C&C Labs News Wire

— Thursday, October 2, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 9:46:38 PM ET

And Now It Gets Ugly: EA Devs Speak Out

As we reported, EA has canned Tiberium, the quasi-C&C first person shooter game in development. This has led to a lot of spirited discussion among former developers on the team and at Electronic Arts. Almost universally, they are united in heavily criticizing Electronic Arts for their managment of game development and of creative talent. In fact, the biggest debates seem to be about which managers to blame. Here are some samples from a thread at Gameustra:

The thing is, Tiberium, along with Medal of Honor and all EALA/EA games, have one core fundamental problem, and that is an unnecessary and bloated amount of management. They not only gobble up the project budget while they contribute nothing to the project but needless and uninformed change, they at times only can survive by doing so, and thus are forced to, less they appear "uninvolved."

Another poster seconds this discussion of managerial bloat:

I was actually worried that [Tiberium] was going to get cancelled as soon I got put on the project two years ago because of the slowness and difficulty of getting things approved and in game. Just getting the ball rolling in general was an enormous task. Coming from an indie studio where spending that kind of money and time was not anywhere close to being an option, it was very alarming.

Yet another comments on the role of the Real Time Strategy team (the C&C team) in the EALA megastudio:

The RTS group sells far more than a million per game and has a ton of talent without too many managers. In fact, the Medal of Honor team has some incredible talent, too. It's the painful stories we can't forget that cast a negative light on the whole studio. This one started years ago and is only ending now.

Finally a fourth poster sees the problems as not specific to EA:

This industry as a whole is broken. I think we can all agree on that. Hiring decisions are the killer for any company, and a bad decision here and there can sink your project, and if the company is small enough, the entire company.

I think this is a discussion that needs to be had, which is why I've reproduced some comments for you here and might follow up on it at some point. My belief, informed only by conversations with developers and some limited investigation into EALA is this: there are enough unqualified and incapable people in managerial positions, at all levels, to obscure the significant talent of most, but not all, of the creative team. It's not about particular individuals. It's about a culture-wide problem that results in design stagnation, buggy code, and rushed products.

And it has to change, and fast.

Last edited by Blbpaws on Friday, October 3, 2008 at 1:47:45 AM.