“You really can’t look past those guys [Todd and R.A.],” Sutherland added. But how do two visionaries like Salvatore and McFarlane work together on a team of artists and writers? Writing a novel – and in some ways creating a comic book – is an independent project, and I wondered how those two have been adjusting to working at a game studio.
“We’re definitely a family,” Cuthbertson stated. “It’s not always pats on the backs all the time, but there’s no denying that we all respect and appreciate each other. Both of those two are involved in the studio community and do as much as they can.”
I strain my hearing trying to pick up everything the four leaders are saying over the crowd behind us.
Cuthbertson went on to add the level at which the studio wants to encourage friendship between the various developers. Along with the typical geeky activities like D&D and Warhammer matches, Cuthbertson mentioned sketch nights, Frisbee, and indoor croquet matches. Count me in next time!
It’s apparent, however, that Brett wanted to insure that people didn’t look past that “have fun to make fun” sort of mentality at 38 Studios. As a big proponent of “healthy living” sort of employee treatment, Brett really wanted to get the word out that 38 Studios was not interested in burning out their employees by forcing them into long work hours and harsh conditions. “We have spectacular talent, and spectacular talent attracts more of the same,” Close said. “The only way you’re going to be able to keep those employees is to engage them, feed their passion, but keep the whole thing structured. The minute you start driving your team into the ground is the minute you start losing energy on your product, energy that you need to produce a terrific video game.”
Keeping employees happy is no simple task, yet 38 Studios seems to be doing a fair job thus far. Forty industry professionals have joined the 38 Studios team. However, it wasn’t easy to get to this point.
R.A. Salvatore chats with Garrett Fuller, an interview that you will see up on our site soon!
However, many would argue that there are some definite pitfalls in bringing such celebrity-type personalities into the fold. While many companies can focus exclusively on their product, the 38 Studios PR and management team has to control a massive potential, one that everyone wants to see turned loose. “It’s like having an amazing team of horses, yet you can’t set them loose just yet,” Kirchoff said. “We don’t want to waste the energy of those horses when it could be used at a better time. At the same time, we need to manage the consumers and keep their interest through this period. They’re desperately waiting for something to be delivered, and there’s already a massive amount of hype about the game. We’re trying to keep a tension out there, but not so much that the ropes break and everything gets chaotic.”
But Brett had the best analogy of the day, and it could’ve rivaled Salvatore’s prose in terms of appropriate comparisons. “Let’s use this comparison instead,” Close said. “We’ve got the throttle punched and the tachometer is reading 8000 RPM. All we’ve got to do is drop the clutch.”
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