The Bard’s Tale Developer Diary #1
Matt Findley, President of inXile entertainment outlines in developing a video game company from the ground up.
Article by (Email)
August 4th 2004, 09:05AM
Designing a Team
For all of the planning we did, for both the company and the product, it only proves to be useful if you have the right team executing the plan. The creation of our team was the most critical step in our being successful. We were shaping the company to be a reflection of our own personalities, work ethic, and lifestyle. But for it to work, everyone joining the team had to really get what it was that we were trying to do here and understand why what we are doing and how we are doing it is a little different from how they might have done it before. The personality of the company is more than just the personality of the team leaders and the vision they set. It is the sum of all the diverse personalities of all of the team members. The whole truly is stronger than the sum of its parts and I am proud when I look at the eclectic group we have assembled for The Bard’s Tale. We hired a very diverse group of individuals, from very different backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common. They all want to make great games in an environment that they feel good about and on a team they can believe in.
We have always lived by the work hard, play hard motto. It seemed logical that if our goal was to create an environment of focus and hard work, we had to make the playing hard part as convenient as possible. This led to our choice of offices here in Newport, just steps to the beach. Being close to the beach is nice and it certainly has given me a chance to learn to surf, but the fact is everyone we have hired likes being down here for a different reason. Groups of employees gather together before work, during lunch and breaks, or after work to take place in very diverse activities. “Team Building” is not some event that happens once a year on some sort of contrived way. It is done every single day in activities that range from surfing, basketball, volleyball, shell collecting and sunset watching, to tequila tasting and bar hopping.
A lot of things can be said about the structure of the company and the different approach we take to developing our titles. We’re focusing our energy where we have expertise (creative game design, art) and we’re leveraging outside sources for their expertise (technology, music) to create an original, polished, compelling game as efficiently as possible. Some might find the things we do to be common sense, others might think we are crazy. Either way, I will always believe that if you create the right environment and build the right team you can create wildly creative product and still have fun doing it. I hope you all play The Bard’s Tale and let us know if we are right.
- Matt Findley