New IP creators in Smilegate Barcelona : ②Ricard Pillosu (SGB Head of … 2020-08-19
Smilegate recently opened a studio, Smilegate Barcelona which flagship project will be an open-world AAA console title. Many talented developers are joining the studio. Please meet Ricard Pillosu, head of Tech @ Smilegate Barcelona and find out more about the new AAA title.
[Interview] Ricard Pillosu, SGB Head of Tech
Q. You have a remarkable career. Can you tell us about yourself?
Since I was a kid I have been interested in computers games, be it my old Commodore 64, Amiga, then all 386/486 and so on. During my time at the university, I maintained a MUD (text-based online RPG) server for other students to play in, I felt it was a great opportunity for escapism and fantasy. When I got the chance to formally study videogames, I finished a Master’s degree and entered the industry. While at Crytek, I mixed my passion for coding with my love for growing teams, up until directing the development of Ryse. Back in Spain, I decided to help the UPC University to create a formal degree in videogame programming, until Smilegate asked to come back to AAA, and here I am!
Q. Is there a particular reason that you joined Smilegate Barcelona (SGB)? What made you decide to join the studio?
Smilegate philosophy of quality first was what convinced me to come back to AAA. Many studios nowadays take the easy route to money and profit, forgetting that the long journey to quality will always create unexpected benefits down the road: People will associate Smilegate to the time they immerse in a fantasy world because, at the end of the day, it is us transforming them in heroes when they turn on the console after a hard day work.
Q. Your career in Crytek is outstanding. What was your most memorable work, experience in Crytek?
Back in 2009, I remember spending a year creating a game with a very committed team with perfect synergy and great teamwork spirit. Unleashed their creativity and witness how amazing the results were was an energetic experience every day. At Smilegate we will do that and much better!
Q. You also lectured at a university. What did you teach and how was it like to teach compared to programming?
While programming is about the craft of getting the computer to do what you want, teaching is not about results but the spirit. I found that my end goal was not to transmit knowledge, but foster the passion of the beautiful art of programming. Once the students started to have fun, they would not need me anymore.
Q. You have such a great career. Is there anything that you would like to tell the junior game developers? Such as attitude, the talent that a developer should have and the most crucial part that you think in game development.
Be driven by results and not perfectionism. Greatness never comes from ideas but from the execution of them: it is better to do 12 games in a year that one best-game-ever (that you probably will never finish anyway). On the social part, expose yourself to smarter people than you, listen without judging, grab inspiration from indie games, classical art, board games, sports events. Videogames are everywhere if you look close.
Q. How do you plan to develop the new title in SGB? Can you share your plans?
Building the team is the first, and probably the most, important challenge to begin with: a mixture of seniors from the industry with ambition, given enough time to establish a culture of transparency and trust. With that brain pool, we will start finding the answers to our interesting challenges: how to deal with the new generation on consoles hardware? What about Unreal 5? How long until the Stadia model works for the mass public? I’m very excited about the new opportunities these new technologies can bring.
Q. Any other words that you would like to add?
Making AAA is hard, takes a lot of time and faith. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish Smilegate as the new big player in the AAA world, creating a community of players that will be transported to our new world, and exceed their expectations. We can take the industry by surprise and create that game that people will try to copy in the years to come. We have the time, the people and the technology, it is time now to deliver.