Photo by Lars Mårtensson (DICE)
"Game development creates unique bonds"
Creative DirectorDICE veteran Lars Gustavsson practically has Battlefield running through his veins. Having worked on nearly every Battlefield game since the first prototype, he knows what it takes to keep the job stimulating: The right company with the right people, and a never ending urge to learn and improve.
“Working at DICE means every day is a creative challenge that you can’t say no to. We are all very competitive and want to improve both our processes and games, so we never really rest. With cycles of one to three years per game, we change a lot of how we work from project to project. After thirteen years in this industry, I have lots of experience but sometimes feel like a rookie since I learn new things every day.
Living with these challenges and possibilities can be a lot of pressure, but it’s made easy thanks to the great people in the studio. Game development creates unique bonds with the people around you, and my colleagues at DICE all have extremely strong drives to make nothing but great things.
My role as Creative Director is different depending on where we are in the process, but I generally focus on asking the right questions. Early on, I define the game with the team and then follow up on it as production proceeds. At that point, I’m the archetypal designer, finding the edge for our game and the reason to invest time and money into it.
When we start building the game, I lean more into a designer/producer role where I follow up on our designs. It’s a service role that gathers input and refines the concept based on that input. I need to be up to date on every aspect of the game to make sure that art, code, audio and all other elements support and enrich the game, rather than detracts from it. Then, once we start wrapping up, I become something in between designer/producer and customer control, as I work hard to make sure we ship a high quality experience.
Another exciting part of my job is to look at the bigger picture. How do we build games today and where do we need to go in order to keep delivering high quality titles? What’s the process for prototyping? How do we validate if a feature works or not? How do we learn from previous mistakes? It doesn’t always help to work harder. Sometimes you need to work smarter. That’s what’s going to help us do this again and again, while still enjoying our work.
I wonder how many professions there are out there where you get to accomplished something that will entertain millions of fans for years to come? And I get to be part of these projects from the first design documents to the final marketing road trip and the feedback from the community. That is truly amazing.”