Friday, July 10, 2009

Still Alive

*...that was a joke, ha ha, fat chance...*

So I've decided that I want to start blogging again. A lot has happened in the last year (shipped POP, had a baby girl, started a new project) that has kept me distracted and away from the blog, but things seem to be settling into a rhythm again that should allow me to spend a little more time thinking and a little less time jumping from fire to fire - a prerequisite to writing anything worth reading, in my opinion.

Likely the most interesting news for the majority of people who visit here is that my new project is not in the Prince Of Persia universe. After four years and four POP games (The Two Thrones, Rival Swords Wii, Rival Swords PSP, and the latest POP) I've decided its time for new challenges and new themes. Myself and a small core team (made up almost entirely of my favorite guys from POP) have started work on a new IP.

Of course I can't say anything about it yet (and won't be able to do so for a long time) but I can say that I love the new challenge so far. Ubisoft is a company that embraces and rewards innovation within its production team and they are encouraging us (and all teams really) to really try and push the limits of what people have seen in games from a combined technical/creative standpoint - to literally do something that no one has seen before and that competitors will find themselves scrambling to copy once we set the new trend. Its a pretty exciting mandate and one my team is embracing with arms wide open.

In thinking about what subject (of substance) I should blog about next I'm currently leaning towards a question I'm asked often: how does one go about getting a job as a game producer. I've got a few points on this matter that I've repeated often enough at conferences etc that I figure it might be worth noting it all down here. Anyone out there have any specific questions on the subject? I could try and answer them in my post.

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15 Comments:

Anonymous Stan Lindsey said...

Glad you're getting back into blogging and looking forward to hear about this new innovative project you're working on when time comes about.

What I think would be interesting is comparing how you got our foot into the door of the gaming industry in comparison with how people tend to be getting into the industry these days.

I'd also be interested in your views on graduates actually, as a student myself its interesting to see how professionals perceive us when we leave hand-holding land!

8:00 PM  
Blogger Alejo said...

Welome back :) Cant wait to know anything about your new Ip :)

presonally would like to now about your producer work, hod did you get there, game design stuff, etc..

I guess you cant talk in detail about the new Ip, but maybe generic stuff you guys are working on.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous heavyness said...

like Stan said, how you got into the position of Game Producer. plus, what skills you have, and what skills you wish you learned earlier in your career that helped you get where you are today.

1:16 AM  
Anonymous Simba said...

Maybe this is a bit of an obvious and therefore unwanted question, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful or whiney or anything, but will this mean that we won't see a sequel to PoP and it's Epilogue for a very long time? Or could it theoretically be possible that other people at our beloved Ubi Montreal could work on that with another producer in the lead, and without your core team of 'favorite guys from PoP'?
Now I know that in terms of sales and story development (cliffhanger anyone?) a sequel is almost inevitable, but I'm just wondering how things like these usually work when the lead producer and the core team go off to do something else.

The reason I ask all this is because I utterly loved the retail game (especially the character development), and even though I had to watch it on Youtube (I'm a PC gamer) I found Epilogue quite interesting as well.

So if I do inadvertently come across as an impatient fan, I do apologise. At the end of the day, I have nothing but praise.
And it's your and your team's fault for delivering such an amazing game, anyway! ;-)

However things may turn out, I wish you luck with your new IP, and I hope seeing more of you in the future, be it with your new IP, or an eventual sequel to PoP after that. (To quote the Prince: "I can dream..." )

Kind regards,

Simba.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, I hope you never touch another product involving the prince of persia ip ever again. It amazes me that ubisoft let such a great franchise come to ruins by leaving it to such incompetent group such as you and your moronic group of so called developers. The last prince of Persia hit a low that I did not think was possible. Go back and learn some game design 101 instead of starting a new ip that will be ridiculed.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Ben Mattes said...

Anonymous,

Ahh - I love Fan Mail. :)

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Mornegroth said...

Well... Everything Anonymous said...

POP:NG was a great disapointment for almost every POP fan out there and you should be ashamed of what you (and your "fellow developers") have done to the POP Universe.

Goddamit, these are good news... Finnally.

