Intrepid BoLS reader Gotthammer was on the case. Here’s what he gleaned from the Studio Seminar:
via the BoLS Lounge:
In regards to new races they asked “raise your hand if you feel your army is laggin behind in attention?” and used the fair number of hands to illustrate the more pressing need to update the current crop of Codexes first.
– Adam did go on to mention Necrons and Dark Angels as two in need of help, but it didn’t sound particularly to indicate any info on forthcoming releases.
– Phil commented he would change the Court of the Archon and Dias of Destruction if he could in Codex Dark Eldar. The Court was at one point planned for a boxed set so you’d have to buy one of each so it made sense to have it that way. The Dias was a last minute job, and needed more tweaking.
He also mentioned changing the Decapitator and making some units better and some worse, but no specifics on why.
– In regards to supplements like Cities of Death and Planetstrike they said the designers used tose as a change of pace or a reward “like desert”, and they wanted to do more.
– This led into a discussion about global campaigns. They are limited as they can’t have huge ones that change the universe as the results might mess up the story – Adam specifically mentioned that the results for Medusa V were not what they expected. The questioner brought up that it helps get gamers involved in the universe by having a shared goal. They did ask who would be interested and got a strong positve response.
– There was talk about the design process and how ideas come about. Phil said they are trying to change the process from “you will design this” coming from above to a constant stream of pitching ideas and having a more free-flowing creativity.
They have a giant whiteboard where the studio just put up ideas for anything and get feedback and response on it. Assignments are generally given to the most eager studio member as they’ll put the most work in, “and lots of unpaid overtime”. There is however competition, including knife fights in the carpark, for some jobs so they painted the studio as very free-flowing.
– Someone asked about FAQs, and the reply indicated there’s an assistant designer who is chiefly responsible for them all.
– On playtesting, Adam used the example that for High Elves he personally played 40 games, recording the results, as well as other studio members, White Dwarf guys, “their external playtesting group”, and other in-house team members.
There was no fixed amount done though, and it is an elastic amount.
– When asked what they thought on balance, the reply was having a tough but fun game where it could have gone either way at any point. They did acknowledge that they sometimes screwed up, and that they all find it terribly embarrasing.
– A question was asked about release schedules, with Dark Eldar getting more models while some armies are still waiting (this got a chorus of “Tyranids!” from the audience). The reply was that they were changing to try and do a single major release for as much as possible with only some Special Characters being delayed as they can be troublesome to get right. Ogre Kingdoms was used as the example of this.
– Phil then went on to talk about how they won’t be re-treading Forge World, and the Mournfang are distinct creatures from the Rhinox riders. Forge World is there to flesh out the fringes and add depth was they way it was put, and they do their own thing.
– Jervis reads every letter he gets sent, and tells everyone in the studio about them. Adam did a Jervis impersonation for effect.
– Phil and Adam talked about production time of a codex. Dark Eldar was around five years of dev time, but the actual writing takes much less time, a few months or so. Most codexes take around three years from initiation to publisher.
– Talking with Adam and a guy who collected Dark Angels, the DA player commented on how he’d like to get all the Land Raider variants / Storm Raven etc. Adam replied that his design philosophy is to not do that, to avoid homogeny across the Marine ranges.
If he was to do DA, he’d instead focus on making Deathwing and Ravenwing more unique. His specific example was that Ravenwing used to get the Tornado Land Speeder, but now everyone does, so he’d go in that direction more than just giving them everyone else’s toys. He was talking purely hypothetical – don’t take it as a hint of future releases!
~Thanks to Gotthammer (check out his blog for even more) and the BoLS Lounge thread for more info and commentary. Have at it.