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.
Tagged With development hell
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?
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.
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.