Since its E3 2018 unveiling, Just Cause 4 has been touted by Avalanche Studios as the most ambitious entry in the series yet. Fans will apparently notice this in the open-world’s scale and Avalanche’s emphasis on story. According to Game Director Francesco Antolini, none of this would be possible without the development team’s being a cohesive unit. Great studios, Antolini suggested, are born out of a team’s commitment to each other and the product.
In an interview for Official Xbox Magazine‘s December 2018 issue, Antolini spoke of Just Cause’s evolution. More importantly, he disclosed how the studio culture at Avalanche has contributed to the franchise’s many improvements. Antolini told the publication,
I joined Avalanche as Lead Designer on Just Cause 3, contributing to the opening of the then-new New York studio. The biggest learning from that experience has been in regards to the processes and ways to work together–and that getting that right is a first, fundamental step in making a studio a great studio. History can confirm that: successful and long-living studios are usually defined by a core team that has stuck together throughout the years, and sometimes by the fact that the team has focused on perfecting a single original IP or idea. The fact that Just Cause 4 packs more than four times the scope and far deeper mechanics of its predecessors tells us a lot about how changes in processes and mindset can actually benefit both creativity and production.
Earlier in the interview, Antolini detailed exactly what these changes mean for Just Cause 4. For starters, Avalanche abandoned “the shopping list style” of Just Cause 2 and Just Cause 3. The team has instead crafted a system to better serve player autonomy. Moreover, Just Cause 4’s gameplay systems are simultaneously “grounded in Solís’ narrative and Rico’s motivations.”
If these seemingly drastic changes are indeed the product of team-building existing at the forefront for Avalanche, Just Cause 4 is all the more impressive. Four entries into an established franchise, and the studio continues to find ways of bettering both themselves and the product. It’s admirable, to say the least.
After weeks of reports about poor working conditions at Telltale Games, news of a studio establishing a positive working environment at the outset helps shed further light on an aspect of the industry that’s often overlooked. People, normal everyday people, develop video games. And they, like the rest of us, crave a healthy workplace. It’s good to know, based on one account at least, that Avalanche Studios seems committed to this notion.
Avalanche's Working Environment Fundamental to Just Cause Evolution
Fans will get to explore Just Cause 4’s Solís on December 4, 2018.
[Source: Official Xbox Magazine via GamingBolt]