So, time has come again, and today was my last day at Relic Entertainment. As I did when I left EA, I want to write a bit about my experience with the Relicans and why I left (but not where I'm going, it's not a big secret but I always keep that from the public of this blog to avoid spam in the comments).
Relic and EA(C) are almost polar opposites. The latter latter being the world biggest videogame studio, shipping iterations every year or less (Fifa...), relies on a very refined (even if still suprisingly flexible) production methodology, while Relic still feels like an Indie studio even after the acquisition by THQ. Relic works by distilling talent into games, it's really about people over processes.
|One of the kitchens, with free pop. Donuts on Friday, I'm too fat...|
By the way, I don't mean that the folks at EA are not bright, quite the opposite, it takes a lot of genius to make NHL, Fifa, Fight Night and all the other franchises there at the studio, but it's a rather different situation, it's a matter of priorities I guess. Working at Relic feels less constrained, sometimes scaringly so. It's a more hands on approach where great hackers can make a bigger difference, and they do.
I should have started my job at Relic on a title which is still unannounced today, but as it often happens things change from the interview to your first day in the office and I was immediately reassigned to Space Marines, and I stayed there until it shipped. And with my help it become the third worst game (in terms of metacritic) of Relic's history (actually, the worst game if we look at the PS3 metacritic only)...
I wouldn't know, really. I'm a gamer and a technician. I enjoy games and do everything that is required to make them visually beautiful, and that's all. I've seen too many people who are not experienced in my own craft saying so much... inaccurate things (and I was among them ten-ish years ago) about it that I don't really love talking about fields which are not my own.
biggest franchises ever (and I'm guessing here but I'd bet... spending less money to make it, and much less to market it for sure). Moreover, it intended to be a Hollywood production made by people who were really well known for their indie-art titles.
There were mistakes, sure. There was plenty of overtime.... Could it really have ended much differently? With the same people, the same culture, the same resources and amount of support I would say not.
|An area were part of the SM team was that has not been reassigned yet|
You can see Relic behind Space Marine... I'm not a fan of the genre but I can tell that the core gameplay is incredibly well done (and remember, company's first shooter!). I had fun with the multiplayer, and I don't play multiplayer! And the rendering is much more accomplished than it seems, and its consistency really surprised me. The amount of features these geniuses managed to cram in the development cycle of something that basically started from scratch is amazing. What it lacks its the production, is the depth and breadth.
|The table-tennis room. No day went by without a 2vs2 match|
Anyhow it doesn't really matter, and surely what I write on the argument does not matter. I'm sure that Relic will make new and really great games, the ones I saw in development are... exciting, really.
|New, great games will come.|
Unfortunately, they are not the kind of projects that I'm personally, for my career, needing, and there was nothing I or them could do about that obviously. We just become not matched for each other, and it sucks, but it happens. Goodbye and best luck to all Relicans and be proud of Space Marine!