"There's always side teams that are maybe 10 or 15 people that are working on ideas. And honestly that's how Dante's Inferno came to exist. Jonathan Knight [executive producer] took a team of roughly seven dudes and they were like, 'Hey, this is cool, let's see if we can make this,'" Mumbach explained to us last week in the basement of a swanky midtown NYC club.
"We sit in one building on one floor, so we're completely isolated. We work with marketing sometimes and PR sometimes, but when it comes to big business decisions -- and this works both ways -- you don't see John Riccitiello coming at me like 'You guys need to change this, you need to change that.' At the same time, we're not making the call on whether we do a sequel," Mumbach said. Whether or not the previously mentioned Purgatory and Paradiso components of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy ever come to fruition, it seems, isn't up to the folks at Visceral Games. "I'm sure that if enough people are like, 'I got 60 dollars for Purgatory or Paradiso,' then we would make that game. But I don't know. I don't get to make those decisions," Mumbach further clarified.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mumbach had nothing but nice things to say about the hands-off approach that EA corporate has with Visceral Games, echoing sentiments expressed by EA's VP of corp comm. Jeff Brown recently. "We're in a separate building on a separate floor than what I would call 'the executives' or whatever. We basically have reviews with them -- we show them the game, they definitely do give feedback. But they're not walking the halls," Mumbach explains. "It's a balance."
And in terms of what's expected of his studio -- is there any pressure from EA to annualize franchises or develop derivative products of big industry sellers? Mumbach said, "I think they do a real good job. I've never felt like, 'We should be doing this, but EA is making us do that.' Especially since JR's come on board [CEO John Riccitiello]. JR's like 'Make good games. I need good games, give me good games.'" Does that make him the games industry equivalent of the cookie monster?