Saturday, May 22, 2010

Over the Lag / Limit

I'm extremely in to what Jack Swagger is doing on WWE programming as of late -- he's truly a refreshing heel that the fans consistently boo. I do wonder however, what his match will be like with Big Show on Sunday's "Over the Limit" PPV... Speaking of the PPV, have we seen the last of Batista? Only time will tell. I bet the match of the night will be CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio though -- watch!

This week was a rough one. I've never been off of this continent before, so I really didn't know how my trip to Japan last week would truly effect me. Well, I found out, and I'm just NOW feeling normal again (says the guy who is up at 1AM...). The game is really starting to come together. Working with an external developer is unlike any experience I've ever had, so it was important for me to go over to Japan to see the other side of things as I get acclimated to this new environment. I figured out the THQ side of things, but I really didn't get everything as a whole until I went over to Yuke's. Now I'm pretty happy with the knowledge I received while I was out there.

I know a lot of you want to know information about SvR '11, but please be patient. In this business, there are such things as timelines. We, the dev team, have no control over this. We're a public company, that has a ton of stakeholders, it's a much bigger thing than myself, so I'm never at liberty to spill the beans on things until I'm allowed. What I can do is take suggestions, and you guys have really given us a TON this year -- thanks for that.

We got our E3 schedule today, and I'm going to refrain from doing interviews this year. I'm happy with this, considering I came on late in the project, and the rest of the team would do the game more justice. I will be at E3 though, and I'm very serious about that community meetup. We just hired our new Community Manager, and I'm EXTREMELY excited about him coming on board. He's incredibly experienced, and shares the same passion for community engagement like I do. BTW -- I'm watching Smackdown (recorded) at the moment, and Kelly Kelly has really stepped it up a notch in the wrestling department (don't laugh at me).

Before I stop this random, late night post, I wanted to address something that I'm seeing pop up in the community a lot. Expectations. I can't say this enough, but apparently some out there are still not under the impression that we make a game every single year. I'm not saying this as an excuse, so please don't ASSUME that. What I'm saying is do the math. Your suggestions are ALL valid, we have a limited time from one game to the next to do things. Take a look at SvR '10 for instance. Before I got here I was AMAZED at the amount of "stuff" they were able to fit in the game. My experience with annual sports titles is pretty vast, and I can say that annual titles NEVER get as much in as SvR '10 did. But seriously, manage your expectations. Help us make a great game from year to year by giving us constructive suggestions, and understand what we can and can't do. We want to do EVERYTHING, but it will just take longer than a lot of you would expect -- no worries, we'll get there! I can't say enough how talented our design team is. We all share a huge passion for the wrestling genre, and strive to make nothing but ultimate wrestling game every single year.

Guys, I'm being open and honest to all of you. Don't take my words and scramble them please. The only reason why I say that is because I've seen it happen on boards.

I'm pretty excited for this weekend. I've got Red Dead Redemption to play (it's so dope guys), UEFA Champions League final, then a night out with my wife on Saturday night, then a LA Galaxy game on Sunday followed by the recording of "Over the Limit".

Enjoy your weekend everyone, and let me know what you think of "Over the Limit"!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Land of the Rising Sun

I was up until about 5 AM last night -- haven't done that in YEARS! Why is that? It's because I spent the last week in Tokyo, Japan. Yuke's, our external developer is headquartered there, and this was my first experience there. I didn't really know what to expect, as this was my first trip off the continent. I made sure to take my wife because of this, because you only get one first time...

We arrived in Japan, and after a 11 hour flight, we had to get on a bus from the airport to the hotel which took two hours. Needless to say, we were beat! The next morning was work time, as we boarded a subway train to Yokohama Station where Yuke's is located. I must say, if cars are not necessary in Tokyo -- the subway system is AMAZING!

Since we're getting pretty close to completion on SvR '11, we needed to review with the dev team (engineers), what was currently in the latest build, and give our detailed feedback on what exactly we'd like to see. The Yuke's office was cool, because it was my first experience at a Japanese studio, I didn't quite know what to expect. The office is rather small, but you definitely get a sense of what the studio has accomplished over the years (with SvR, UFC, Japanese wrestling games, etc.). We quickly got into it though, with the Yuke's 3 representatives from the game team watching us as we go through a build calling out our feedback (through a translator of course), while listening to their reasoning.

I'm not familiar with this process, because at EA, our dev team was right there with us. But, I quite enjoyed this part, as it's something different, and provides a challenge. The build is coming along nicely... We have alot of work to do, but we'll get there.

Tuesday was my birthday, and towards the end of the day, I heard a faint singing, and then the door busted open, and in came a herd of Japanese guys and girls, with a cake singing their rendition of Happy Birthday. I was overwhelmed, completely overwhelmed. They put a party hat and sash on me. They also gave me a hand drawing they did (picture above), and gave me a copy of Wrestle Kingdom 2 signed by the game's director. They hardly knew me, yet they treated me like they've known me for years -- this was a common feeling I got in Japan. I was humbled for sure.

By the time we left Japan, I didn't want to go to be honest. I loved my experience there, and can't wait to go back!

Next stop -- E3. Will you be there? How about that meetup!

Will Update Later Today

It's 4AM, and I'm still not quite caught up on the Japan / US timing.

I know a lot of people are anticipating an entry, so I'll update everyone on my trip to Japan last week tomorrow... (today?)