Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Relationship with Yuke's

I hope your weekend was well. I spent the weekend with visiting friends. We hung out in Venice, and then went to Anaheim to see the Angels play the White Sox. PLUS my Cowboys won, so I'm having a great Monday.

I wanted to give you guys a little information about Yuke's, our external developer. It's an interesting dynamic, and one that I wasn't used to at EA SPORTS.

As a development team, you have your Producers / Designers and Engineers. Producers / Designers come up with the vision for the game, and the Engineers physically build the game. (they understand code).

Since our developer, Yuke's, is external (and Japanese nonetheless), we have a MUCH different process. We, the production team are here at THQ. We come up with the vision for the game. We paint the picture for our engineers. So for the case of this blog, let's use WWE Universe, specifically cashing in the MITB briefcase in Universe mode as an example.

THQ: I would like to let the user in WWE Universe cash in the MITB briefcase if they won the MITB match at WrestleMania.


Yuke's: (Japanese)


Yuke's (Translated): Ok, that seems doable. Submit your design.

THQ: (Super detailed design from the colors and buttons in the menu you see, to the cutscene direction) We would like to have a cutscene for when the user chooses to cash in their MITB briefcase. Here is the design document.

TRANSLATION (Full design document is translated)

Yuke's: (Japanese)


Yuke's (Translated): Ok, this feature will take 14 days (14 engineering days if ONE engineer were working on this) to make because of new animations and art

That's a hint into our process, guys. It's designing through translation. It's a very rewarding experience, but it's also requires an insane attention to detail.

Now, I'm going to leave you with this thought:

Think about this process for EVERYTHING you see in the game. Consider how much time we have to make a game every year, and now how does this sound?

On most dev teams, we can't get to everything -- but in this case, we definitely can't get to everything.

Working with Yuke's is absolutely fantastic -- they are such hard workers. And I'm grateful to have this experience for my career. I just wanted you to get a little insight.

Not excuses, just facts.



  2. please check it out the link. its a list of what ppl want most in 2012. tweet djdawkins36 and ill stop telling you. i just want to know you got it

  3. So, if I'm understanding this blog entry correctly, you're telling us that John Cena is Japanese?

  4. Took one glance at that list.

    Saw that one of the things they wanted most was for male superstars to be able to hurt Divas.

    Stopped reading list, and lost any and all respect for it. Meh.

    Also, these first 3 comments so far are the worst 3 comments on Marcus's blog i've ever read, or in fact, on any blog, ever. Can you at least talk about the topic at hand? Or even attempt to fathom what he's telling you, instead of posting worthless crap? Just asking.

    Now, on the topic itself. Yeah, Marcus, this is really the kind of thing that I think you MUST explain more and much more in-depth as well.

    There seems to be an alarming number of fans of this series who actually ridiculously believe that THQ needs only to snap their fingers to get everything magically done or wave a wand and instantly, everything they ever want should be able to fly into the code like magic, effortlessly.

    In fact, i'd say about 98% of the ENTIRE FANBASE seems to believe this. And when presented with anything else like actual facts or information, they just overload and accuse you guys of being "lazy" because they fail to understand one tenth of the development process.

    I honestly think this is a fact you really need to hammer into people and the fans of this game more to the point where theire's no longer any confusion.

    Dealing with a development process is slow, arduous, time consuming, money gobbling, and requires total communication and hard work and effort from everyone running the ship and making it go, to get every last little thing that IS in the game into it.

    Therefore, I think you need to hammer this point in even more, so that fans finally come to realize that this is a "glass half full" and not a "glass half empty" situation so that everyone can reevaluate the way they look at these games as being more appreciative of what IS in, as opposed to endlessly whining and picking apart everything that ISN'T in, yet.

    If people want something in, they need to communicate and suggest it more constructively and not sit around whining and posting unhelpful insults to the devs on message boards.

