Joe Trey wrote an awesome piece for Jump Button last May and for the most part, brought about some good and interesting points. I totally respect all his opinions on the matter. However, I see a slightly different angle in the whole Blizzard and Treyarch developer fiasco. I believe that while developers working together can be beneficial, they should stick to their own companies. Publishers should hire their own professionals.
There is plenty of talent around
In an age of computers, there are naturally a lot of computer scientists, programmers, graphic artists, and game developers. There are plenty of them around and ready to work. Even the argument that “certain programmers are not good at certain aspects like shooting mechanics” surely can’t be right, considering just how many game devs exist today.
Companies always hire and fire developers. It is a natural process. People work on a game, get their skill increased and work for a salary, then once the game comes out, they get laid off. It is cruel, but it means one thing: there are talented devs out there with real game experience. Publishers should not need to divert to another publisher’s talent when there is plenty to go around right now.
Brand loyalty still exists
Brand loyalty is a thing. People stick with some companies through thick and thin because they love specific developer teams. For Blizzard Entertainment to ask for help from Treyarch, it may mean some internal conflict for fans of Blizzard and “dislikers” of COD games. In the end, the game industry, and all industries for the sake of it, are mainly competing with each other for consumers.
Just imagine if DICE hired someone from Sledgehammer Games to help them tighten up the shooting mechanics in their next Battlefield game. EA and Activision are directly competing with one another on the FPS front. It will not be a good look for either of the parties involved. Which brings me to my next point:
Feeding your competition can’t seriously be a good idea
Overwatch is a first person shooter game that is trying to change the market from the same Call of Duty, Battlefield-type games. We see iterations of these war shooters so often, from year to year, that the market gets saturated. Blizzard is trying to change that with their Overwatch game, which is a much different game than Black Ops or Advance Warfare, but still targets the same market.
With Treyarch coming in to help them with their shooting mechanics, probably the most addicting part of games of this type, they are easily feeding them so Overwatch can be a better game and eventually take control of the market. It is not a good look.