Now that it's The Future and it's suddenly trendy to dump on LOST, this seems like the perfect occasion to haul out a truly awful metaphor: I am Ben Linus, and I've just turned the big stone wheel and woken up three years later in Tunisia. Wearing a parka.
But it's kinda what it feels like. One moment, I'm just cruising along in the relative calm after Far Cry 2 hits the shelves, enjoying some actual work-life balance and getting ready to present at GDC 2009, not just one, but TWO sessions! (Hey, at least the barks talk was sort of practical. And short.) Somewhere, right around the time I board the plane from YUL to SFO feeling excited about the Next Thing I'm scheduled to work on with Clint and Alex and LP... ZOT! There's a purple flash and suddenly I'm sitting in a crowded meeting room mostly full of complete strangers and they're all staring at me like they're waiting for me to say something helpful and then my desk has moved and I'm back in crunch and somehow I'm working on the co-op mode of some other thing, and... Oh hang on. Somewhere along the line, I seem to have been given a new job. Oh, and my hair has turned grey. It's like that Jennifer Garner movie you might have watched in-flight that one time.
And. That's how you make a year disappear. A few months at a time, a unit of measurement unique to the game industry, and known by its technical term: Additional Polish.
The cool part is, a game came out of it. Specifically Splinter Cell: Conviction, and its Co-Op and Deniable Ops modes.