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Massive Entertainment's philosophy on shipping games: 'Always playable' defined

Ubisoft
UbisoftMassive Entertainment has the right idea in mind prior to release.

Tom Clancy's The Division is a next generation game that is being developed by Massive Entertainment and released by Ubisoft. We are featuring a segment this week with Massive Entertainment's Managing Director David Polfeldt. This segment focuses on making sure games are "Always Playable". In speaking with Polfeldt, he mentions that prior to the release of a game, they have a philosophy that the game has to be playable way before the game ships. Ideally, developers should be able to come into the office, sit down, and play at any time with no issues. The delivery of a great title hails from the cultural diversity and shared language within the office. Polfeldt explains in more detail below.

What it has done is it has created a very delivery-oriented culture because we don’t have and we don’t share a common language, so meetings tend to be a little bit shorter. [Sometimes], we’re not sure if somebody is selling something or if he is being sarcastic or if he is being a genius. So we look a lot at what people do. When you deliver, that’s really when people start paying attention to who you are. I think [the studio’s diversity] has built a culture around the next build or the next sprint. Everybody is looking a lot at what you’re delivering and you’re contribution, which I like because it’s very easy to sit in a meeting and design a great game on paper, but when you pick it up it’s a tactile experience. That’s where it really matters.

I think [being results oriented] has become our language; it’s really the game, that’s the one we share together. We have a process philosophy called “always playable,” which means the game has to be playable a long, long, long time before it ships. Really, you should be able to come into the office, pick it up and play it anytime, but in a way it’s also to make-up for the fact that we don’t all share the same language. So it’s important for us to have the game as a common language.

Polfeldt mentions that being "results oriented" is the common ground in their office. Whatever hurdles they may have, everyone is on the same page, and the idea of having the game "always playable" is the most important aspect. This will especially important for a title like The Division, as a game as hyped as this does not need to be released with any issues. It's a great thing to have this upcoming title in the capable hands of a developer like Massive Entertainment.