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Martin, I just read this news and I got one thing to say... Thanks god you're stepping down from PoP; dont take me wrong Mr Mattes, I wish you the best on your new IP :D, and I'm very glad you took with you some of your members... Because you guys really SUCKED, (with all due respect); what you guys did to PoP wasnt certainly bad... it was Horrible, you killed it completely, you and your guys made of PoP a piece of sh¡t (with all due respect)... And not only that, you also expected some "pats" in the back because of what you did -how naive-; even when you practically hijacked what other games did and called your work "original" and claimed to have taken many "risks", well, let me just tell you the truth, your work is horrible and its everything except what you claimed it was... its just f***ing unbeleivable... (with all due respect)... You also just lied: PoP 2008 isnt an open-world game, there's no actual freedom or real secondary-optional tasks; DO NOT assure to have something you dont actually have, I hope you've learned your lesson this time.
As a conclussion:
You dont deserve your job, there's hundreds out there better than you, you should reconsider your carrer and leave your spot for someone who actually haves "toomuchimagination"... your blog and job are both a lie and a waiste of time (with all due respect)
PD: If you really care about your work, and you want to get better at it, you should check the forums of YOUR game... maybe thats the difference between ubi employes and other studios... in other studios, the devs and important people -when it comes to the game developing- keep in touch with their comunity, learn what they want, and what can they do better, thats why other games are just plain successes while yours are plain pieces of sh¡t... (with all due respect...)

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Martin... But for you, I'm Mr Martin; I agree with what mornegroth said... I just posted a comment a few moments ago, and I highly doubt it will be aprooved to appear in here. Well mr Ben Mattes, I just dare you to do it, allow it to appear... allow the public to see who you really are, and what does your work as a producer is really worthy... do it, and you'll have my respects as somebody who's able to accept some criticism and not just the "pats in the back" you dont deserve, and which are given by 11 year olds. thanks for your time...

6:56 PM  
Blogger Ben Mattes said...

Mr. Martin,

You are welcome to dislike POP and welcome to dislike me. You are even welcome to use the comments section of this blog to express to the world just how much you dislike both, as long as you do it in a rational and mature fashion.

Your previous post was neither. It was ranty and insulting. I wouldn't allow such a comment to go through if you were directing your wrath against another commenter here so I won't publish it.

If you want to reword it please do. I don't mind you saying why you disliked the game so much, but keep the personal insults to yourself.

-B

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martin here, well Mr Ben, I never thought you would dare to appear again or something -since you're known on Ubi forums more because of your absence than your presence, so, you got my respect here for that.

Ok you're right; I removed the 2 or 3 swears in that post, here you go again:

Hi, my name is Martin, I just read this news and I got one thing to say... Thanks god you're stepping down from PoP; dont take me wrong Mr Mattes, I wish you the best on your new IP :D, and I'm very glad you took with you some of your members... Because you guys really SUCKED on PoP, (with all due respect); what you guys did to PoP wasnt certainly bad... it was Horrible, you killed it completely, you and your new guys just dumbed down a great franchise completely... And not only that, you also expected some "pats" in the back because of what you did -how naive-, even when you practically hijacked what other games did and called your work "original" and claimed to have taken many "risks", well, let me just tell you the truth, your work is horrible and its everything except what you claimed it was... its just unbeleivable... You also just lied: PoP 2008 isnt an open-world game, there's no actual freedom or real secondary-optional tasks; DO NOT assure to have something you dont actually have, I hope you've learned your lesson this time.
You dont deserve your job, there's hundreds out there better than you, you should reconsider your carrer and leave your spot for someone who actually haves "toomuchimagination"... your blog and job are both a lie and a waiste of time (with all due respect)
As a conclussion: If you really care about your work, and you want to get better at it, you should check the forums of YOUR game, you should check some real feedback, you should assume some responsability... maybe thats the difference between ubi employes and other studios... in other studios –bioware for example- the devs and important people -when it comes to the game developing, writers, programmers etc- keep in touch with their comunity, they ask things, they learn what they want, and what can they do better, they are open for criticism: thats why other games are just plain successes while yours, and I’m not telling your games, but Ubi games in general, are just complete mediocre failures… Ubi wants to make money? Well, one thing you guys should remember is that the best way to make money is making good games, those are the ones who makes big money, not just dumbed down games, made as a excuse because of an old franchise –such as PoP- which made money before because it was ORIGINAL. Keeping the game development that way will just keep giving game failures which get old and forgotten really fast as a result. Thanks for your time

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Simba said...

Well, isn't this Quite Interesting...

I'm sure sure whether it's prudent to add any more to this 'discussion', but I was just wondering, since a similar issue has come up on the PoP forums;

Martin, why do you use a producer's personal blog to voice your...passionate criticism of him, when you could so easily do the same on the PoP forums? There, at least, exists the opportunity to intellectually and rationally *discuss* the points, published or otherwise, you have brought up.

Furthermore, on the forums you'd have some 'allies', as it were, in your criticism of PoP, and even of Ben Mattes. Wouldn't it be great to have two sides of the argument present, so both sides can bounce ideas off of each other, and sustain some modicum of an actual debate?

