Let's talk Starfield and a Capstone update
Yes I know it's October as you read this, but the last day of September fell on a Saturday, and it seemed weird to post not during a work week. Anyways on with the blog.
A month has gone by already, that's crazy. If you checked out my blog last month, thanks for reading. If this is your first time here, welcome. This month, I wanted to talk about Starfield. I haven't had the time to play the game myself personally because I want to be able to devote a lot of time when I do. Although I have been reading articles on it, listening to podcasts, and watching YouTube videos on the game. Whether you love the main story, side quests, and characters in the game. Perhaps you hate the menus and loading screens that pull you out of the immersion. There's one thing I think we can all agree on. It's a BIG game.
As I mentioned last month, the point of this blog is to talk about the games industry and provide my thoughts on it and when I can try to look at a topic through a production lens. This is to give any potential recruiters out there an insight into how I think as a producer.
Let's take a look at Starfield's development. Before Starfield began the previous game was Fallout 4 and the last piece of content for it was released in 2017. However, even though Fallout 4 was ending production in 2015 and moving into post-production with fixes and DLC, in an article from Gamerant by Cameron Lucas, "Starfield is alleged to have entered production directly following that game’s release back in 2015."
If I'm looking at this through a production lens, and looking at the production timeline, I would say that Starfield preproduction presumably began around that time if not a year before. I would think that production, meaning all, or at the least a majority of Bethesdas resources, would've been going into Starfield by 2018 once the final piece of DLC had been released for Fallout 4 and resources were able to be transitioned over from Fallout to Starfield. Now that the games released, again if I were to assume a production lens, it will now be moving into post-production, with any bug fixing, and DLC.
I think from a production standpoint since the game was in development, by that I mean full production, not including the 3 years of preproduction, for let's say 5 years for a nice number, 8 years of development now in total. The sheer amount of road mapping, re-doing road mapping, and removing numerous roadblocks would be astronomical. With the amount of people who worked on Starfield all across the world, how would I handle that challenge as a producer? Break it down. Start with a wide view of the overall timeline pre-pro to post-pro 2015-2023. Start by looking at the first year and figure out what the milestones are in prepro. Build around that and break the year down month by month. Year two, and year three, do the same thing. Include breaks because your team needs them, include buffer times because things will go wrong, and document everything as best you can. If a member of the production team came to me with a question about another team or where we are overall in the state of the project I have to be prepared to answer and if I don't know the answer, say so. But add I'm going to find that answer for you.
I hope to play Starfield as soon as I can. I'm sure more thoughts, viewpoints, and questions I have as an aspiring producer will come about. For now, I hope anyone reading enjoyed the conversation and some thoughts on how I'd assume to view Starfield's timeline. If any producers from Bethesda want to give any insight or help me learn as an aspiring producer I'd love feedback on my thought process of its development as well. Shoutout again to Cameron Lucas from Gamerant who inspired this month's discussion be sure to give his article a read: https://gamerant.com/starfield-development-2023-update-delay-xbox-game-pass/
I've talked a little bit about my assumed thoughts of how a production in Starfield has gone, now how about I share an experience of my own? As I mentioned last month I have the pleasure to be the Lead Producer for one of my University's game capstone teams. I've been doing road mapping, sprint planning, documenting meeting notes, facilitating communication between departments, JIRA management, editing spreadsheets, and having scope conversations to name a few things. I love every second of it. As of a week ago we hit our first milestone and were able to showcase the core gameplay of our project with flying colors. The team I get to work with is phenomenal. We'll be conducting a post-mortem this week to discuss how development went during our first sprint. I look forward to being able to document the bad, and the good, and what to keep an eye on as we move forward. There are two more sprints planned between our next milestone and the end of October.
That isn't to say there hasn't been some confusion this last month because there has been, but making sure to identify that confusion and come up with solutions to try to resolve those problems has been a big focus for me when that arises. This allows us all to have the same vision so not only can we all create a game we're all proud of, but it will allow us all to point to an item on our portfolios and show an impressive feat that we contributed to individually.
I hope you enjoyed a little update on this project and I look forward to sharing more on Project Lost Water in the months ahead. That's all for September. I hope you enjoyed reading and I look forward to writing to you all again at the end of October.
Thanks for reading and take care of yourselves. -Kadin