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Tuesday, January 31

What to do with dark infectious clouds?



Bungie legend Marcus Lehto shares some insight into the creative process he goes through when developing games – I found this section on how a feature from Halo Reach was cut from the game. Issac Hannaford released some concept design work for a boat a few months ago which let the cat out of the bag that at one time Halo: Reach was to have a boat.

“However, this process isn’t without its flaws. Because some ideas require time to explore, we had people work on major features of the game for months at a time only to find that what they made required more exploration and that we simply would not have the proper resources or time to complete what they had started.

In Halo: Reach, one prototype involved water craft driving over giant ocean swells. We got working to a point where the kernel of fun could be experienced for real. It was an example of something that the engineering team, some designers and artists got very excited about and I could easily see how it would fit into the big picture of game’s campaign.

But when direct implementation of the idea was attempted, the results were less than desirable. We could have continued working on it and come up with something great, but the effort would have robbed so many other features in the game that I had to make the decision to cut it and thus we wasted about 6 total man months of time. That’s tragic! But we have to recognize that it’s part of a creative endeavor. We will always make mistakes, but it’s my job to see them early enough before they become poorly shipped features.”

The rest of Lehto’s article explores how he likes his creative leads to be flexible and that he gives them plenty of rope. He’s also not shy about removing the persons who behave like “dark infectious clouds” or hassling Justine Bieber. ;)

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