Not everyone dreams of being at the helm of an MMO cruise ship, but it’s fair to say that most video game developers want to have a hand in guiding the journey of their respective enterprises. A studio equipped with near-infinite resources may be able to support a large team on a trip to the stars, but a smaller group of schooners can do the job with a bit more agility and excitement.
Working on Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is an incredible team experience for a number of reasons. Chief among these is the ability to tap into a love for the source material, which is shared across all of the departments at Visionary Realms. As a group of seasoned MMO developers and fans, we’re able to share an enthusiasm that could otherwise get lost in the mix of a larger team that, by necessity, would be required to step outside of its respective genre to move a project along. Commensurately, every aspect of Pantheon that gets touched - from crafting new game regions to sharing the latest screens with our community - is met with the same excitement as playing the latest build.
As a comparatively small team, we’re able to navigate our fleet of schooners with more flexibility than what’s become the norm for MMO development. Extending the already-tenuous nautical analogy, a cruise ship can make a huge amount of progress in one direction, but is found wanting when the need arises to turn on a dime. When problems arise, as they inevitably do, the team here is able to triage them quickly, setting a new course that takes us closer to our target, with minimal amount of impact to our development process.
Part of what makes game development work with such a small team is a continual reinforcement of communication and collaboration. Our Skype channels are veritable beehives of conversation at all hours of the day, given the multitude of time zones represented by the group. We’re constantly talking about what we can do better, and how we can streamline our workflows to be even more efficient. We share a commitment to collaboration rather than competition, with the explicit knowledge that if we’re each not able to roll up our sleeves and get scrappy, no one else is going to pick up the slack for us.
Working on a game like Pantheon is as close to the metal as a fan of the MMO genre can get. From participating in focused playtests, to collaborating with members from various departments, to interfacing with our extremely dedicated and vibrant community, every step of the journey is filled with learning and reward. It’s an expedition to which all of us are committed for the long haul, and we can’t wait to share each milestone with you as we get closer to our destination.