To create a masterpiece, work a 100 hour week

Far Cry: New Dawn's art director reacts to Rockstar's 100 hour working week.....
25 May 2019

Interview with 

Isaac Papismado, Art Director at Ubisoft

COMPUTER-WORKING

Person working at a computer to a deadline

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Red Dead Redemption 2 has been released on PS4 and Xbox One. It was the best selling game of 2018. And just before it came out it's one of the co-founders Dan Houser said his senior writing team spent the last three weeks of the release cycle working 100 hour weeks. So is that normal? Chris Berrow caught up with Isaac Papismado, the art director and a developer with the Far Cry series from Ubisoft. It's one of the most popular series of first person shooter games of all time, and he started by asking him how long it takes to get a game from initial concept to release...

Isaac - So you know it really varies from party to project. We are Ubisoft. It's not about really the timing of how long it takes us but the quality that we put out. We're really lucky Ubisoft to have the support of different development studios. So really it's about getting that quality product out there and we're not so stressed about how long it takes.

Chris - What are some of the challenges of the process.

Isaac - So for me specifically as our director Ubisoft What's most challenging for me is really coming up with a vision that will surprise players. I would really want to give something to the players that they haven't seen before. So for example if I can't be done bringing far cry to the poster like I'm setting we really wanted to avoid all the cliché environments that people are used to whether for movies or books or from their favorite video games. And we wanted to avoid the dark and gloomy atmosphere as we really wanted to mix it up a bit. And for me that was super important is how do we surprise our players and give them something refreshing to play with a game like Far Cry.

Chris - Once you've made one game two subsequent games take less time to make from start to finish?

Isaac - Yeah you know it really varies from game to game but in Far Cry New Dawn we chose to stay in Hope County to continue that story of the post collapse although 17 years later did go by we really wanted to completely transform whole county. We really wanted to feel different but at the same time familiar to those people coming back from Starcraft 5 and the same time we also have what we call expeditions where we transport our players to different locations across America whether it's Louisiana whether it's the West Coast or Arizona in the desert. So it's something we're really excited about is really giving the players different areas to explore and always be surprised with what he's going to see.

Voiceover - They said it was supposed to be the end of everything but for us it was just the beginning. Now we were better than that. This new world. Had a lot to do. We took on. That's how we came out on top. That's how we got here. That's how we found you.

Chris - What are the last few months before the actual release date. Like I imagine they're quite stressful.

Isaac - For me it's most exciting part of the production. It's where all the magic happens and where we get the Polish and we really get to you know put that final touch on all the creative decisions that we took. And as our director especially on the outside that time production is really to polish and really to craft the precise experience we want to give to our players.

Chris - How do you relax during that time?

Isaac - For me the most relaxing thing is actually to play the build to play the game. Seeing how the world has evolved is the best thing that ever happened to me. So really when I play the game when I explore the world and seeing all the hard work of the team that's as finally coming into the bill and looking amazing. That really for me is kind of like a destresser and it kind of makes me happy with exactly what we achieved in our development cycle.

Chris - Is a game ever finished or does that support have to carry on after which you know downloadable content for example which is huge nowadays.

Isaac - Nothing's ever finished. Artists are perfectionists and I'm sure you've heard that cliche before but we're really happy with far any done and this state that it's in and I'm super excited for players to finally get their hands on it.

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