SPOnG 2006 Poll ? The Developer?s Take

Team 17's Martyn ?Worms? Brown reflects on the year gone by

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SPOnG?s poll of 2006 continues unabated today, with some thoughts on the year just gone and the year ahead of us from two of the UK?s leading games designers as well as the bossman of one of our favourite specialist videogame retailer chains.

First up, we have Martyn Gibbs, Commercial Director of gamer-friendly high street specialist retailer Gamestation and all-round disappointed Charlton Athletic fan.

Next up, Arthur Parsons, Lead Designer at UK games development powerhouse, Traveller?s Tales, the guys behind the awesome Lego Star Wars and Bionicle games.

Last up today, by in no way least, we have some ponderings from Team 17?s Martyn Brown, who should really need little introduction. He?s the genius that designed Worms amongst many other significant gaming achievements.

SPOnG: What are your (gaming and non-gaming) highlights from 2006?

Martyn Gibbs, Commercial Director, Gamestation

  • Wii launch.

  • DS Lite launch.

  • Gears of War

  • The Gamestation yearly conference

  • Iain Dowie getting sacked after the most ridiculous appointment

Arthur Parsons, Lead Designer, Traveller?s Tales

  • The most important highlight of 2006 was definitely Portsmouth Football club managing to stave off relegation and remain in the premiership. So an enormous thankyou to Harry and the gang for that.

  • Finally getting to play the Wii and see just how incredible the machine is. The Wii is all about gameplay which is awesome and I just hope that Nintendo comes through with a steady flow of exclusive titles that really push the platform forward.

  • Playing the finished version of Lego Star Wars 2 was a real highlight. Having been on a different team I only got to look at the game now and again during development, so to sit down with the finished version and play it through to 100% completion was great fun. The Lego Star Wars team did a truly great job.

  • The Leipzig game convention was a fantastic event this year. I have visited E3 and ECTS numerous times over the years, but have never been to Leipzig. The event was fantastic with huge crowds over the course of the show and was easily on par with E3. The greatest thing of all though about the show is that the people coming through the doors are mainly consumers, so you get to see the results of your work live, like an enormous focus test. Leipzig will only go from strength to strength and this really is a show that people should try to get to next year.

  • Completing Bionicle Heroes was another highlight for 2006. We had a very tight timeframe and managed to make a game far better than we set out to in a really short time frame. As such the entire team that worked with me on this deserve a pat on the back. We set out to make a game aimed at young Bionicle fans, a game that this specific market would love, and we achieved that and more.

Martyn Brown, Creative Director, Team 17 Software

  • Gears of War ? 360.

  • Tiger Woods 2007 - 360

  • Everyone's Golf - PSP

  • Loco Roco - PSP.

  • Pretty much everything T17.

SPOnG: Gaming and non-gaming lowlights from 2006?

Martyn Gibbs, Commercial Director, Gamestation

  • Perennial lack of releases during the summer months.

  • Not opening any new stores.

  • Nothing to challenge volumes of GTA.

  • No more E3 as we knew it!

  • Charlton......everything......

Arthur Parsons, Lead Designer, Traveller?s Tales

  • The European delay of PS3 was surely the biggest gaming lowlight. Both Microsoft and Nintendo managed to successfully complete a global rollout of their latest machines, so it was sad to see Sony not managing to do the same, and as ever Europe is the territory to suffer.

  • Finding out that Super Mario Galaxy was not going to make it for the Wii launch. This is the one game I was really looking forward to on the Wii, so the news that it is not going to be out until 2007 was a disappointment.

  • The large scale bickering that surrounded aggressive pricing of
    videogames is something that I found a little depressing. I was elated to see retailers really attacking the market and undercutting each other, which in turn was bringing down prices of games giving gamers a better deal, however it was sad to see that this was met with such a negative reaction in the specialist press.

