After I left the god of war team me and my friend Eric were talking about who they should hire to replace me. We joked around that every one who is capable of doing the job we already have on our aim list. It was around the time of the 'fake' E3 that me and Eric came to the same conclusion oddly enough - the people were actually on our aim list. Jason De Heras and Jason Cole were both hired shortly afterwards. Both have a ton of industry experience and understand games on a very technical level. I won't go about listing all of their videogame accomplishments but lets say it runs deep - Evo Championships, etc.
Jason De Heras has written a really good article about one of my favorite games of all time, "Mike Tyson's Punch Out". In fact secretly some of the bosses in the God of War universe were designed around some of the mechanics found in that game. Even after leaving the GoW team I've even referenced this game in many meetings haha. I go back and play this game maybe once a year or so. 007-373-5963 has been etched into my memory since I was a kid. I thought about downloading the Wii version but I can't betray my boy Mike and play against some random white guy that they threw in. I digress - go check out Jason's article about one of the greatest games of all time.
There has been a lot of interesting videogame news here lately - particularly Free Radical's decision to pay their employees overtime. All I can say is about fucking time. There are a billion problems with this industry and this is definitely one of them. So many young kids get into the industry and are so happy to have a shot at doing what they love that they will do anything - including working 90+ hours a week. When I first got into the industry I almost thought it was 'cool' that I worked 20 hours in one day to get a ton of things done. Then I realized I was stupid and barely got anything accomplished for the rest of the week. Not only that but I missed a lot of social events such as friend's bday's just so I could get some bug finished that could have been fixed the next day.
It's also a sign of holding producer's more responsible for their job which I think is a good thing. If an artist says it will take 5 days to do something and they don't get it done in 5 days then they are usually yelled at, etc. If a producer says the game will be done in X months/years and if the game can't be done on time then they should get yelled at. The solution shouldn't be one of just working more hours which is what has been forever. Plus working that much just burns everyone out - something that I don't think enough people talk about.
While not directly related but on a very similar note the rumors about Bungie and Microsoft are very exciting. As of today with nothing being announced officially - the unofficial rumor is that bungie/ms are breaking the bonds from one another with bungie being more independent but ms still publishes their games. This is somewhat similar to the plan that Jaffe set up with Eat, Sleep, Play.
This doesn't surprise me at all - Halo3 comes out and makes $170 million in just one day! I don't enough about their situation but I know after God of War 1 and 2 - I still can't afford to buy a house. I have an apartment in the fucking valley for crying out loud. Is it all about $? Most definitely not but I bet Sam Raimi had no problems buying a house after Spiderman 1 let alone 2 and 3. Good luck to everyone at Bungie and I hope you guys get what you deserve.
Hopefully these 2 things are a sign of the industry as a whole growing up and will be a better place for everyone to work. I hear EA is a much better place after the whole EA Spouse thing. Sometimes all the crazy muckraking leads to something good.