- Dec 11, 2018
Yup, the site and the author is legit - guy worked for years in the biggest gaming mag in Poland.
Interesting article, feels like something Jason Schreier could haver written, but in Polish. Conflicts inside the studio, crunch, multiple points of view. Now...
There is nothing in this article about Chris Avellone forcing people to work late into the night. As a matter of fact there is very little about him at all - he is not the focus. What's there is to simply say that the story he has written for the game does not seem to fit the type of game Techland is making. It was apparently deep, empathetic and layered. It's mentioned Avellone provided something akin to Fallout New Vegas quests with a lot of branching which a source in the article says was just too complicated and therefore simplified.
What I get from this article is that Avellone himself is not quite in the know of what's actually happening inside the studio.
Read the article. Basically devs are saying that Techland’s owner Paweł Marchewka is constantly changing everything and adding stuff without really thinking "geez ,will this shit even work?". He is also at odds with Avallone since his idea for quests/story doesn’t line up with what Avellone is presenting.
This article reads quite sensationalistic and all over the place but hell I can write some points out for whoever is interested:
- lack of story, gameplay direction, allegedly constantly changing; no vertical slice still
- Avellone's script has been diluted by the execs - psychological depth and many multilayered interactions between fractions has been short changed for a typical run of the mill story and quest structure
- Work between Avellone and Ciszewski (director of dying Light) has soured even before initial presentation
- On the other hand Avellone's quest lines written for one of the fractions did not make sense for the game (play? mechanics?) - One dev compares it as if he wrote it for New Vegas
- Ciszewski's name appears to be mentioned a lot in complaints from Techland's team
- Despite being championed in the Techland as someone who's done "a lot of good" for the company, the team is painting a picture of a workaholic who has not been ready for the amount of workload and responsibilities; one mentions hearing him call his teammate a "moron", also calling people late at nights about work even outside of crunch time; a lot of people has been fired or left Techland
- His "design through iteration" (LOL) methods mean that work is never finite, affecting the morale
- Foreign hires from western game dev, very positive reactions from teams
- Contrary to what the start of the article suggest game is in good shape generally, with all elements in place, the problem lies in details and lack of vertical slice that would solidify the gameplay loop. At the same time - there are suggestions that there were vertical slices, though nothing is referencing the state the game is in now
- [I am skipping on information on the details of Techland entering the stock exchange and Microsoft buyout, but the team is generally skeptical about 2020 release]
- mentions of starting work on Fantasy RPG by the Warsaw studio (although I am not sure what does it exactly add to the story imo)
- people are going through crunch to finish off alpha build; a lot of them in hopes of getting lucrative bonuses (internal speculation follows); some hope for improving the Morale with relocating to the new building (the one someone posted here on era about, with a slide into the reception) - although picture of despair, lack of motivation and "we" mentality, rather "them and us" alluding to the distance between execs and lower level employees
- PR sent out emails to the team warning about talking to journalists
- going back to Avellone (wtf is this article tbh) - He DENIES that the work between him and Ciszewski to go sour, talks about working on the project in present tense (although this could be translation issue)
- going back to Ciszewski again - a lot of faith in him by the CEO - someone who is involved in a lot of aspects of the game as well as someone who's advice is being actively sought after by the employees (though the kinds of detailed work described sounds like something verging on micromanaging, likely a source of discontent)
- to conclude the article - just PR talk (literally, from PR people) about the state of the game and that everything is fine. CEO compares the game dev to a living thing and iterative state of design (they seem to love the lingo!). Quote closing the article: "Yes we are still ironing Dying Light 2. But that's how games are made."
And few more morsels from me (btw stuff in brackets is not part of article in case you wondered): Polish LOVE to complain amongst themselves. In the work place? Even more so. This is generalising of course, but reading this I chuckled somewhat because it read slapstick to me personally. This also leads to another point that the quality and tone of the employees' statements read like they were obtained over a beer or few. It is either reflecting back on their lack of professionalism or the journalist's. Even if the moods are low, there is certain mode of communication about your woes about a workplace notwithstanding.
I am also really not sure about the structure and the quality of the story the journalist tried to tell with this apart from the fact people are complaining, and bickering with one another as a result as the game is hitting issues but is coming along either way. But it does discern the fact that individual employees are not in unison on game's general direction or what exactly is going on within the 400 strong team.
The allegations against Ciszewski are quite serious however.
Hope this helps somewhat, and sorry for mistakes, I wrote it on the run pretty much
Nie mają vertical slice’a, nie wierzą, by gra wyszła w tym roku, nie wiedzą, czym właściwie ma ona być… No, przynajmniej niektórzy. Pracownicy Techlandu opowiadają nam o nastrojach w firmie, niezapowiedzianej grze, plotkach o przejęciu przez Microsoft i (braku?) współpracy z Chrisem Avellone’em...