Not Much New on the News

Posted: April 20, 2007 by Kendricke in 38 Studios, Interviews, The Gaming Industry

If you didn’t get to see it today, Curt Schilling and Brett Close talked up 38 Studios on CNBC today.  There wasn’t too much that we hadn’t heard before.  We already knew about the team.  We knew about the location.  We knew about the generalized statements to one day lead the industry. 

About the only new thing that was relatively specific was the tentative release date for 38’s first game:  September 2010.  Though that’s obviously up in the air, the fact that any date at all has been announced is a major shift from traditional MMO design. 

Most companies tend to give very broad ideas regarding release dates, suggesting “sometime in 2008” or “Winter of ’09”.  Only when the eventual date starts to near do most companies start to announce more information publically, and even then, many times the eventual date either surprises us (as with Everquest 2) or is moved near the last minute (as with Burning Crusade).

What might not be immediately obvious is the fact that this essentially confirms a project plan has been written up deep within the 38 Studios offices.  One assumption we might be able to draw from this is what general phase the game could be in based on knowledge of staffing levels and general resource deployment.  We know when the Maynard office was secured.  We know when the majority of staff were brought onboard.  We know when the company was formed.  And we know when Brett Close was brought on to captain the ship.

Now…we have a tentative date that tells us we’re looking at roughly 42-43 months before this date is met.   Now, I can’t say what 38 would do (and frankly, I’m not sure how traditional they’ll be approaching the process), but if I were building the plan for this I’d probably have requirements and analysis wrapping up about now with a roughly 9-12 month design cycle leading into/overlapping a 24-30 month development/construction phase set to start in the first quarter of 2008.  That would give a nice 6-10 month testing phase, with actual release in early 3rd quarter, 2010. 

If it were me, I’d expect to bring on a second major wave of hiring to start relatively soon for lower and mid level conceptual designers and artists (not to meantion administrative and business side resources), with a third wave of staff (heavy on lower level programmers and CG artists) to come onboard in late 2007 in time for the heavy coding and bulk art assets which would start going in around the turn of ’08.

Again, that’s just my quick armchair projections based on nothing more than my own  experience and speculations on what I think might be most likely (unless they just go off the wall and try some Agile/FLSS methodology).  I could very well be way off on my projections.  If so, chalk it up to wild eyed enthusiasm and Monday morning quarterbacking.  If anyone thinks they have a better/different opinion, I’d sure love to hear it. 

We could even start up a sort of office pool on the subject.  😉

  1. Wilhelm2451 says:

    It will be interesting to see how many of the Nerfbat “MMO Development Lessons” that 38 Studios adheres to or breaks.

    That might make either an interesting pool or a very long running drinking game.

    “Outrageous system requirement! Take a drink!”

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