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"Wisdom is lost" when teams disband after projects, laments Tim Schafer
Posted: 23.10.2012 15:12 by Simon Priest Comments: 3
The practice of downsizing teams within the games industry after a project has completed is disastrous, argues Tim Schafer. It's one of the "most frustrating things" going today.

A team comes together and "maybe they struggle and make mistakes" but they've "learned a lot" by the end, and then "they are disbanded." All the experience is just "scattered to the winds".

While it may make economic sense to reduce a team's size once production is completed, it's not the way a creative development force should be run as so much is lost.

"One of the most frustrating things about the games industry is that teams of people come together to make a game, and maybe they struggle and make mistakes along the way, but by the end of the game they’ve learned a lot — and this is usually when they are disbanded,” said Tim Schafer, president of Double Fine Productions.

“Instead of being allowed to apply all those lessons to a better, more efficiently produced second game, they are scattered to the winds and all that wisdom is lost,” he continued. Long-term studios are likely losing more money than what is gained through these downsizing cycles because game quality suffers, which means game sales suffer.

"After Psychonauts, we could have laid off half our team so that we’d have more money and time to sign Brütal Legend,” he said. “But doing so would have meant breaking up a team that had just learned how to work well together. And what message would that have sent to our employees? It would say that we’re not loyal to them, and that we don’t care.”

“Which would make them wonder,” Schafer said, “’Why should we be loyal to this company?’ If you’re not loyal to your team you can get by for a while, but eventually you will need to rely on their loyalty to you and it just won’t be there.”

Double Fine right now is working on their hugely pledged Kickstarter project 'Double Fine Adventure', which recently lost its title of 'highest pledge' to Obsidian's Project Eternity with $3,986,929.
Source: Wired

Comments

By noobst3R (SI Core) on Oct 23, 2012
noobst3R
If you have the money, I agree.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Oct 23, 2012
herodotus
"Cry Me A River" is a song that immediatly springs to mind. It happens in every industry - adapt or die.
By SiyaenSokol (SI Elite) on Oct 24, 2012
SiyaenSokol
Well said herodotus.