Tuesday, January 23, 2007

There's no 'I' in 'team'

But there are three in "Christ, we'll never make a game with that much content in ten months!" Something that I've realised recently (thanks to an interesting thread on The Chaos Engine)...

There's a mind-set in the games industry that handheld development should use very small teams (typically people think that 5 - 10 people is a good number). I think that's a rather strange assumption.

Team sizes should be relative to the project's scope and size - developing Hexic for the Xbox 360 clearly won't take the same number of man-hours as Gears of War (or at least, you would hope it won't) - platform has very little to do with it.

Current hand-helds can easily hold 'big' titles (hell, even the original Gameboy had a excellent Zelda and Pokemon games), but people need to realise that these can't be developed with the same team and time-scale as something like Lumines. Hand-held titles currently retail (in the UK at least) for almost the same amount as last-gen titles, so it's reasonable that customers would expect a similar amount of entertainment. And that's something that I wouldn't just measure in game length, but also the polish and attention to detail that helps make for a satisfying experience.

I'm not saying that all 'big' games are good, or that 'small' games are bad, just that if you're going to try and develop something with the content and polish of New Super Mario Bros, don't go at it with your Bust-a-Move schedule in hand.

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