News Developers Diary, Part 5: Growing Up

Kirill Yudintsev, Creative Director of Gaijin Entertainment:

Over the course of 6 years we revisited the project idea several times.

Once, we were asked to create fitness equipment (at the end of 2004-2005, when Wii Fit was yet unheard of). However, the project was intended for fitness centers and involved high costs that might never return due to the small size of the target audience.

We were also asked to make a project for shopping malls (such projects – butterflies, football, and so on – were later realized many times). However, the project wasn’t a full-fledged game but more like the project that inspired us. Clients wanted us to involve flying, which was technically impossible: the technology worked well with an ordinary camera, provided that there was a static background behind the player, not people walking back and forth.

After a while, we were contacted by a talented team that was creating a new type of camera; it was able to interpret 3D information as well as color. It was very cool and just what we needed for our game. However, they were interested in mass production, so we advised them to contact Microsoft (Sony already had its EyeToy) and to remember us as well. It turned out that they were already trying to negotiate with Microsoft at the time. Our communication continued for a while, and we received an SDK and a project description (I don’t remember whether it actually came down to hardware), but, in the end, no project resulted. By the way, they did succeed, and now we have Kinect.

Meanwhile, I went back to the issue of game design several times.

In 2005, I saw Cloud – a great game made by the team that later created Flower.

It was just what we needed. I used the idea, removing the features that I considered unnecessary (in Cloud, the player had to fly to the clouds to save the environment by pushing buttons to drag clouds with him). In my game, the player just had to fly, touching clouds and bringing them to life. I guess Jenova Chen had the same idea, because Flower doesn’t involve pushing any buttons.

In addition, I experimented with rhythm-game design.

The newly designed game was supposed to be a meditational, esoteric journey.

Flight of Fancy 2005-2008

Flight of Fancy 2005-2008

Flight of Fancy 2005-2008

Meanwhile, we became the largest console game developer in Russia, having released several highly acclaimed projects for PS3/Xbox 360 and over a dozen games for PC in all genres – action/slasher (Х-blades), flight sim (IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey), racing (Anarchy Racing), casual games (Mahjong Artifact and Stand O’Food), and even shooters, RPGs, and strategy games (which were also successful).

 

Apache: Air Assault

IL-2:Sturmovik: Birds of Prey

Xblades

Anarchy: Rush Hour

Later, Kinect and Move were announced. At the moment we were finishing a project for Activsion (Apache Air Assault); however, I realized at once that the moment of glory for our own child, who has since grown and taken shape, was near – we finally were able to complete the project from start to finish and bring it to the gaming community.