Always keeping my eye out to try to ascertain what distinguishes the studios that continuously deliver on their brand promise, I found this little nugget at the bottom of an article that was about something else entirely.
Capps revealed that this polish period is still prevalent in the company today. "Gears of War 3 was actually finished some time ago," he revealed. "Microsoft wanted to shift the date to better fit with their portfolio of releases. My intention was never for us to continue polishing Gears after the original due date, the game was finished and was fantastic. I told the staff we had to move on, but they soundly ignored me. Polishing games is part of our DNA, our story, and we understand that quality and technical leadership are the hallmarks of our company. As a result, that story influences everything that we do."
It echoes a post by Seth today on three things that customers want… and choosing which one or two of them to focus on.
It’s tempting, particularly for a small business, to obsess about the first—results—to spend all its time trying to prove that the ROI is higher, the brownies are tastier and the coaching is more effective. You’d be amazed at how far you can go with the other two, if you commit to doing it, not merely talking about it.
One part of the “schedule” methodology that we’ve adopted for ourselves is specifically for putting the polish on. At the end. After the game is done. It’s so much easier to identify what really needs to be shinier (or less shiny) after the gameplay has solidified, all the story branches have been concluded and the audio recorded. Then we can really focus on making the presentation of our gamecraft the quality we require.
Every schedule has a polishing period at the end before we ship.
How long is it? Great question for a future post!