hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

GDC 10: Building a blockbuster franchise

8:30 PM on 03.10.2010 // Ben Perlee

It is the dream of every game designer. You know, not only creating a game, but to create a game franchise. Like Mario, Halo, Final Fantasy, these are games that not only stand as one amazing experience, but a plurality of games that revolutionize how we are entertained. For every ten or twenty garbage title, there is one amazing experience that will be coming back with sequels and more. It is a very difficult thing to create.

So one such lecture for up and coming developers at GDC is “Building a Blockbuster Franchise”, a round table between Geoff Keighley from Spike TV, Joseph Staten, the Design Director from Bungie, and Dr. Ray Muzyka, GM and Chief Executive of Bioware. With many major titles between these two men, Halo and Mass Effect, among other things, they were more than happy to share some of their wisdom with up and coming designers. Hit the jump for more.

What was clear, however, when it comes to a franchise, is that a game franchise must have an open world to be built upon. Looking at Halo, for example, the game has been successful over numerous titles, as well as a spin off, like Halo Wars, it is clear that they have plenty to work with. With a strong, capable IP bible, which both Halo and Mass Effect live off of, strong gameplay basics, a great team that have stayed with a franchise, and capable marketing, there is a lot to balance. A new team brought into an IP, for example, can be problematic, as they do not know all the problems that previous teams had dealt with. Bad marketing, or releasing a title at a bad time, or not keeping fans integrated and listening to their feedback, well, that can kill a franchise.

Muzyka was clear, there is an idea of “constraints provide creativity,” and when you know that you can't do in a universe, teams can be creative and expand upon ideas elsewhere. With specific rules comes specific responsibilities, and when you know where a game is going to go and not going to go, well, that's when the best is done.

One thing a good franchise has to be aware of is over-saturation. Keighley brought up 2009 and the “jumping the shark” of the music game genre, specifically with Guitar Hero, and the current internal problems of Activision and Infinity Ward. While neither man would not offer much commentary on either issue, one thing was clear that a lack of focus on what makes a franchise originally good is paramount.

Says Staten, “As long as we get the world right, get the boundaries right, we succeed,” while Muzyka was clear that “teams have to be humble”. Feedback is a super important area for a successful franchise, and not listening to fans can be problematic.

Finally, Keighly mentioned the lengthened console cycle, and how this can impact a franchise. This bought the oddest comments from the designers. Staten was adamant, a “stable hardware is really good for creative people”, as developing for a very established hardware brings the best and most creative elements to a franchise.

They also agreed that games look pretty good right now, and while a boost in graphics would be nice, there is some good still to come from the Xbox 360 and PS3. Muzyka also pointed out to new user interface controls and 3D technology like with Sony that is hyping will really take things in a new direction. “The longer this generation lasts,” he says “the more creative people will be”.

It really seems that the basis of a successful franchise really lies with the teams, and the people that make up those teams. By allowing good games to blossom under certain constraints, the best can come, and keep coming for a long time to come.



Ben Perlee,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Shinta avatarShinta
FFXV is supposedly 10x as big as The Witcher 3. Wow ... [img]http://i.imgur.com/9tfSuxQ.png[/img] http://www.dualshockers.com/2015/09/01/final-fantasy-xv-map-size-potentially-revealed-its-roughly-an-enormous-780-square-miles/
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The ending of "Return to Crookback Bog" in TW3 I got was so depressing. Wow. I think I need a break...
Shinta avatarShinta
I'm sitting here play Metal Gear V, absolutely loving it. But in the back of my mind ... all I can think about is Mario Maker. I'm really excited for that game!
Patrick Hancock avatarPatrick Hancock
Sold a digital item on Steam, that came with a physical item, for more than the cost of the physical item. This is the second time I've done this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Everyone right now is playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. And here I am, waiting for Super Mario Maker to come out. And also Star Fox Zero.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Patrick Hancock hates babies. Rick and Morty.... I wish I could view thee second season. I need to play MGSV. I spray farted earlier.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
my wife and i got into Rick and Morty the same time we got into Gravity Falls. Man, some good cartoons out right now.
El Dango avatarEl Dango
Rick and Morty is like reverse Archer. Instead of everyone being insanely quick-witted, everyone stutters, pauses and repeats themselves a lot.
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Drew a preeeeeeety sweet thing for the August edition of Cblog Recaps. Keep an eye out for it!
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
No spoilers or anything, but the MGS V troll is amazing. I went from concerned to laughter in a matter of minutes.
VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Not saying that the "augment your pre-order" announcement caused me to fall ill, but the timing seems like too much of a coincidence.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
Costco. 3 pack 18" dolls First order trooper, tie pilot, vader or Kylo for final one, I forget 44.99 September 4th, son.
epmpt avatarepmpt
Contact address: El Paso Manual Physical Therapy, 12135 Esther Lama Dr., Suite 1100, El Paso, TX 79936, Phone: (915) 252-5012, Email: [email protected]
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Stealth in Payday 2 gets infinitely easier once you get the Control Freak perk.
Dinosir avatarDinosir
Why is there a 500mb day 1 update for mgs V?! Yay modern day video games.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
What would you say are the worst/dumbest/stupidest/most useless job or class in an RPG?
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Could you stop calling Metal Gear Solid V Kojima's "swan song?" He's not retired, for crying out loud.
extatix avatarextatix
Seems rather excessive for a 3ds game. (3ds xl for scale) [img]http://i.imgur.com/DwOtP0s.jpg?1[/img]
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
Tried the stealth approach for awhile, time to switch things up. *plants C4 everywhere* I'll probably toss one on the poor schmuck that delivers my copy of MGS V. For taking so long.
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
Just a quick update for folks. Phil/Mike Martin is off the streets and safe for the next month. Thanks to everyone who helped out. You can keep up to on the forums: http://www.outerheavenforums.com/showthread.php?41974-The-Save-a-Phil-Foundation
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -