Insomniac Games’ spectacular 2018 game Spider-Man was originally meant to end with the hero and Doctor Octopus fighting all across New York City.
Insomniac CEO Ted Price revealed the original boss fight plans at last week’s Develop: Brighton conference per GamesIndustry.biz. But the scope of the finale the studio envisioned couldn’t be realized without resorting to crunch, which would clash with the company’s goals of increasing employee wellbeing and reducing burnout.
“The temptation is to just brute force it, put our heads down and run through the brick wall,” Price said. “But the team took a step back and thought about what was important to the players, and that was the breakdown of the relationship between Peter and his former mentor, Doctor Octavius.”
The fight was ultimately a one vs. one battle between Spider-Man and Doc Ock atop a Manhattan building. The team scaled back its ambitions and Price said the decision didn’t just help the developers but improved the game itself.
“They rethought the fight and realized they didn’t need to destroy half of New York to pay off the relationship,” Price said. “In fact, it would have worked against what we were going for. As a result, the final battle is much more up close and personal, and has a far bigger emotional impact than planned — and it fit within the time we had.”
Price urged other developers to seriously consider what players want and how they can deliver the best experience with the resources they have rather than pushing employees to their limits.
“In the stress of hectic production, we often feel we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal — but that’s often what it takes,” he said. “The team needs to have permission to pause and come up with a better way, instead of bulldozing through the problems and causing potential health problems.”
Insomniac is currently working on Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, which the team says will be “darker” than the last two Spider-Man games, including Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Furthermore, Insomniac is also working on a Wolverine game to add to its Marvel bonafide.
Samantha Nelson is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter @samanthanelson1.
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Author: Samantha Nelson