INTERVIEW: Glen Schofield, Sledgehammer Games

On day one of the NASSCOM Game Developer Conference, we caught up with Glen Schofield, vice president of Sledgehammer Games (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3), who spoke to us about the state of the gaming industry, the free-to-play revenue model, mobile gaming, and more.

MCV: What made you move from Visceral to Sledgehammer Games?

Glen Schofield: It was a natural progression of my career. I had run studios like Crystal Dynamics before, but what I really wanted to do was build one from scratch. I really liked Acitvision’s independent studio model and their culture of letting your own studio grow as opposed to other companies that buy studios out and assimilate them into their culture. So for me, it was the best of both worlds. I could make a studio and didn’t have the financial burden of building one.

MCV: What was Sledgehammer’s role in Modern Warfare 3?

Schofield: We were very instrumental in the single-player campaign. We also worked on Call of Duty: Elite even though it was built by Activision’s Beachhead Studios.

MCV: Are you planning on sticking with the Call of Duty franchise or are you working on a new IP?

Schofield: All I can say right now is that I’m working on a new Call of Duty game.

MCV: You mentioned during your keynote address that you were disappointed when one of your games scored 70 on Metacritic. Was that game Dante’s Inferno?

Schofield: No, that was 007: From Russia with Love.

MCV: What are your thoughts on Dante’s Inferno? Why do you think the game wasn’t positively received?

Schofield: I was the GM at Visceral Games during Dante’s Inferno, but I wasn’t the executive producer. With regards to the reception, it was a couple of things, the first being leadership. Another important factor was that they decided they were going to make a game at 60 frames per second as opposed to 30. I didn’t think that was the right decision. I thought they should have stayed at 30 because it just changes what the game looks like. At the same time, God of War 3 went from 60frames per second to 30 and that looked unbelievable.

MCV: What are your thoughts on the free-to-play (F2P) revenue model that’s sweeping across the industry now?

Schofield: I think some of the companies switch to that model because they’ve already made an investment in a game, but it’s not making any money. They have nothing to lose. There is a place for it, but what I see sometimes is it being used as a last ditch effort. That being said, it has worked well for some companies. However, I don’t know how long it can last given the cost of development.

MCV: What do you think of the game development scene in India? Do you find it too mobile-centric? Do you foresee the transition to big budget console games?

Schofield: I think some (developers) will. I think the other guys will become very successful developing mobile games and since technology is improving at such a rapid pace, why not stay on it? If you become a middle road guy, you’re not making any money at it and then you really should assess what you’re doing for a living.

If I was successful with the mobile or iPad games, I would strive to be number one or two at it. I think if you have an expertise in something, you need to stick with it and grow it until you become number one. Most importantly, don’t look down on mobile games. The potential is just amazing. Think about it, you could have half a billion people playing your game someday, and as an entertainer, I just want to entertain as many people as I can.

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