dice 2011

Hall Of Famers Share The Stage At D.I.C.E. Roundtable

by Annette Gonzalez on Feb 10, 2011 at 02:20 PM

At this year's D.I.C.E. keynote, Blizzard's Mike Morhaime, Zynga consultant Bruce Shelley, freelance designer Mark Cerny, and BioWare's Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk shared the stage to express their thoughts on the future of video games, reflect on past accomplishments, and more. All participants were inducted in the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in previous years. Check out the paraphrased conversation below.

The Games Industry: 2011 and Beyond

The panelists agreed overall that this year shows great changes in the industry, especially in the realm of social gaming and new ways to interact with other players. Despite closures and recession they say it's a great time to start a studio. With the wave of small teams creating complete gaming experiences, it's not just about the big guys anymore.

What They're Playing

Zeschuk: Cityville, Frontierville. Good way of seeing what's out there, easy to play.

Muzyka: Red Dead Redemption. Even though smaller studios making waves, Rockstar has shown there is still a place for larger teams and bigger projects. Playing all types of other games helps you develop more innovative product.

Cerny: Flower. A fearless commitment to an idea. Beautiful. Looking forward to ThatGameCompany's next project, Journey.

Shelley: Frontierville. Real game. Clever and engaging. Social gaming is a great way to reach out to a new audience that prior may have never played games. Gateway to other experiences.

Morhaime: Blizzard games mostly. I spend a lot of time with Words With Friends and the mobile platform as a whole. The mobile phone is finally being considered a gaming device. Fun game. Great for interaction with friends.

The Old Republic - What can it offer that other MMOs on the market can't?

Zeschuk: World of Warcraft is tough to compete with. It's established the standards of the MMO game. Star Wars is a huge license and when a game is done well, like it was with KOTOR, it's can be a great experience. Anyone who plays will see it's a BioWare game: Story, presentation, feeling like a powerful hero. Not trying to beat anyone in the market, simply want a place in this space. During development the team has learned about the complicated nature of running a service. They want to ensure quality.

Muzyka: The team has had multiplayer and server experience with past work. Found the best and brightest and put them together. Plenty of pre-launch testing. Have gotten lots of positive feedback so far.

Morhaime: BioWare is great and Star Wars is a strong license. It's always good for the genre to see additional MMOs in the market that are fun to play. Doesn't serve the genre well when MMOs release and are no good, leaving players new to the genre frustrated that may never return.

Warcraft Team Working On Social Project

Morhaime: Experienced MMO developers who spent years on the Warcraft team are working on a new project. It's no WoW sequel, but the two games can coexist in the future. Social experiences like guild experiences are great. Games are more fun when you experience them with other people.

Limitations Of Current Consoles And What Developers Will Need In Future Hardware

Cerny: Developers always need 20 percent more performance to do something. Are motion controls changing the market? I don't see gestural controls being huge on the FPS front, but there is a revolution forming with social media. Need to see how to bring that kind of experience in the future.

Diablo On Multiple Platforms?

Morhaime: Whenever we start a new project we think of other platforms, but it's always been PC. A game like Diablo might play well on a console. Issues need to be solved to bring any of our games over to console.

Bite-sized Gaming

Muzyka: We play our games non-stop. When I want to play something different, I get lots of ideas from different genres. When you travel it's nice to have mobile games and social media. Good change of pace. Currently working on Dragon Age Legends.

Zeschuk: Making games is hard. Even small games, those may be even harder. With a giant group of people making complex games, making them make something small is tough.

Design Mistakes They Want to Forget

Cerny: Original Crash Bandicoot. Only five lives in a 12-hour game. Lose them all and start over. Why were we doing this in 1996?

Morhaime: Wrong side of an argument. Before releasing StarCraft someone said we needed to add single-click smart control interface close to the end of production. Programming said no. A colleague went ahead and asked a programmer to do it anyway and it was added fairly quickly. It was risky, but glad I was wrong.

Shelley: Different experience in Age of Empires 3. Wasn't an Age game. Didn't want to rename the product even though it was a different experience. Tried to do too much.