GAMES12 preview: Gamer geeks got 'talent'
Computer games might seem like fun but a huge amount of work goes into your favourite waste of time.
With GAMES 12 kicking off today at Dubai Festival City, the UAE’s gamers and geeks will have their fingers on the buttons as they get to grips with some of the most up-to-date titles and gaming tech around.
(FOR A REVIEW OF THE FIRST DAY OF GAMES 12, MAKE SURE TO CHECK WWW.7DAYSINDUBAI.COM TOMORROW)
Microsoft Xbox, Pluto Games, Red Entertainment Distribution and Sony PlayStation are all present at the free event and the chance to play some top titles should get those fingers twitching. Even if gaming means nothing to you, be certain about one thing - it’s a huge global business.
Bryce Yang, senior global brand manager for WWE Games at THQ, has flown over from California for GAMES 12 and he explained just how much brains and effort went into the production of WWE 13.
It’s the latest update in a simulation game based on the action of the hugely successful wrestling show. It’s a global concern that’s raked in $3 billion to date, with some brilliant minds working all around the globe to bring you a game that allows you to throw your character and opponent around a virtual wrestling ring.
“Every year the game comes out and we’re already working on the update, its a really quick cycle,” he explains.
“Our developers work in a studio in Yokohama, Japan - a team of around 90 - and we also have a core production team in LA of 35.” Long hours are a given for the team but while they’re under pressure to constantly improve their product, you can’t escape the idea that they might be having a little more fun at work than you or I.
It’s no 7DAYS Towers, of course, but Bryce explains: “In the corner of the studio in Japan they’ve got two dummies which they can work out moves on - one might go up to the dummies and say ‘the move might work something like this or whatever’. They have to come up with different moves in the game.”
It may sound like fun but they take things seriously.
Little wonder as Bryce explains: “We have two million fans on our facebook page. Only 25 per cent come from the US so every territory can talk to us right there. We listen to our community, whether on facebook, twitter or our forums - the feedback is so important.”
The wrestlers themselves, or ‘talent’ as they are known in the industry, also have some say in the games. Bryce explains: “Years ago a guy saw his entrance to the ring and didn’t feel it did him justice so we brought him in and worked on it... Even in the game the wrestlers have ratings and some guys will come to us and ask how come they’re only a certain figure? They might be kidding around but we’ve heard a lot from them on this!”
For parents who doubt the value of gaming, consider this. Bryce is a lifelong gamer who studied at the esteemed UCLA. In person he’s about as far removed from the slacker image of gamers as you could imagine - and he’s not alone.
The 30-year-old explains: “I grew up as a gamer and I’ve also been a fan of wrestling for 25 years. I must admit I was actually quite good in college so my gaming calmed down a bit. But if you look at our development teams, while they might have a strong degree from Berkley, they also have a strong foundation in gaming to back up that business and education. I don’t know if it is coincidence but everyone I’ve hired has always come from QA (quality assurance) as a tester - they’ve truly understood the software. A lot of them come from really great universities but have wanted their foot in the door.
They might be portrayed as slackers in movies but really they are exceptionally smart kids who want to get a break in the industry.”