Originally Posted by Tr1cK
Seriously...Part of an interview with an Ex-Sigil Employee...For the full interview..Click the link...
f13.net: When it came down to actually making game content, how much freedom did designers have?
Ex-Sigil: Quite a bit. The content itself was done almost entirely on their own. The designers on Vanguard did amazing things with the horrific tools and systems in place.
f13.net: What tools were used to make the game?
Ex-Sigil: In-house stuff for the design side... but there was no scripting language for example, even though nearly everyone wanted one except for the people who decided if we got one or not.
f13.net: Because it would cost money to make these tools?
Ex-Sigil: No... because the people in charge just didn't want one
f13.net: How much do you think the lack of reasonable tools hurt the project?
Ex-Sigil: Immeasurably. You can't expect people to create interesting content, and then not give them the means to do it.
f13.net: Do you remember when the game was first shown publically? Surely it was while Microsoft was involved.
Ex-Sigil: I'm pretty sure the first time the game was seen in public, if I recall, was E3 2005. People were shown very small pieces (I was told a dungeon was shown over and over and over). Apparently, those pieces were specifically chosen to not show the glaring flaws. Now.. honestly, everyone does that. Nobody is going to parade around their problems. But the fact is, those problems were shoved under the carpet and ignored instead of being fixed before development moved forward.
f13.net: Was this a forced appearance?
f13.net: By Microsoft or Brad?
Ex-Sigil: Both I'd imagine... and that trend continued though for another year. What people don't understand, is the game that went out the door was literally created in the last 15 months. Design worked 12-18 hour days for 9+ months. Coding and Art worked insane hours as well, all trying to actually get something playable out the door.
f13.net: How deep did SOE's hands get into it? What was the progression like?
Ex-Sigil: They were hands-off all the way up til today
f13.net: ... are you serious?
Ex-Sigil: SOE lent a few devs to us in the final days, but it was nothing like people think. I think design had 3 people, art 2, and programming 1 from SOE. They let us use their testing dept too somewhat. We felt somewhat reborn I guess, but with a sense of reservation. When the merger happened SOE embraced us, and spent a LOT of money on us right away. It felt really good.
f13.net: Do you know why they were willing to do that? Surely they saw the lack of... product within the project at that time.
Ex-Sigil: I don't know that they did really. They got the same show that MS did to some degree. I'll say this about Brad.. he's one hell of a salesman. He's VERY passionate about his projects, even so much as to be blinded from seeing reality.
f13.net: SOE knew Brad's game though. Smedley has been around through McQuaid Part 1 & 2 now.
Ex-Sigil: I know.. and I can't explain that part.
f13.net: Surely people around the office knew part of the history. What was the rumor mill like at this time?
Ex-Sigil: Some people were confused. Why would SOE buy a game that's a direct competitor to EQ2? There was always talk, but people who were working on the game continued to put their souls into it in hopes that we could somehow get it all together in the end.
f13.net: Without a scripting language or proper tools, it sounds like some of the people actually on the project were pretty amazing.
Ex-Sigil: The level of creativity to make things work where there were no methods to do so was incredible.
f13.net: What happened in the short time between E3 2006 and Beta?
Ex-Sigil: The dev staff knew the game wasn't ready. Brad set the beta start I think and was completely clueless as to the actual state of the game... not listening to anyone telling him it wasn't ready
f13.net: How hands off was he by this time?
Ex-Sigil: He was playing a lot right through about Beta 2 but then he vanished.
f13.net: As in, just outright disappeared?
f13.net: Why? He was still posting on forums during this time...
Ex-Sigil: Well, he showed up to make mandates about game systems and design decisions.
f13.net: Was he there to see that stuff get implemented?
Ex-Sigil: The management knows I'm sure, but I don't have a clue. I just know he disappeared.
f13.net: What was the mood in the office by this time?
Ex-Sigil: People were still trying to stay upbeat, but certain people continually shooting down other's ideas started to take its toll. At least 2 people quit the team due to the heavy handed inflexible people on the class design team. When something isn't fun, except for the people who designed it, and others try to help, they'd get shot down... eventually people stop trying to help.
f13.net: How was QA treated through the course of development?
Ex-Sigil: QA was one person up until about November... ONE.
Ex-Sigil: 100% serious.
f13.net: What? How? This is an MMOG.
Ex-Sigil: Vanguard had one internal tester for probably 95% of the design cycle.
f13.net: Doesn't the complete and utter failure, in hindsight, seem like a self-fulfilled prophecy though with only one QA member?
Ex-Sigil: The reasons for failure are too numerous to list, but can all be summed up by a lack of management. Brad, for all his faults at least made decisions. So did Jeff. Right or wrong, they took a shot. The people in charge now were so afraid to make the wrong decision that they made no decision at all.