During this year’s Game Developer Conference, BioWare’s panel focused on how big a task it was creating and delivering a triple-A class MMO in the form of Star Wars: The Old Republic. More specifically, production director Dallas Dickinson and executive producer Rich Vogel shared some numbers that outlined the immensity of the project.
Hired to work on the MMO were 30 producers, 40 platform engineers, 80 programmers, 75 designers, 140 artists, and 280 quality assurance positions. If you add them all up, it makes for a rather sizable number, so the follow-up question would be, how do you manage and coordinate such a vast group of people and make work as efficient as possible?
By creating “content pods,” which basically means that rather than position artists in one corner, engineers in another and designers in another, they would all mix with each other in small, self-contained development teams to work on any given task. If the team excelled at it, they’d continue their work. If it didn’t, due to whatever reason it might have been, people would jump from one team to the other in a “trade-off” system until it did work again, eventually.
Investors might have been concerned about the development costs of Star Wars: The Old Republic, especially considering those $200 million we talked about a while ago, but it would seem that it paid off in the end, 2 million times over.