“You can’t let business objectives guide your creative decisions,” says Bowling

Friday, 15th June 2012 17:26 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Robert Bowling has said while working on the Call of Duty franchise for seven years, he learned what works well and what doesn’t.

Speaking with GameFront’s E3 correspondent Wil Wheaton, Bowling said the industry as whole needs to learn how best to treat creative talent.

“I worked on Call of Duty for seven years, one of the biggest publishers in the industry,” he said. “With some of that experience behind me, you learn a lot about what you don’t want. You learn a lot about what works well, like what makes a successful franchise, you learn a lot of great lessons. And part of that is learning ‘ok, this doesn’t work. This is not how you do it.’

“I think as an industry as a whole, we have a lot to learn about how we treat creative talent. At the end of the day, what you learn is we’re in a creative field, just like film and television. Anything that you create, it’s not black and white. It requires emotion, it requires passion, and it requires people to be happy–because if you’re not happy with what you’re doing, it’s going to show in the quality of your work. That’s why with Robotoki, our entire design philosophy is focusing on [the creative team] first, and everything else second. We’re not focused on the project, we’re focused on the team creating the project. If we nail the happy team, you’re going to get a good project.

“You can’t let business objectives guide your creative decisions, no matter what. We came out running with Robotoki. We announced, and we’re like, ok. I’m self-funding out of my own pocket the start of this company, so that our foundation isn’t being shaped by those business objectives. We’re not taking someone else’s money to risk setting up this company. We’re doing it on our own, so that we can set the foundation, the way we want to build a company.

“Now that we’ve done that, we want to find partners who want to come in and be a part of that.”

You can watch the entire interview below where Bowling also discusses his firm’s first title, Human Element, which is slated for 2015.



  1. roadkill

    “You can’t let business objectives guide your creative decisions” LOL!!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    Call of Duty.


    Time Paradox!

    You can’t make a game about zombies and argue about creativity anyway. Its the the complete antithesis of th concept.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. roadkill

    @2 Actually Valve can. :))

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Ireland Michael

    @3 L4D is a great game, but creative it is not.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. absolutezero

    “You can’t make a game about zombies and argue about creativity anyway. Its the the complete antithesis of th concept.”

    Taking that tack its pretty easy to shit on everything out there.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @5 I’m a strong believer in Sturgeon’s Law.

    But zombies… zombies are the laziest of the lazy. They’re even less original than vampires and space marines.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Noodlemanny

    @1 I second that. Maybe you can’t, but people do anyway. Its businesses were talking about here.
    @6 Maybe so but its just such a good setting.
    Unlimited hordes un-relentlessly trying to kill you for no intellectual reason and so you can justify killing them all in the masses. They can take many forms, from the likes in L4D, Resi and Killing Floor. What’s there not to like?

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Ireland Michael

    @7 The fact that they’re mostly brainless*, for one.

    *no pun intended

    #8 3 years ago
  9. viralshag

    I don’t think zombies are any more lazy than anything else. At the end of the day, it’s either zombies, space marines, terrorists or some other pixilated enemy on a screen that’s getting chopped, shot, stabbed and destroyed.

    I would question the delivery and context of why I’m fighting what I am more than what it is I’m actually fighting.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. DSB

    You should really play Last of Us.

    It’s not a zombie game. It’s a fungus game. Totally different thing.

    Really though, zombies are cool enough, but you know what gaming is really missing? Trolls.

    Lots and lots more trolls.

    Vampires are just people who need to drink blood, zombies are just people who don’t think or move too good, and werewolves are just in there so the ladies can enjoy a sixpack, but trolls are like a whole different deal.

    They can eat you like a zombie, they can drink your blood, and I’m not sure if the ladies love them, but they usually have their own set of ethics and outlook on life, and it’s apparently all centered around levies attached to different kinds of infrastructure, most commonly bridges.

    Trolls, how do they work?

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Ireland Michael

    @10 If Monkey Island ever taught me anything (which, for the most part, it did not), it’s that most trolls are jackasses.

    I’ll be happy never to see one again.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. brotherhoodofthewolf

    this kid is totally naive.

    fail to plan, plan to fail. epic journeys require maps.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. DSB

    @11 See, that’s a trick statement. There were no trolls in Monkey Island, just a guy dressed like one.

    Did you play the Witcher 2? The trolls in that game were easily my favourite characters.

    Didn’t kill a single one, they were too much fun.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Coheno

    Gaming needs more Dinosaurs! That said, I’m always interested in games with a bigger focus on the people than the zombies as long as the gameplay is there.

    #14 3 years ago

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