Ask A Dev: Production and Studio Questions

Ask us about anything production and the studio this week!

Maybe you are interested in hearing about how long it takes to make games? Or what steps you need to do before you can release a game? Or the most difficult part of making a game? Or the difference between being indie or having a publisher? Ask us anything!

(Production questions are probably the most sensitive questions, so try to ask a general question about the industry or something that can be applied to any game/studio, as opposed to specific Arrowhead projects - otherwise we just may not be able to answer)

What is this “Ask A Dev” thing?

Every week we will feature an ongoing Q&A session from an area within Arrowhead, called “Ask A Dev”. It’s a chance for you to ask us questions in the weekly pinned topic (Art, Programming, Design, Marketing etc.).

Due to contracts and confidentiality agreements, we may not always be allowed to answer some questions. However, there’s no harm in asking and we will try and answer as best we can!

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I wanted to ask you about your next game. Like what it will be… when it will be finished and so on. But unfortunately gaming studios are for some unknown reason very… secretfull :smiley:

So my question is: Are you planning to keep your style, humor and genre? (couch co-op)? :slight_smile: I mean… will it atleast be like a typical Arrowhead game? Or some bigh change and surprise is coming?

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I’ve been curious with these cool free special occasion updates-- (primarily the March anniversary of the original 2015 release; and the October Liberty Day – does Arrowhead need to sort of submit these ideas/concepts to Sony (as Helldivers IP rights holder) first before doing the hard coding, graphics, modeling, animations etc.?

If so, is it a matter of submitting say, concept art and some documentation to Sony explaining why the free update item(s) make(s) sense in the Helldivers world, and why you want to add it to the game?

Sometimes I think if we more understood what constitutes a reasonable addition to Helldivers and what doesn’t – in terms of what Sony would be comfortable approving or providing resources to support it – then we might more precisely think of really doable updates to the game instead of pie in the sky stuff that has zero chance of happening. I’m sure plenty of my ideas are not doable, and are just my dreamy ramblings. :slight_smile: It’s just, I’m not a game dev or game publisher, and just don’t have context for knowing what’s reasonable or not to add to the game.

I figured this question would fit here cause it kind of goes to the root of the publisher-developer relationship. By all accounts I’ve read over the years, Sony’s been a great partner (and I guess technically “Sony Mobile” published Helldivers on PC/Steam, but I don’t know if that really means anything per se), and I sincerely hope that continues. :slight_smile:

Would be interested to know as well.

I’ve heard other developers (Housemarque) say that they can’t even work on a patch / bug fix for one their games unless Sony authorize it first (unless it’s because they are dependent on the funding for the resources to do it and don’t want to say so outright?)

Arrowhead however always seem to come through for the community which lends me to believe that either they still have the financial backing of Sony to work on the game or their arrangement with Sony allows them the freedom to work on the game even after Sony stops supporting it.
If the latter is true then all the extras we’ve been getting are even more impressive as it would mean Arrowhead used their own time and resources creating content, paying for it to go through Sony QA and get authorized with no financial reward for themselves - truly a labour of love.

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I dug up a couple AMA questions I’d asked on Reddit the last couple times, and I think these were received positively, just nothing ever came of them (I’m sure the folks who could answer were simply too busy; which may be the case now too). Still, I tried to tweak those questions to come up with some additional, uh, sub-questions, so I could “re-present” those questions here at the new forums.

Music Compositions Questions

  • Can the composer Johan Lindgren share any fun memories about the process of composing the wonderful music tracks for Helldivers? (he’s probably a busy guy, so maybe it’s not realistic to drag him in here to share thoughts :musical_score:) I assume he uses a lot of synthesizers and maybe samples. A lot of his music sounds almost movie score quality. Like I felt that way when I heard the music in in 2002 for Medal of Honor: Allied Assault – by Michael Giacchino, who was strictly a games music composer then, but is now a household name for his movie scores (Star Trek etc.).

  • So how DOES the development team go about developing music? Does the whole team talk to the composer about what kind of “feel” they’d like the music to have? Maybe they need to give the composer a whole rundown about the game, and all the different segments that need music, etc. Or maybe they just give the composer a bunch of documents and say “go write music.” Just curious.

