WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN

I just noticed on the Xbox Live Marketplace tonight that the demo for EA’s Grand Slam Tennis 2 is now out. This is the third attempt for EA to get this game out. While I was working on skate 3, I had heard that my brothers and sisters over at Sports label was trying to get this game finished for the Xbox 360 and PS3. We then found out that the execs decided to shelve the game for reasons we weren’t privy to. It was disappointing to see it get shelved since the early builds that I played were quite fun and they seemed pretty far along in the development.

The second attempt to get this game out the door actually involved me. Back when I was hating my time on Fight Night Champion, I was pretty much set on leaving EA. The only thing that would make me stay was working on Grand Slam Tennis 2. Tennis was really the only sports game that EA Canada was making that I was interested in working on. I lobbied hard to get on the team but just not being on the team, I wanted a meaningful game play role instead of piecing together menus. My attempts worked as I was slotted into a preliminary game play engineer role. The team at the time was still being formulated as they were still dusting off the cobwebs from the first time the game was frozen in development. I still had about a month left on Fight Night before I could move onto Tennis full time. Then one day I received news that the execs had decided to once again shelve the game for whatever reason. Some people who were already on the Tennis team got holding the short end of the stick as they had nowhere else to go. Those people got laid off while others were able to go back to their former teams or find other placements. I got stuck back on Fight Night where I continued to feel despair. It was about that time that I pretty much asked my manager to get me on the next layoff list. I got my wish a few weeks later.

They say the third time is the charm and it looks like it will be. I have a former co-worker on the Tennis team and he’s been working on it for a while now. Every time we talked about the project we’d joke about a third shelving of the game. I wonder what it would have been like to work on that game. If I had not asked for a layoff, I would have finished my sentence on Fight Night and I would have probably been put back on Tennis. At the time though, I didn’t know they’d resurrect the game again. Anyways, I tried the demo out and it was as fun as I remembered it, way back in 2010 when the only character in the game was Roger Federer.

Well congrats on the team for shipping Grand Slam Tennis 2, which hits the stores this February. They did what two other teams couldn’t… avoid the executive axe.

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