This tale is about a project - not the project I was on, but Project Disaster, our publisher’s “other” project. The big budget, popular-movie-licensed, high-profile developer attached title.
Project Disaster was a black hole. Its waves of destruction rippled through anything and anyone nearby, turning people to empty husks, and decimating any other projects the publisher had. We were one such project, watching all of this from the sidelines. Like a particularly nasty crash, all you could do was watch.
Xbox Live was still in its infancy, and to make the experience fun for players, our team thought it would be great to add the online features (back before the 360, setting up things like friends lists, matchmaking and so on were optional, and up to the developer). While hooking it up was fairly painless, and initially testing was okay, Project Disaster had suddenly turned its steely gaze upon US.
Our external testers all but disappeared within a matter of days - all redirected onto Project Disaster in a sorry attempt to try and discover the tsunami of problems it had. This left us - three testers - comically on our own, trying to test an online game that supported up to 8 player simultaneous online play. We tried our best, but when there’s three of you trying to find out all possible outcomes for an online game, you’re bound to miss a few things.
Our project didn’t review too well. But at least we did better than Project Disaster.