This means if someone can't afford to obtain a university degree, experience is a valid substitute."

Somewhat this sounds like to make the work even more unobtainable, you probably have statistically bigger chance of finishing university than do a position in some AAA game company, which you want to have in different company.

But all in all it was pretty fine article, good read.

there are very capable people without a university degree but have plenty of very interesting demos or 3d models worth of a highly educated programmer or artist, this is specially true with indie developers
 
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mckmas8808

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The rest of what he says about diversity isnt really that bad. It's weird to see them focus so much on diversity and mental health when games have been stagnant for a good 15 years now. They need to focus on innovation and interactivity instead. Make games better.

Who's to say diversity and better mental health, won't lead to better games in the future.
 
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intbal

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Such a wimpy little man.
If he were a Chad Game Developer, he'd know that Brute Force can solve all problems.

 
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SlimySnake

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Who's to say diversity and better mental health, won't lead to better games in the future.
better mental health sure, but 99% of Hollywood is suffering from some kind of depression and they seem to not have any issues putting out movies every year. Besides, most comedians are self-loathing miserable human beings, but thats what makes them funny. A lot of actors pull from traumatic past experiences to give us incredible performances. You take that away and would they be as successful? they can probably fix crunch and these artists will still have mental health issues. most good artists do.

Diversity in video games and arts in general is bad. And I dont just mean diversity in race, sex and ethnicity, you could have a team of all white guys and i dont want diverse opinions of all them ruining one man's singular vision which is what a video game should be. JK Rowlings and George R.R Martin didnt need a diverse team of writers helping them write stories. Stanely Kubrick didnt take suggestions from nerds who had just graudated from film school. I dont think Da Vinci's works suffered from a lack of diversity either.

Art is a very personal form of expression. I dont care if Naughty Dog is all black or all white or half black and half white, it makes no difference because the only opinion that matters is Neil Druckmann's or whoever is directing their game. The rest of the team is their to help him achieve HIS vision. So why should it matter if they are gay or immigrant or redneck trailer trash? Their opinion will only serve to dilute Neil's vision. Besides, the man himself is a jewish immigrant from West Bank. He's the poster child for diversity.

Whats funny is that scenario actually happened once, only in reverse. Amy Henning, a woman, was forced out by two men Neil and Bruce, who did not like her direction and writing on Uncharted 4. Why the fuck should they have any say? It's HER game. What gives them the right to come in and start demanding changes? How is that not sexist and how did that diversity of opinions help the game's creator?
 

WitchHunter

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Can we define crunch?

So crunch essentially is, oh we scratched our arses for 5 years and now the deadline is near. So we crunch for months.
or
(so called iterative development bs) Every few months we redo the same shit coz head monkey thinks it's not right. So we never reach deadline so we crunch.
or
Every few months someone comes up with a wonderful idea that is so good that leaving it out could become a "grave error", but it sets the project on its head meaning more and more work, so we crunch.
 

mckmas8808

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Whats funny is that scenario actually happened once, only in reverse. Amy Henning, a woman, was forced out by two men Neil and Bruce, who did not like her direction and writing on Uncharted 4. Why the fuck should they have any say? It's HER game. What gives them the right to come in and start demanding changes? How is that not sexist and how did that diversity of opinions help the game's creator?

Because she didn't own Naughty Dog. And there weren't any reasons to believe she lose her job due to being a woman. The diversity conversation is a really nuanced one and doesn't just come down to if you have a vagina or not. Or if you skin is black\brown.
 

mckmas8808

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That has nothing to do with what I just said.

You asked how come getting rid of Amy wasn't viewed as sexist. And you wondered why they were able to have her removed. So that is part of the answer. Their positions within the company states that they could have removed her. Plus diversity comes in more ways than purely gender and race. But that's a bigger issue that most of us seem to struggle with and it's frustrating.
 

SlimySnake

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You asked how come getting rid of Amy wasn't viewed as sexist. And you wondered why they were able to have her removed. So that is part of the answer. Their positions within the company states that they could have removed her. Plus diversity comes in more ways than purely gender and race. But that's a bigger issue that most of us seem to struggle with and it's frustrating.
No i pointed out that having diverse opinions hurt a female creator in that scenario. So diversity of opinions, whether its male or female or divided by race, is not a good thing. The creator's vision is compromised when there are too many opinions. Diverse or otherwise.

And by your logic, having diversity at Naughty Dog or any other company would mean nothing because the company has a right to terminate any employee for any reason. So then what is Ted Price preaching?

they need to back the director. Not the interns and noobs who join a company and expect their opinions to be taken into account immediately. For example, that guy who tried to overrule the ratchet creators by slamming a poster frame on the desk. No, fuck him. He doesnt get a say. It's not his game. Fuck his diverse opinion. the guy who is directing had earned the right to become a director by working for decades. you dont get to overrule him. Ted Price needs to stand behind his creators first and foremost.
 
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QuickShot27

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Puzzles, dungeons are important in Zelda games, having played Batman, assassins creed etc. I understand the “brute force” comment, games like Uncharted take a certain amount of skill, at this moment Yakuza needs MORE “Brute force” and values “Brute force” while maintaining its credibility.
 

fermcr

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Got to admire Insomniac. Good developer that launches (almost) always solid games... and they are fast developers. As a PC gamer it's a pity Sony purchased them.

But... unfortunately, they lack variety. Looking at their most recent games...

2023-Spiderman 2
2021-Ratchet
2020-Spider-Man: Miles Morales
2018-Spiderman
2016-Ratchet
2014-Sunset Overdrive
2013-Ratchet
...
 

mckmas8808

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No i pointed out that having diverse opinions hurt a female creator in that scenario. So diversity of opinions, whether its male or female or divided by race, is not a good thing. The creator's vision is compromised when there are too many opinions. Diverse or otherwise.

And by your logic, having diversity at Naughty Dog or any other company would mean nothing because the company has a right to terminate any employee for any reason. So then what is Ted Price preaching?

they need to back the director. Not the interns and noobs who join a company and expect their opinions to be taken into account immediately. For example, that guy who tried to overrule the ratchet creators by slamming a poster frame on the desk. No, fuck him. He doesnt get a say. It's not his game. Fuck his diverse opinion. the guy who is directing had earned the right to become a director by working for decades. you dont get to overrule him. Ted Price needs to stand behind his creators first and foremost.

I think you are taking away the wrong lessons from the word diversity in Ted's piece. Just because someone of diverse opinion says something doesn't mean it "NEEDS" to happen lol. It just helps with having multiple people from different backgrounds tossing around ideas, so it's not a bunch of group thought going on.

Plus it helps with potentially missing a blind spot while creating something great. You best believe Rockstar didn't have a bunch of white dudes creating Los Santos for GTA: San Andreas without getting the thoughts and opinions of South Central L.A. without talking to black and brown people from that area. That's one of the key points of diversity.