    Frankly, for "fans", it's much more convenient to whine than to actually help. If you can finally pull the rug out from under the reasons they think they have to whine more and be constructive less, by using your facts and education about the process, the more we can all finally get on a level playing field about "helping us to help you guys.", I believe.

    It's really going to be a slow road at this point I think, tryin to lead a rampaging pack of wild horses to water calmly and intelligently enough to drink it, but maybe you can make it happen, I hope.

    Until then though, I still say you guys at THQ and Yukes are both doing a phenomenal job on making the best wrestling games ever, and even if you can't get the fans to stop whining long enough to get them on board to help you guys instead of nitpicking you guys, well... you're still making excellent games worth buying, anyway.

    But keep laying the ground work and keep building that bridge between "you" and "them", Marcus. It'll get there, eventually.

  5. I work with foreign clients daily...and sometimes middlemen who speak a language native to neither me nor the client, and sometimes there are several foreign clients from different parts of the world THQ fellas...I feel your pain. It really lengthens the process but sometimes the best folks for a job can't be found in your back yard.

    I'm no ass-kisser but I do appreciate the workload making a game must be.

    But...I also can see years where THQ have asked for Yukes man-hours to be dedicated to screwing up the game - think career mode and other absurd restrictions.

    If time is so precious, make sure it counts and is spent not on making the game hard work but on making it a fun WWE sim.

    I will say that although I've not seen much in the way of straight up gameplay (one normal match I believe in all the time it's been hyped) that this year, you guys have outdone yourselves. It seems polished and new and full of awesome. Though, I worry about the commentary since it always seems to be drowned out in videos and the only parts we've heard were screwed up.

    Sharing the process is a great idea...less people will whine is they understand what goes into production.

  6. About a point in the previous post. I thought career mode was a great idea.

    Just implemented in a haphazard fashion that unfortunately required way too much grinding and way way too much time just to level up one CAS.

    I loved the idea of making a character stronger by actually having them play the game with them and pay their dues, but my only problem was that it took way too long.

    A single CAS should have gone up to the proper levels in under a few hours. Not days or weeks.

    However, I feel this year's solution is too much, too fast. Giving them all attribute points right off the bat, isn't earned and all it will do is just encourage everyone to boost them all to 99 and was a bad move, I believe.

  7. Just wanted to take a moment to say what a great change of pace this has been compared to years past. I've bought every single wwe game since attitude (I'm old), and it seems every year suggestions and complaints are thrown on deaf ears. This level of interaction with fans and supporters is unheard of. Thanks for taking the time to listen and explain, and letting us into your world. If this type of thing continues, we just might get that "end all be all" wrestling game we've all been waiting for. Thanks again.

  8. Informative post.

    Just out of curiosity, what are the primary benefits to using a company like Yukes?

    I know they are well known for their wrestling game development, but from the outside (and only for the outside) it seems like the language barrier slows things down.

    I'd love to hear some insight into using a foreign middle man (just in general, not particularly Yukes)

  9. Why dont THQ fly the Yukes staff to America to work more closely on the game. I bet those Japs would like a 6 month vacation in America. Maybe you can take them to a WWE live show or even Disneyland or a Lakers game.

  10. I would like for more in depth but thanks for sharing. I'm glad and appreciate what yukes does. I would really to have a feature back like 3stages of how far someone can jump 1.) Short- Mark Henry Average- Tyson Kidd Far- Evan Bourne etc.. I would also like selling you miss moves off the top rope. But great article will listen to you when on GR's podcast.

  11. To one of the anonymous...Career mode was an AWFUL idea.

    Ironically, if that method of building up a CAW could have been successfully implemented into a particular mode, it would be this years Universe Mode...of course it would need to be a speedier process.

  12. Mr Stephenson, you've mentioned The Miz doing guest commentary during your match in the previous post. Did he (and/or other superstars) did voice recordings for the sake of WWE Universe mode? Thanks in advance for your reply. Keep up the good job and take care. Looking forward for the new game.