2K Marin team moves to BioShock Infinite ?
I'm sure this doesn't mean the end for XCOM, probably set it back though. Might be the reason of the delay? I never saw what caused the delay so... Elizabeth? :P
Well I think 2K Australia is kind of a supply team. They helped 2K Boston (Irrational Games) with the console development of BioShock. I guess they did the same for XCOM and now that their job is done and they are helping Irrational Games to develop BioShock Infinite.
I hope it is that (and truely think it is), because if not, it means that either XCOM or BioShock Infinite is in trouble.
Well, if you want to think about it another way, Levine just said that he's making some changes to Infinite, such as adding reflections of the Occupy movement in to the game. Maybe, with the planned changes, whatever internal deadline that was set for Infinite has been threatened and since XCOM was either in need of retooling or just suddenly realized that it was competing with ME 3 they were switched off to try and give Infinite that same release time.
We'll probably never know the ins and outs of it. We'll just have to see what happens
I was pretty sure 2K Marin/Canberra were the main team, but perhaps there's been a slow changeover since, say, about the time Martin Slater resigned?
[EDIT]: Yeah, here we go. I wonder if the swap from 2K Canberra/Australia/Whatever was slow, or fast, and whether it entailed any transfers between the branches of 2K Marin? Or does it mean the game's been completely put on hold? Did Marin in Novato have any other, more private projects while they were assisting with "XCOM", or does this mean they're now the main studio focused on "XCOM"?
Last edited by Brian Damage; 11-27-2011 at 02:21 AM.
With luck, the fan base outcry of what happened to XCOM maybe did finally strike home.
Hey guys –
To answer the OP, this means that 2K Marin (over here in California) is taking over all production on XCOM – but the game is still in production and is not going anywhere. Same goes for BioShock Infinite – as you all know, the teams in Australia and Boston have a long history with each other and do awesome work together. Both games are in capable hands and moving forward!
So the game is now being developed in the US instead of in Australia is the basic answer to that? Does that mean there will be different people on XCOM now and not the original developers? Or are you shifting personnel from Australia to the US? It's quite a confusing move to figure out exactly what is going on.
I wonder how a fresh group of developers will approach the challenges this game presents.
New developers might be good for the game, or then again, they could hinder it as well.
Originally Posted by Aegeri
It takes only a cursory glance to know that that two leads who have been most involved with XCOM, Morgan Gray and Jordan Thomas, are both based in Novato at the 2K Marin office. They've been the ones doing all the interviews and videos. I think that trumps an article from a year and a half ago.
Sounds more like the general coding duties have shifted from Australia to Marin, that's all. The leads haven't changed. And that's what counts.
The team in the US have been working on XCOM for quite some time, so there isn't as drastic a change there as you'd imagine. There will be some new personnel, of course, but 2K Marin was already completely focused on XCOM.
Originally Posted by Aegeri
Well, for one thing, "most involved in interviews" isn't necessarily the same thing as having the most responsibilities - I've known a few teams where the project lead deferred to a coworker with a good comprehension of the big picture and better public speaking skills.
Originally Posted by japester
For another thing, there has been a change in leads in the past; a couple in fact, what with Martin Slater's departure a while back and the more recent loss of those two guys to their new iPad startup. It does occur to me to wonder whether this might have shaken things up again, and if the shift over hasn't been partially prompted by attrition - I'll have to go look up where the latter two were working out of.
As for where the current leads are, LinkedIn seems to think Pelling, at least, is based in Canberra, something a few older articles corroborate (so he was there at one point) though I wouldn't be surprised if he's shifted countries with his game. A lead having previously been resident at each studio would make sense, if only for purposes of direct communication of ideas in design meetings. I would be interested to know if Pelling's still on the project, or if he's helping with BI. The only stuff I've seen recently featuring a lead team member was that interview with Gray.
As for the accuracy of the article, Gamasutra (big news site by and for developers) at least had the game down as 2K Australia-based, too, so I think it's a fair assumption that that was previously the case, and the situation has shifted from 2K Aus being in charge with 2K Marin/Novato providing backup, to Marin now being in charge. Certainly sounds that way from what Liz just said.
As for only the leads counting, well, not necessarily - they're important, of course, but one thing I can tell you, it can be a bit of a setback for a "general coder" to suddenly find yourself having to, well, de-code someone else's code due to their leaving and their duties and module/department responsibilities being shifted. Especially if they're not good at commenting code (mumble grumble pet peeve grumble). I wouldn't be surprised if there's been a few cases of that, what with the redistribution of probably half the workload to a geographically different studio. And that's without going into the possible hiccups concerning consolidating two studios worth of source trees - I would hope they were using some sort of synchronised-bi-locational or centralised source control. It wouldn't be bad if it were just maintenance, but it looks like they're still playing with the feature set.
Here's a pretty good breakdown of how it was in August, at least. The game was designed and prototyped at 2K Aus, then development shifted to more of a collaborative effort between the two halves of Marin, with Pelling, at least, spending roughly half his time at each studio (note that the interview is done by Gamespot Australia, much like the one they did in 2010. Similarly, the one interview I can currently find on Kotaku was done by Luke Plunkett - basically Kotaku Australia - who specifically visited them in the Canberra studio, which Jonathan Pelling is directly stated to be the creative director of).
Last edited by Brian Damage; 12-01-2011 at 06:36 PM.
But considering that both Gray and Thomas have "director" in their titles, we can safely assume they are more than just chosen for their eloquence. They have been the recent public face of XCOM for a while now, so it's no shock to me to see 2K Marin take the lead.
Originally Posted by Brian Damage
I'll admit I don't understand how all the job titles break down, and they aren't used consistently from one article to another, but Thomas was brought in specifically to take over the story elements earlier this year. Some articles refer to him as "creative director". Gray is usually referred to as "director of development". How those relate to Pelling's position (or former position?) is beyond me. But as you pointed out, this isn't the first time there's been a change in the lineup.
I attended quite a few conventions this year, so my memory of specifics is fuzzy. But I definitely recall meeting Gray at an XCOM function at PAX Prime. And I think Thomas was there as well. Pelling may have been there, but I honestly don't recall. That placed XCOM firmly in my mind as a 2K Marin project. Maybe that was a mistake on my part that eventually became true, or perhaps it was intentional on 2K's part. Having Gray and Thomas at that function plays right into all the interviews Gray gave at E3 and PAX and Thomas' narration of the recent, very long developer video.
In any event, I don't see it as any big thing to read into. It's a shift of manpower. As some people are quick to point out, fans have been griping about XCOM from the very start. On the contrary, BioShock Infinite has received nothing but glowing praise. Its common business sense to put your resources behind the more popular title, particularly when the studio in question (2K Australia) has a proven track record of working with Irrational. If BSI gets delayed, it will cause a much bigger uproar than if XCOM is pushed back.
I can certainly see them diverting manpower from the unpopular project to the popular one, yes. I wonder if it's going to revert back to being a two-team project once Infinite's done and dusted? Especially considering that it would seem that "XCOM" has yet to hit crunch time.