Tagged With development hell

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On March 25, 2015, the weather in Bellevue, Washington was just warming up enough to play hacky sack, a favourite activity of the employees at the game development studio Her Interactive.

That morning, they had something more pressing to think about, though: they couldn’t log into their computers.

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In the summer of 2013, Square Enix sent a small team of representatives to Latin America for an ambitious business trip. They met with dozens of independent development studios across the region, visiting five countries over the span of a few days. They were looking for developers to partner with Square Enix to create games for the Latin American market.

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In the final year of development on Red Dead Redemption 2, the upcoming Western game, the top directors decided to add black bars to the top and bottom of every non-interactive cutscene in hopes of making those scenes feel more cinematic, like an old-school cowboy film. Everyone agreed it was the right creative move, but there was a catch: It would add weeks of work to many people’s schedules.

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In mid-2016, a few months before the release of their first game, Mafia 3, the developers at Hangar 13 in Novato, California gathered for an all-hands meeting. There, according to two people in attendance, Christoph Hartmann, president of the game's publisher, 2K, told employees that their bonuses would be tied to the game's aggregate review score on Metacritic.

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In 2012, as work on Mass Effect 3 came to a close, a small group of top BioWare employees huddled to talk about the next entry in their epic sci-fi franchise. Their goal, they decided, was to make a game about exploration -- one that would dig into the untapped potential of the first three games. Instead of visiting just a few planets, they said, what if you could explore hundreds?

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It seemed like a surefire hit: a Star Wars take on Uncharted, published by Electronic Arts and developed by the longrunning studio Visceral Games. But nothing is sure in the video game industry, and on October 17, 2017, when employees of Visceral were told that the company would be closing, some who had worked for the studio found themselves unsurprised. In many people's eyes, doom was inevitable.

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After a year of financial hardship, Crytek is closing its studios in Budapest, Bulgaria, South Korea, China, and Turkey, the developer said today. Crytek says they plan to "refocus on its core strengths of developing innovative games and game-development technology."

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One day in March of last year, video game writer Andrew Dice wrote out a check for all of his company's money. He stuck it in the doorframe at his business partner's apartment in Portland, Oregon, then went back to his own place. (They live in the same complex.) He closed all the windows. Then, as he tells it, he laid down on his bed and picked up a knife, preparing to plunge it into his chest.