What do you think of Uncharted 4, especially compared to previous installments?
What major themes did you observe?
What were the major challenges to making Uncharted 4?
What, of those challenges, were self-caused, and what were unavoidable?
Leadership style and project vision will come up repeatedly in these case studies. At Naughty Dog they have co-CEOs and game co-directors.
What benefits and challenges do you see to co-directors?
Can co-directors be done by anyone, or are there only a few kinds of people this will work for?
… but Straley & Druckmann stuck with their vision, even as early testers warned them that reviews might be mediocre. Reviews were not mediocre. In Jun 2013 fans and critics wouldn’t stop raving about it.
At first blush this sounds great, two justified visionaries. But upon further reflection, everyone was telling them the game wasn’t very good, and they were risking the company’s reputation by having mediocre reviews. They ignored all this and continued on.
How do you explain Straley & Druckmann being right and everyone else wrong?
What lesson do you take from this?
What lesson shouldn’t you take from this?
Uncharted 4 changed leadership midpoint which led to a total re-envisioning of the project. “Aww, I can’t believe we’re cutting this thing that me or someone else had spent literally months working out. It was definitely a hard transition, but every time you do it, if you’re honest and you look back at it, then you know what, that was the right decision. This is a better game because of it. It’s more focused, more clear.”
What are the benefits and pitfalls of changing project leadership?
The game improved due to vision change. But changing leaders doesn’t have to be the only way that happens. What about your game could benefit from a re-envisioning of the project?
Crunch will come up multiple times as well. Evan Wells, co-president, says “We never change our fourty-hour expectation or core hours… people put in a lot more hours, but it’s based on their own [initiative]”
Why would he say this if Naughty Dog is so well known as a crunch factory?
At this point, what is your opinion of Crunch?
AAA take testing very seriously. “They could gauge testers’ physical reactions through a camera hooked up to the testing room, and see exactly what each tester was playing at any given time.” AAA don’t leave anything to chance and use testers to ensure the game is hitting the marks. What can you do to be more serious about testing and hitting your emotional marks?
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