Back just before Helldivers’ Dec. PC release, I created a Steam thread with embed links to as many Helldivers music tracks as I could find on YouTube (I’d already sort of fallen in love with the music while playing the game on Vita in spring-summer 2015): :musical_note::notes::control_knobs:

Helldivers’ Great Music (links)

fwiw, Helldivers is one of very few games that I don’t turn the music volume down in. :musical_score:

Voiceover Work
Can anyone talk a a bit about developing the voicework in Helldivers? :microphone: Including the dialogue for the characters on the ship, your Helldiver’s “automatic dialogue” (NEED RELOAD! etc.), and those fun, four “quick chat macro lines” (yes, no, move, wait). :grinning:

The credits list “Gypsycamp Studios” for the voiceover work.

I was curious how the team comes up with the dialogue; who writes it, or is it more of a group effort to come up with the lines?; did the team work with this Gypsycamp in the casting and recording, or is it more just giving the voiceover studio some guidelines and voice lines and telling them to please work on it. :grinning:

To me what’s brilliant about the short voice lines (whether the automatic ones, or our quick chat keys) is that I never get tired of hearing them. They just seem perfect for the game, and even if I hear another player spamming his F1 key over and over, I just still enjoy it somehow. :grin:

Okay I’ll go: How do you coordinate your production? ie do you start out with a game design doc and then eventually lead into a project management plan etc etc…

We ALL know how much helldivers love samples :slightly_smiling_face:

I second all of these points and questions. I also never grow tired of the OST. Brilliant work!

Our music composer, Johan, is a freelance artist so we do not have him on hand to answer these questions :frowning: I have spoken to him in the past about guest blogging about this but his schedule was a little busy at the time. Maybe @Wingfrog is able to try and see if he is available again to write something up? Otherwise you could probably throw a few tweets his way to get some sort quick answers.

The lines I am not sure about. Maybe @patrik.lasota or @NeverShift_McDouche knows this?


Thanks! Aw, I don’t think I want to bother a busy composer with my pesky Helldivers questions. I’ll let him be. Perhaps he’s busy thinking of compositions for the Secret Project or some other game. I would be curious what other upcoming games he might work on, if/when they’ve been officially announced.

The VO lines are mostly written by Johan, the GD for Helldivers (and also Arrowhead CEO). We went to Gypsycamp Studios for recording and they also helped us with casting. We did all the directing ourselves and also wrote some lines on the fly together.

The short commands as well as the automated voice lines are my design. I got inspired while in the shower one morning and ended up writing a long batch of design on my way to work. The idea was to mimic the lines you would expect from a tight team and help the players with feedback in whats going on in the game. The directional pad VO lines had the main thought of allowing players who weren’t using VoIP to reply to others talking.

A big part of VO lines in general is that most on mission lines have 4-6 variations + another 4-6 for when not in combat.


This is fun/educational to know - thanks for answering! :smile:

Yeah I think the voice lines - both automatic and d-pad ‘manual’ - are always fun and useful, and I never get tired of hearing them. No small feat. :+1:

I do find myself wishing for a “Sorry!” and “Dive!” quick chat line. I always tap “Move!” after activating Hell Bomb and yet so often people don’t remember to dive. :face_with_head_bandage::laughing:

If I’m allowed to, what was the cancelled Title in 2012?
January 2012 - June 2012

And why was it cancelled?

I’m not sure if this question fits here, let me know.

It works very well for responding to people using mics. I like having the option to go all-immersive edge-of-the-seat with the headset on, or instead I can hang around on the couch for some laid-back runs – where emotes and the cape twirl generally suffice.

Was the cape spin/twirl always meant to be used to communicate with other players? I’ve always found the expressive movements in the game fascinating. Is that something you are planning to expand upon in future games?

If this were to be answered I think only @NeverShift_McDouche can do it and he is on his Christmas vacation at the moment! :smiley: I shall poke him when he is back in the New Year to answer some of the questions which remain unanswered.

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The fact that cape twirls became a communication tool is incidental. We just wanted a really awesome cape! We did discover that they were used for some communication during testing and that it was loved to twirl your cape around, hence the trophy for cape spins :smiley:


Note that Gauntlet has unlockable capes too. While the capes there are nicely animated, the character models are smaller than in Helldivers, and cape twirling is not so useful a communications tool there. :grin:

A post was merged into an existing topic: Ask A Dev: Programming Questions

@NeverShift_McDouche do you have time to say a little about this?