Dreadnought moves into the next development phase with all ongoing development being moved to Six Foot headquarters in Houston, TX.
The original concept of Dreadnought from Yager has evolved over the last few years with development and support from both Yager in Berlin and Six Foot Games in Houston. Now that we are nearing the completion of our core development cycle Yager will be moving on and Six Foot Games will be taking the helm for all future content and live operation efforts here at the Six Foot headquarters in Houston, Texas. This has been planned since Q3 of 2017 to ensure a smooth transition; we are happy to see Yager moving into their new development round with “The Cycle” and we congratulate them on the creation of another original IP.
Over the past year Six Foot Games has expanded our development resources and focus under game director Mike Donatelli. During that time the team has grown to well over Sixty Developers and has allowed us the benefit of having both Dreadnoughts game development and live services groups in one central location and time zone. The shift in effort is something both Yager and Six Foot Games have been preparing for, as we continued to bring Dreadnought players creative and consistent content as we enter the Q3 2018 release window for Dreadnoughts Steam launch.
Recently, we sat down with Mike Donatelli and YAGER CEO Timo Ullmann to ask a few questions players may have about this announcement.
Did the creative idea/vision that led to Dreadnought originate with YAGER? If so, why should players trust Six Foot to carry that vision without YAGER’s involvement moving forward?
Timo: The initial idea for Dreadnought was conceived by YAGER and we have been developing it further ever since the beginning. Creative leads of Six Foot were brought into the project early on. It was and has always been a collaborative and fruitful effort with both sides working and thinking in lockstep.
Mike: For example, since the start of 2018 there have been content and features released in Dreadnought that have come from Six Foot as a part of co-development efforts that have been ramping up for some time. The process has been seamless and most players wouldn’t have noticed.
What is the reason for this change in development?
Timo: The idea for Dreadnought was created in 2012 already while it was a team effort together with Six Foot that made it possible to bring it in front of the players. As an independent studio YAGER is constantly cooking up new concepts. And this is also what we had always been doing in parallel while bringing Dreadnought to life. So when Six Foot signaled that they were ready to take on more responsibility on Dreadnought, we saw a new window of opportunity opening up to fully focus on the next YAGER game. We took our time to prepare a smooth transition process and we knew Dreadnought was in good hands with Six Foot. YAGER could then launch our latest concept “The Cycle” into production.
Mike: It aligned perfectly with our desire to take on more responsibilities not only on the design and live service management side, but on the actual core development as well. Six Foot is going to carry the development torch further and we have assembled an all-star team in Houston to do so.
What’s coming next for YAGER?
Timo: We have recently announced The Cycle. With this match-based FPS we can bring in our profound experience in AAA developing of shooter games while entering new territory at the same time. With The Cycle we want to establish a new genre that we call the Competitive Quester where players compete or collaborate to fulfill contracts. Players can currently sign-up for a Closed Alpha that will start in August.
Dreadnought is still in open beta on PC. Why is this happening now before the game has officially launched?
Mike: We have launched the PS4 version of Dreadnought already and are looking at a Steam launch of the PC version later in 2018. We felt that now is a perfect time to announce the hand off from YAGER to Six Foot as we’ve always been part of Dreadnought development and are ready to deliver exciting new content.
Did the nature of working with an outside developer like YAGER create any logistical challenges you intend to solve by bringing development in-house?
Mike: The joint development between YAGER and Six Foot has been a great experience and we like working with external developers and their innovative spirit. Both sides have been in constant contact with very frequent team visits both to Berlin and Houston and have developed a great working relationship. We have definitely made each other better. Removing the time difference between the live services team located in Houston and the development team will certainly benefit reaction times to issues on the live servers, which we are very excited about.
Timo: Gaming is a worldwide business and we are not only used to working with partners from the other side of the globe it is actually very valuable for a development process to gain various perspectives. Before concentrating the development in one place, team Six Foot made sure that the team is well prepared and the time is right. I am pretty sure we will all miss seeing each other. We loved working with Six Foot and are thankful for the experience.
How big is the dev team at Six Foot now?
Mike: We have a very senior team of more than 60 AAA experienced artists, designers, engineers and producers hailing from storied studios and who have decades of experience working on games you would know. These are folks that are in addition to our platform team (another 11 people), and more than 28 in-house QA professionals. You’ve already met some of them, like UI Lead Designer Matt “The Beard” Giffels and our Senior Game Designer Evelyn Fredericksen.
Will Iron Galaxy Studios continue to work on Dreadnought? If so, in what capacity?
Mike: Iron Galaxy helped us in bringing the PlayStation 4 version of Dreadnought to life and has been instrumental in adapting the core game of Dreadnought to the platform. With the launch of the PS4 version and the merging of the PS4 and PC code bases, we have moved all ongoing development for both platforms in-house at Six Foot.
How will the transition between development teams progress?
Mike: The transition has been underway for some time. YAGER and Six Foot have been working and developing alongside each other for a long while and as the development team in Houston has grown, YAGER has been able to pull back and concentrate on their new project “The Cycle”.
What is Six Foot’s long-term vision for Dreadnought now through launch and in the years to come? What should long-time or potential players expect from this new development leadership?
Mike: Our current focus is on Steam launch as well as an overhaul of the UI and base systems of the game to optimize performance and the overall user experience. Post Steam launch you can expect to see more meaningful long-term progression and log-in rewards, as well as a complete redesign of how players interact with their crew. All of this is supported by our Lore team, who is expanding the story of Dreadnought. And let’s not forget Custom Matches on PC, more hero ships, more maps, more modes, Leaderboards, Social systems and new events! There is a lot to look forward to.
What is Six Foot’s long-term goal given this move to in-house development?
Mike: Six Foot is a team of passionate gamers who believe in taking risks and creating games solely because the world would be richer for their existence. Our goal is to build and nurture a community of discerning gamers who appreciate rich experiences, in and out of game. For Dreadnought we hope to dramatically grow the game by adding more territories, languages and broader distribution and then to listen to the needs of the player base as we continue development.
Dreadnought is to be a game with an international audience, with many of our players based in Europe which YAGER seemed to represent given its location. As development shifts overall to the U.S., how does Six Foot plan to continue speaking to and addressing the needs of our global audience?
Mike: We certainly will take the needs of our whole playerbase into account when we make any decisions for the game. To be closer to our players, we founded Six Foot Europe nearly two years ago, which is located in Berlin. With offices in the US and Europe we feel we can continue to cater to a global audience and engage with our players where they are.
Who owns the Dreadnought IP? Was this always the case?
Mike: YAGER initially conceived the game and Dreadnought universe, but the Dreadnought IP was acquired by Grey Box in 2013 and is directed by Six Foot. This relationship was always the case since the very early days of development and we have taken great care to be a worthy steward of the IP, guiding the development of an action, sci-fi shooter that is all about massive spaceships, epic battles and the solar system they inhabit.