Jun 29 / 2011

Question of the Week | 7-1-2011

By Sledgehammer Games

My name is Andrew, my question for this week is: What inspired you guys at Sledgehammer Games to create your own company? [from Anna:] What exactly do you do as the studio COO?

Happy July 4th weekend, Andrew and Anna.

I've chosen to answer your questions together this week since both are commonly asked, and very much related.

Andrew, we founded Sledgehammer Games with a singular goal in mind; to deliver AAA software by building an industry leading development team and creating a studio culture built around a commitment to excellence in everything we do. Glen and I have strong ideas and convictions around the quality of the games we want to make and the values we want to instill in our teams. We are dedicated to delivering fantastic games for our fans, and to delivering a tremendous workplace for our developers and their families.

The opportunity to foster our culture in a brand new state of the art studio from a completely clean slate was inspirational. Founding Sledgehammer Games gave us the canvas to paint our studio vision, and Activision's independent studio model gave us the resources and freedom to bring that painting to life.

Knowing that our studio's first game would be brought to the tens of millions of Call of Duty fans was a major inspiration for us as well. We are both really proud of our previous game, but the draw of the fan base of Call of Duty was something special, and frankly, something rare in our industry. It's humbling. We know the expectations from the fans are higher than ever, and we don't take that lightly. I can say with complete conviction that when Modern Warfare 3 hits November 8th, 2011, the staff at Sledgehammer Games will have left nothing on the table. We'll have poured every last ounce of passion and determination into making this the best game possible, and something we are thrilled to have our Sledgehammer Games logo on.

What exactly do I do, Anna? That's a great question. Mostly, I try to keep Schofield from doing or saying anything stupid. That keeps me pretty busy making sure he can't really do or say anything...

I am kidding. Sort of. No, really I am kidding.

Everyone at Sledgehammer Games is a game maker including Glen and I. We are both very hands-on developers. Our roles span across the studio management responsibilities and the game development responsibilities. The simplest way to describe it is that Glen is the crazy guy and the head of the studio creative process. His job is to push the studio to think bigger and innovate farther. I am the pragmatic guy and the head of the studio development process. My job is to make sure we have the people, processes, and resources to achieve that creative vision. To his credit, Glen has a good sense of the business constraints. Equally, I have a lot of opportunity to influence the creative. Ultimately we push each other, sometimes quite loudly, to ensure we make the best game possible; the most innovative and highest quality possible, while still maintaining predictability around the schedule, budget, and people. That, to us, is the win state for our fans and our staff.