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Developers must change how publishers think, says EA producer

Reid Schneider, senior producer at EA Montréal, has said he believes it's up to developers to make sure their voices are heard - and to change their publisher's point of view.

Reid Schneider, senior producer at EA Montrîal, has said he believes it's up to developers to make sure their voices are heard - and to change their publisher's point of view.

Schneider's comments came in a speech at the Montrîal Games Summit in which he and design director Vanderlei Caballero discussed the challenges of creating original IP with reference to EA's forthcoming co-op shooter, Army of Two.

"It's your job, whatever position you have on the team, to change the way your publisher thinks," Schneider told the audience.

"Show them, don't tell them, what they're going to get. Don't hand them a stack of paper, because they're not going to read it... And probably most importantly, don't take no for an answer. If you really believe in your idea, if you really think your idea's good enough, then someone else will as well."

Schneider went on to discuss whether or not development teams need creative directors, stating, "At EA Montreal, we pride ourselves on not having these people.

"Fundamentally, creative directors are measured on the amount of ideas that they generate that actually go into the game. So there's an inherent contradiction here.

"These people below have tons of great ideas, they have great ideas every day... The problem is that sometimes when these ideas get pushed up to the creative director, they get X'd out. And that's exactly what you don't want to see - because if that's happening, the best ideas aren't going into your new IP," he added.

At EA Montreal, Schneider explained, "The way we work is we have a core team of management that basically comes together, and we look at a problem, we look at a game design, whatever it is, and that group gets together and makes that decision.

However, Schneider didn't dismiss the value of the role completely. "I'm not going to say that the position of creative director isn't going to work in some places; it will. For some places, it's great," he said.

"I'm saying for us, and for building new IP, we haven't been successful with that. We find that to get the best ideas out of the whole team, we need to work in this kind of way."

He went on to say that studios should "encourage crazy people", something that's "a practice every day inside EA Montreal".

"Make those people believe and get the whole team around your ideas," he stated.

"Take the best ideas from wherever they come from - animators, engineers, designers, whatever it is. Encourage those people; make them take ownership in the project. And that's how you're going to get them to really enjoy what they're working on."

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Ellie Gibson


Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.