Saturday, 15 February 2014

Do you read the credits of a film or game?

Well, you should.

I'm one of those people that watch the credits at the end of a film. And not just to see what the next Marvel film will bring us.

I don't do it all the time but enough to see the same names popping up in the scrolling texts. Not the big names like director and star but the ones that get overlooked but whose contribution often makes or breaks a film. Director of Phototography is one I watch out for a lot because although the director will often dictate what goes in a frame of film, it's the DoP that will make sure how it looks. 

There has been many a time that a DoP has determined for me to see a film of not. The really good ones seldom choose to work on a film that ends up being a car crash.

I also watch the credits of a game once completed. Many games give you an achievement for not skipping it as well, little tip for you there. And some of them are long, very long. Assassins Creed: Black Flag, which I just completed on the Xbox One had a credit list that went on for 10 minutes! That's five minutes more for the credit list of the last Bond film to crawl past.

If you're in any doubt as to how big a business gaming is now, just watch the hundreds and sometimes thousands of people that are involved in making just one. It's rumoured that the last couple of COD games pushed past $200m to make each. Knowing that puts the recent decision of the publisher of the franchise to switch to a three year development cycle in some context. These games are a massive financial investment to undertake and it's better to spread that risk over a longer time.

It had nothing to do with taking longer to make the game better.

So now we come to the credits of Dust 514. CCP employ in total just over 500 people. Less than half that just worked on AC:BF alone for Ubisoft. Split equally over the four projects that they currently have live or in development that's just 125 each. Compared to the bigger guns in the industry CCP is a cottage industry. Admittedly a very swanky cottage over several floors and with a superb aquarium. Ask Hilmar about their aquarium. You'll never find a man so proud of his salt water pumps. I'm serious. They have offices in multiple country's but still, a cottage industry in comparison. 

So the fact that thay have done what many considered a fools dream and created a living breathing virtual world with consequence in Eve on PC then added to it an FPS on a different platform is truely remarkable. The fact that Eve: Valkyrie will also tie into New Eden eventually should come as no surprise to anyone. So how do they do this?

It's all about using what you have and placing it where's its needed most. Which is why I pay attention to the credits of Dust 514. People move on to new projects all the time or get reshuffled in companies all the time. We as consumers don't often know about this and more often than not don't care. But you really should in a long term project like Dust. 

Have a look at the credits as they are now. Then compare them to the ones that will be at the end of 1.8, 1.9 and then the next named expansion. You'll be seeing a lot of changes. Some you maybe know about, some you don't. Nearly all of it because of the reshuffling of resources that CCP have already done in order to give CCP Rouge, the executive producer of Dust 514, everything he needs to drive the game in the direction he wants. For instance, pretty much all development of the game is now done at CCP Shanghai, under one roof and one time zone, so ideas and the creative drive in the team doesn't have to wait for another in the team to wake up in Reykjavik. 

It does mean that several of the Dev's that have engaged so well with the community are no longer working on the game directly. True Grit for instance are working now on Eve once again I've been told. I'm sure that when it comes to the link itself however we couldn't have a more qualified team at the Eve end of the link working on it. So thank you for all your work guys, I do hope that you'll be on the Dust group for the bar crawl.

I know that CCP Rouge will be telling us before Fanfest how he wants the game to progress, what he's doing and more importantly already done to achieve it. I know that confidence in his being at the tiller is high within CCP. They're excited at the route he's plotted and the energy he's given the project. Of course it's maddening that we know this but don't know the details yet, however, I'll still be trying to nudge Saberwing to spill some breadcrumbs until Rouge posts his next Dev blog.

As the excitement for Fanfest builds so will the anticipation of finding out what our favourite FPS has in store for us. Because of the nature of change I'm sure that there will be some disappointment, features not being added as quick as we like, features maybe even getting dropped. But I'm sure the long term benefits will be obvious once explained to and experienced by the community. 

Executive Producers are one of the titles I keep an eye on for film credits. And games too


  1. Piercing Serenity here,

    Just finished reading two of the three posts you made in February. Nice work. I thought it was pretty well written and clear. I hope you continue to update this blog.