Three years to build a new console game

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by wco81, Aug 23, 2015.

  1. wco81

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    Latest OS podcast included an interview with Ian Cummings, who use to be one of the tech leads on Madden.

    Asked how long it would take to build an alternative football game on consoles, he said it would take a couple of weeks to get a game running. They could use multi platform engines like Unreal or Unity and license the physics engine from the Backbreaker guys. Then there are all kinds of free (open source?) tools so that they wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel for things like depth of field.

    He seemed to be implying that for all the experience and legacy of the Madden codebase, which goes back decades, the technical barrier is low or virtually non-existent.

    But where it would be difficult or impossible for a new team would be trying to match or at least put out a competitive product in terms do the art assets, the scans of thousands of players, the detailed stadium models,etc.

    He thinks it would take a team of 20 about 3 years to get up around parity with Madden. In some ways a team of 20 might be way more productive than the hundreds on the Madden team.

    It would take an investment of say $60 million before licensing costs and investors probably wouldn't fund such a project unless they could generate sales on an "unfinished" product during those 3 years.

    But before even contemplating such a project, they'd need the licenses, which is still granted exclusively by the NFL to EA.
     
  2. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Yep. Content is what takes the most man hours. A basic game with interactions based on input can be created in no time; I knocked up a simple mobile infinite runner idea the other day. But adding art so it looks like something, and animations to make the thing move believably, and polish on the UI, and the audio...it just takes so much. In my case, 2 days to prototype and perfect gameplay elements would be at least two weeks adding content and polish. There are no shortcuts. Even though tools are better now, the amount of art needed has increased exponentially. It's unsurprising that indie games stick to pixel art these days, because it's way cheaper than the alternatives!

    By choosing your product carefully up front, you can limit costs. Lots of varied people is going to be expensive. Play with robots and they can be clones. A realistic medieval village is going to need a lot of variety in the assets. A cold, futuristic town could be made of clean streets and enough symmetry to keep it cheap but not too boring. A car-enthusiast like Forza or DriveClub is going to need crazily detailed cars, but a demolition derby game could use simpler models with just paint jobs to differentiate.

    Anyone wanting to make an American Football game would need to go gameplay only, forget the licensing, maybe go with simplified, cartoonified players and do something special in the play that'll draw players in. Same with soccer - going against FIFA would be foolish, but a different take on football, something even like Sensible Soccer, will be cheaper and find a niche.
     
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  3. wco81

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    Pro Evolution Soccer is well-regarded by many but it doesn't have all the licenses that FIFA has so I suspect it struggles in sales comparatively speaking.

    At least it doesn't have to scan and model as many famous footballers.
     
  4. fehu

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    It still has to create the players
     
  5. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Yep. Plays well (FIFA and PES have traded places as to the better football games over the years) but lacks the appeal of FIFA because of the lack of authentic licensing. Cost to make sans licensing may not be much different though. As fehu says, you still have to create the players and stadia. I don't think PES has as much content though - FIFA has a crazy number of teams these days. Which of course EA can do because they can sell after-sales content through play 'card packs'.
     
  6. Davros

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    Pes does have pes edit and there are people adding updated kits/players(including player faces)/teams ect
    GENERAL PESEDIT.COM 2014 PATCH FEATURES
    • Full Online Mode compatibility
    • Includes latest PES 2014 Patch 1.13 and Data Pack 5.00
    • Added Bundesliga
    • Added Liga Adelante, 2. Bundesliga and Sky Bet Championship
    • Added 11 stadiums: Anfield, Arena Nationala, Camp Nou, La Rosaleda, Mestalla, Rose Park Stadium (generic), Santiago Bernabeu, Signal Iduna Park, Stadion (generic), Stamford Bridge, Vicente Calderón
    • Updated 2014 winter transfers
    • Corrected kits for all Premier League teams and all unlicensed National Teams
    • Corrected boots, accesories, shirtname for 6000+ players
    • Corrected fake national team player faces (1000+ faces!)
    • Fixed team names and emblems for Premier League and Liga ZON Sagres teams
    • Added 80+ new boots
    • Corrected player names for unlicensed National Teams (Algeria, Bosnia, Japan, Netherlands, United States etc.)
    • Fixed names and emblems for all competitions
     
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  7. Prophecy2k

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    I really liked soccer kid back on the Amiga. Wish they would make a new one...

    Sorry if a little off topic.
     
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