This week Jean-Francois Dugas and Mary DeMarle of Eidos Montreal came to talk about their experiences working on Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Prompt 1: In what ways did the speakers reinforce your existing understanding of game development in today’s environment?
The most obvious was the production cycle. Every game begins with a concept, a great amount of research and iteration, before finally becoming a basic vertical slice, and production moves into full swing. Likewise the structure of the team–programmers, designers, artists, production staff, public relations, audio designers, and so on–was rather familiar, as was the ways in which they constantly bounce ideas off one another, using each other’s work to further their own creative endeavors. The example being Mar DeMarle’s narrative being the muse of the lead artist, whose work in turn stimulated DeMarle’s narrative pursuits.
Prompt 2: In what ways did the speakers challenge your assumptions about game development in today’s environment? Be specific.
One of the biggest challenges that stuck out was that the Deus Ex team, though backed by Eidos and the juggernaut Square-Enix, still had to deal with lacking budgeting, staffing, and time, resulting in the infamous boss fights, as well as Mary DeMarle not having enough time to fully implement all the conversation gameplay she desired. Often, it seems that large publishers and developers have access to all the money and resources they could possibly need, when this is in fact simply not true.
Additionally, while it is known that great ideas do not often occur in a void from one lone individual, this mindset often tends to be the popular perception. It was most interesting to hear of the concepting period of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, wherein most of the design team spent a great deal of time working together, concepting, researching, and analyzing what it truly means for a game to be a part of the Deus Ex series, before moving into full production of the game.
Prompt 3: What, if anything, did you draw from the presentation that applies to your current capstone work?
The biggest draw was that being able to iterate, and iterate successfully, is absolutely critical. Likewise, testing, as well as being sure you have the resources necessary to complete that which you set out to design, is necessary to ensure the experience proceeds as intended, and that players are able to successfully play and enjoy the game. Additionally research is very important, especially in an existing series. Developers must fully understand what it is they are trying to create, just as they must understand their players.