How many people does it take to make a game? Apparently more than seems rational in some cases.
I know I spent a good deal of last week slagging on Resident Evil, but I honestly am a fan of the franchise. I thoroughly enjoyed the Gamecube remake of the original, and I played the crap out of Resident Evil 4 (even though it's not strictly speaking what I'd consider a survival horror game). I haven't played RE5, which is one of those things I suppose I should get around to doing, but when the recent trailer for the sixth instalment of the series came around recently I couldn't help but get somewhat enthusiastic. I know that trailers are always embellished and to not get too far ahead of myself, but so far Resident Evil 6 is looking like a solid entry into the lucrative franchise.
That's neither here nor there though, because as I read on Friday via Destructoid, the game is arguably the largest one in Capcom's history. Hell, it might be one of the largest period; and that's because Resident Evil 6 has a staff of some 600 frigging people behind it.
The mind kind of boggles at that number. Well, at least mine certainly does.
I'm not an expert, but surely there have been many things created with less people. I'm thinking that even things like Hollywood blockbusters and hit television shows have less of a staff than Resident Evil 6. Perhaps it's not a fair comparison, but I think that it's one that should honestly be made even in spite of that unfairness.
Truth be told, I'm actually kind of worried. No doubt games these days are getting larger and larger production staffs -- I think Metal Gear Solid 4 had around 400; seriously what's with taking the series number and adding two zeroes to the end of it? -- but surely there must be a limit to how many people can be putting their fingers into the pie before it just becomes a huge mess that everyone is blaming everyone else for.
Let me put it this way: when a game has a small or even medium sized production staff you can (and honestly should) expect some form of continuity. Perhaps one guy was in charge of enemy placement, or a team that developed all the on-rails levels, or someone whose only job was to scatter the various secret goodies around the entire thing. When one person or group is doing a job you can learn to expect certain elements: what will be there, what won't be. You won't go into a level and be blindsided by something you weren't expecting, because everyone -- yourself included -- eventually gets on the same page.
With a production staff so large, I worry that people might work for a little bit on one thing, then pass it on to the next team, which have their own ideas, which then passes it on to person Y who changes this some of the time but not others. You can see my point here; I'm relatively sure that they'll iron out the largest inconsistencies, but with so many people doing so much there's going to be stuff that gets shuffled around and lost track of.
Maybe I'm wrong. I actually sincerely hope so. I want Resident Evil 6 to be good. But when there's so many people I just get a little antsy that there's going to be a lot of voices vying to be heard, and that the resulting chaos will render nothing good.