Chances are, of course, that you are already on the forums, and that you posted here because you read Sanceman's announcement of mr. Mattes' leaving the PoP team. If so, why don't you own up to what you are saying? At least Mornegroth does. I might not agree with him, but unlike you, he retains his credibility by taking responsibility for his opinion by allowing readers to identify him as the same person who posts on the PoP forums.

Also, what do you hope to achieve by resorting to childish jabs about how you wish to be adressed? What did you expect? That mr. Mattes would think 'Oh no he didn't!' and shrivel beneath the unforgiving glare of your razor-sharp wit?
Honestly, if you need to use shticks like that to give your posts artificial 'weight', what are you doing in a discussion anyway? And if you don't want to discuss anything, wouldn't it be much more energy-efficient to keep your opinion to yourself? You won't need to expend unnecessary effort, others won't have to put up with irrational ramblings - everyone is happy!

Mr. Mattes' last post seems to indicate that you 'direct[ed] your wrath' at 'another commenter here', and since I'm the only one who has voiced praise for the game and it's team of developer's efforts below this particular blog post, I can only assume you directed said wrath at me.
If so (but also, if not), I would really have liked to know what you said, but apparently you were too vocal for mr. Mattes' taste. A decision which is obviously his prerogative, and not evidence of him possessing or lacking any one particular character trait.
If you don't like that fact, then, again, why do you bother posting here?

I really hope you'll read this and, if you so desire, comment on it in a way that will allow mr. Mattes to actually publish your words.

Like I said, I have no intention of further fuelling a potential 'flamewar', as I believe it's called, (no matter how politely it will be formulated), but I just needed to say this, since, quite frankly, the continuous and irrational bashing of the PoP team has gotten a bit preposterous. Of course you are not the only one, but since I already posted in this section, I thought I might as well respond to your particular post.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll just go and sit my eleven year-old bottom down over here and play with my toys.

Kind regards,

Simba

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Martin here.

Simba...

Hello there; I'm afraid I'd never called for any reply of you, I'll tell you why.
In my original first post, I only directed my words (with a couple or 3 swearings) to Ben Mattes and no one else, I didnt mentioned anything about ANYONE ELSE. To put it simple, I didnt even read your post, I dont know who you are and what do you like, and believe me, I dont care either if you like or dislike Ben's word. What happened is that you missread Ben's reply, have a look again: "I wouldn't allow such a comment to go through if you were directing your wrath against another commenter here so I won't publish it." He never said I actually did, he said that he wouldnt allow the comment to appear even if the insulting words were directed to another commenter and nothing else... See? dont assume things which didnt happened, read carefully next time¬¬.

First, I'm posting here because Ben is never on the PoP forums, I dislike completely the new PoP and I've already *discussed* racionally my point of view in there many times, and when does anybody (PoP praisers or haters) ever got a word from a dev? NEVER.
Second, what would be the point -hope you understand- to register into the blog of a person whose work isnt of your liking? sorry I dont do that, I consider it a contradiction; also, what would be the point to give my nick from the PoP forums? Ben is never there, so you tell me what would be the point? Only to quench your curiosity?... I'm taking responsability of my postings here [I'm replying to you even when I dont need to do so right? after all this is the result of your own conjectures ¬¬; thats responsability IMO, dont try to appeal to me that way, it wont work], and I'm adding my name, I've never remained completely anonymous like others, I'm Martin, and I'll reply decently to everything related to me, period.

So, as I said, I'm on the PoP forums, but since Ben never appears there, I decided to come here -and ask him about that, among other things which are't of any relevance to you- said my opinion (which was a mistake, but I've already corrected it and I'm still waiting for it to appear in here; if it doesnt, then I got a better reply, the one I was really expecting :D).

And finnally, I'll confirm two things: 1-Ive re-posted my first post, and its exactly as the first one, but without the insulting swearings, still waiting for it to appear, and maybe with a reply.
2-I dont have the minor intention of taking part of that "flamewar", thats just not me, and I dont care what other people thinks, I'm here just to ask something particular to Ben Mattes and no one else, not to discuss with his fans and defenders, so, I'll kindly ask you to mind your own business and to read correctly next time before jumping to comclussions and thinking someone could've insulted you. I dont care about your person, with all due respect. Cheers.

Mr Martin... or just plain Martin if will make you feel comfortable or better. Goodbye.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Mornegroth said...

Directed at Simba:


Uh, I dont wanna try to create any kinda of war or something near it, but, one simple question though.
You're Simba right? Are you using a different nick over here, lol?
Care to share it? :)

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I think Martin came to the wrong place to discuss about PoP Game.

He even came to the wrong place to talk about games.

Because the blog headline mentions
"state of the industry","business"
"production","marketing" and "interactive entertainment"

It does not mention GAME at all which gives a clue on what is going on here.

4:13 AM  

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