In another piece of GDC Europe news, Finnish developers Remedy Entertainment have been discussing their philosophy behind making games. In what was clearly an impassioned keynote address at the conference, director Matias Myllyrinne preached on what sets Remedy apart from an industry that he said is based on “me-too multiplayer” and uninspired naming. Ouch.
When discussing the ethos and history of Remedy Myllyrinne admitted that they don’t exactly rush out their games. He’s not joking. Whilst Max Payne 2 took a relatively short 19 months, the orignal took around four years and Alan Wake began development in 2005 and is scheduled for early next year, although I’m still a little suspicious on that. However as with most “when it’s done” developers Myllyrinne said that he felt that it significantly contributed to their ability to produce quality games rather than a huge bulk of games. This is pretty clear when comparing Max Payne and its sequel, and it seems that the pressure of the $8 million that was paid to Remedy and Apogee Software by Take-Two for the games production significantly effected their development process.
His comment on “me-too multiplayer” wasn’t the only thing he had to say on this partiuclar aspect of gaming, calling a lot of multiplayer a “rehash of Counter-Strike“. Moving on further into what can only really be termed an attack on main-stream developers he further critiqued the naming convention saying that generic titles featuring War, Race and Star had “no impact” on most gamers. This may be true on an intellectual level but the sales figures of Gears of War and God of War, for starters, beg to differ.
Moving on from what they don’t do, Myllyrinne discussed what are the key aspects for Remedy when selecting a game concept. Perhaps unsurprisingly their key to developing a new IP is a strong lead character. A little more surpisingly they say their lead character shouldn’t be a cipher. Given the plot of the Max Payne titles they evidently like to offset that lack of mystery into the game’s story. Interestingly he mentioned that Remedy had mentioned that games, and in particular balance, is all “about perception”. When testing Max Payne they’d found that their internal testers had felt that weaponry with more powerful sound effects and an upgraded model was more powerful even without any change to damage models.
Finally he introduced a new trailer which, oddly, featured Sam Lake introducing the trailer. That’s just a little too meta for me. This trailer seems not to have made its way to any of the normal outlets yet, but we’ll update you if it appears.