  • One game that I got stung by was Sonic on 360, sure I had seen the mediocre reviews everywhere, however I've always loved Sonic games, but was really disappointed by this game. It's a real shame as this game and the latest Superman game are both games that really should have been so much better.

  • 2006 saw the pre-owned videogame market increase once again, with some retailers making moves to start their own pre-owned games sections. While this is something that many people may see as a positive thing I really don't. Retailers buy these games in incredibly cheaply from consumers and then sell them on at prices not far short of new versions. Something that consumers do not realize is that the developers and publishers responsible for making the great games that they enjoy playing do not actually benefit at all when pre-owned games are sold. As such this means that less money gets back to the people that actually create and make the games, which in
    turn is bad news for the development scene as less money coming back to the people that make games, means that less risks are taken when creating games, which long term is very detrimental to videogames. Roll on digital distribution ;)

Martyn Brown, Creative Director, Team 17 Software

  • Leeds United's form (and lack of it)

SPOnG: Things you're either looking forward to in 2007 or would like to see?

Martyn Gibbs, Commercial Director, Gamestation

  • PS3.

  • Wii and the development of Nintendo?s unique proposition.

  • GTA IV and Halo 3.

  • Opening new stores.

  • Development of our Remote Shopping function.

Arthur Parsons, Lead Designer, Traveller?s Tales

  • Super Mario Galaxy is definitely something I am excited about for 2007. I am sure that the game will be incredible.

  • I loved God of War and can't wait to play God of War 2. I really can't wait to dish out some serious pain as Kratos early next year.

  • Following on from the studios phenomenal success with Lego Star Wars the next game from the Bafta award winning team is Lego Batman. I am lucky enough to now be working with that team on Lego Batman, so am looking forward to a hard year working on this as the game is already shaping up to be as good if not better than LSW2.

  • I think 2007 is going to be a sensational year for British game
    development, the UK really is where the best developers in the world are located. It will also be a fantastic year for Travellers Tales as we are moving into our new state of the art offices in the centre of Knutsford. This really sees the start of the next phase for the company which is something we are all really excited about.

  • I am looking forward to Portsmouth carrying on their great start to the season, and hopefully managing to secure a European place. I gladly take top ten, but the way that Harry has the lads playing I hope they can go one better and finish 6th.

Martyn Brown, Creative Director, Team 17 Software

  • Wii

  • PS3

  • Leeds winning a game or two

SPOnG: What two gifts would you most like to see in your Xmas stocking next Monday morning?

Martyn Gibbs, Commercial Director, Gamestation

  • Another Wii controller, tennis is pretty dull by yourself.

  • Any of Girl's Aloud (but not the ginger one......), so they can play me at Wii Tennis.

Arthur Parsons, Lead Designer, Traveller?s Tales

  • I am actually hoping to have some great downtime rather than anything material, so perhaps a large bag of freetime would be a fantastic drop off from old saint nic. My partner also works at Travellers Tales so it will be nice to just relax away from work and spend some quality time together with our daughter.

  • I am hoping that santa brings me the wireless adaptor for the 360. I'm in the process of swapping my living room and dining room around, and as such my 360 is moving away from my router, so I need the wireless adaptor to connect to my wireless network in the house and avoid ridiculous drilling through walls.

Martyn Brown, Creative Director, Team 17 Software

  • Peace and quiet.

  • Zelda for Wii

SPOnG: What do you plan to be doing at 4pm on Xmas day this year?

Martyn Gibbs

  • Packing for my hols 

Arthur Parsons

  • Once Christmas dinner is out of the way and we've cleared up then I want to settle down and play Viva Pinata with my better half and daughter (assuming that santa brings me the game;))

Martyn Brown

  • Sleeping/shaking hangover off.


Martyn Brown 29 Dec 2006 14:13
I'd have offered a bit more if I knew that's what you guys wanted :) The mail said "a few words" :-)

BTW I wasn't solely responsible for Worms either, just for the record. Thanks for digging out an old photo and happy new year!
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