Reinventing sports franchises continued

When a new sports video game is slated for release nearly the entire staff, all three development teams, would work together to lay the ground work for the project. Cooperation will help the project in the initial phases and bring together the unique expertise from different areas of development together. The three team structure will remain intact while members from both the support team and content team would join the main dev team in an effort to bring fresh new ideas, support, and help to the development of the new title. The support and content team’s separate projects will not be abandoned. Essential staff will remain to work on those projects until after the new title has reached a more complete stage. This would all but guarantee that each team will have working knowledge of the methods and inner workings of the other dev teams, and a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the new title.

This policy of flexible team structure, sharing of information and resources, and a spirit of unified effort towards making the franchise the best it can be is a boon for the workers and management. Each team will have their own respective lead project coordinators and their ability to communicate and work together is key to the success or failure of this model. In this respect each lead will have to have a clear picture of their own team’s projects, their team’s abilities, and how their efforts mesh with the overall goal of making a great videogame.

After the release of the latest entry in the sports franchise series the content dev team should begin work on the DLC. Chances are the season has already begun for the sport has already begun or will begin shortly after the release. Within months the content on the disk will not be an accurate picture of the real life state of the sport. The content team will need to work in overdrive to provide constant updates and new content to players of the new title. Thanks to the three team model they don’t have to work alone. While the main dev team takes a break before starting on the next game, the support dev team will help the content dev team test new content and provide player feedback. This feedback will help guide the direction of the DLC. Requested content could be rapidly produced, meeting the demand of the player’s quickly and to their satisfaction.

Each team lead will be responsible for their respective team and also participate in the design and construction of new titles and features for future iterations of the franchise. Here we come to a point where my own ideas come to an impasse. I’ve little experience when it comes to the workings of higher levels of software development management. What I do know comes from books on game design, which stick to more traditional models. Should there be a group of producers and higher management that over see the whole of the franchise or should the team leads be solely responsible for the content they produce? Tradition would suggest the former but I have misgivings about taking creative power and authority away from the lead designers.

There’s still a lot to cover, including the benefit this structure would have for fans, but I’m going to stop here. When I first had the idea for this article I didn’t realize the scope and complexity that needs to be addressed. I’ll probably come back to the topic in the future, especially if I’m reviewing a new sports title, but for right now I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

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