Usually when a game I worked on is released, I make sure that I get a retail copy so that I can play it soon after its on store shelves. The latest game to have my name on it was Fight Night Champion. Though it was released at the beginning of March of this year, I only just received a playable copy of the game tonight. EA honoured my request and laid me off before FNC was done. When the game shipped, they sent me my plaque and a copy of the game. Unfortunately, it was the PS3 version of the game and I don’t own a PS3. I gave that copy to a friend. My desire to see my handiwork in action was never very high for FNC. I’ve written about this before but my time on FNC was not very enjoyable. I felt very little respect from the other engineers on my team and I was doing the game development equivalent of digging a ditch as my main responsibility. As you might imagine, I wasn’t in a hurry to throw a copy of FNC into my Xbox 360. I must be clear though, my attitude towards the game is no reflection on the quality of the game itself. FNC managed to get an 86 Metacritic score which is a great accomplishment. None of my work on the game helped to get that score… ’cause you know, digital ditch digging.
Like I mentioned above though, I finally managed to snag a copy of the game tonight. The first thing I did was to go look at the credits. Was that a bit vain? Perhaps. The reason I wanted to see the credits was because I wanted to know what category they would slot my name under. Usually, a game’s credits will have a category for “Additional Programming”. This is reserved for people who aren’t formally on the team but might have contributed a small amount of engineering work. Even putting in a weekend’s worth of work can get your name into that list. I was on the FNC team from April of 2010 to October 2010. Because I got booted (at my request) from the company, I was afraid they’d stick me under “Additional Programming” for seven months of work (which is a substantial amount of time). To my relief and to EA’s credit though, they included my name in the main list of software engineers. So if you look at the credits for FNC, you’ll see my name mixed up with the names of the engineers who actually did the important work.
It’s sad how my attitude towards FNC is in stark contrast to my absolute enthusiasm for my first Xbox 360 title, skate. For that game, I would have told anyone on the street that I worked on it. I bought many copies of skate. and gave them away to friends because I was so proud of what I had helped make with so many amazing people. Man, I think I know how Cuba Gooding Jr. feels like now. Fear not though, loyal readers, Prototype 2 is going to be pretty good. Stay tuned for that.