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How Wargaming manages a game project across two studios half a world away

How Wargaming manages a game project across two studios half a world away

Games is a global industry and for some companies that means offices around the world.

In Wargaming and World of Warships Blitz's case, there are two teams working on the mobile game, with one situated in Berlin and another in Shanghai. That’s a six to seven-hour difference, depending on the time of year.

 Wargaming's Berlin team works on publishing, while the external team in Shanghai focuses on development.

Speaking at Quo Vadis 2019 in Berlin, Wargaming Mobile associate project manager Enya Tack discussed how to make such a collaboration work.

Time Parameters

Tack said the most obvious challenge when working with two offices so far apart is the time difference.

To make this work, she said the most important thing to do is set clear time parameters for contact. For example, the Berlin team does not message the Shanghai studio after 12pm, and similarly vice versa.

Tack admitted that the downside of this is staff are likely to wake up to a lot of emails, but it beats waking up in the middle of the night to a new message.

Communication about public holidays is also important, as people in one country are unlikely to know about such things in another. Therefore, even if it’s a small holiday, this must be communicated across teams.

Clear game vision

Having a clear vision for your game is obviously important, and Tack stressed just how critical this is when working with another studio. If you don’t have a vision, you won’t have any direction, she said.

It’s crucial then to:

  • Make sure everyone knows the vision
  • Keep it clean and short
  • Add sub-goals per quarter/sprint

Don’t fall for the ‘one contact person to rule them all’ trap

Tack highly recommended not having just one person to manage communication. While a game will need a project manager, this shouldn’t be put all on one person.

This could create development bottlenecks, could burn staff out and if they leave it could cause major problems.

She summed up:

  • Don’t create unnecessary bottlenecks
  • Introduce team leads to each other
  • Have one contact for important messaging
  • Create a mailing group so everyone can be involved

Calls are usually better than text

Working remotely, it’s easy for a lot of communication to be conducted through text speak rather than calls or face-to-face meetings. Tack advised however it’s better to speak with others rather than just type.

This is because:

  • Having info in writing is great, but a chat will rarely beat a real call
  • Make sure calls have meeting notes, that are shared via mail later
  • If you have someone in your team who does not like to call, simply join them and guide them through it
  • If you have the option to visit, even better

Regular sync-ups

Tack said it’s important to have regular sync-ups, and not only just schedule them but actually follow through and do them.

She explained that even if you feel you don’t have anything new to say, never cancel. More often than not, something will come up.

Tack suggested doing this on a weekly or bi-weekly basis works best.

Remember you are one team - it’s not us versus them.

Tack said both teams should not be competitive with each other, as they ultimately share the same goal. Both teams will have the same passion, want players to be happy and want success.

Therefore it’s ideal to be as open as possible between offices.

Full disclosure: We are a media partner for Quo Vadis. My flights and accommodation were paid for. Our coverage remains neutral.


Senior Editor

Craig Chapple is Senior Editor of PocketGamer.biz and InfluencerUpdate.biz. He was previously Deputy Editor at Develop and Online Editor at Nintendo of Europe.

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Mig Hal N.a. at N.a.
Stop complementing incompetent people please.
Just like Jerry said, it's an existing game polished and bright outside China. Only thing down in this article is that WG knows how to communicate. But you don't see that in their game. Towards users it doesn't feel as friendly!
Prices are too high.
In shortage of players (big shortage), bots (AI's) fill the empty spots. Behaviour of these birds is ridiculous and insulting, it's like games 15 years ago...
The matchmaking is in many occasions unfair.
After almost 2 years after release players even cannot edit/remap the controls. (A MUSTHAVE for touchscreen games)
Grinding takes often forever (unless you pay).

Instead of making the game more friendly towards their customers (the players) things are implemented where there's not yet demand for from the player base. The most attention goes out how to milk the most money out of their customers. And given few in return.

If communication should be a complement towards WG in this article, that communication, listening and especially satisfying their customers isn't shown in the game and community. A community which has many, many complaints. All be it even about bugs never been fixed since the game came out.
Jerry Krh Other
Main reason why development team is in Shanghai is that Wargaming probably buy Chinese game called "Senkan Strike" and with small changes published as World of Warships Bliz. Wargaming know how to make a good games - except World of Warplanes all their games are successful. In this case they definitely go on wrong way. Players who comes from others Wargaming games are surprised and shocked. Economy and grind is painfully slow that makes that most of players leave game after 6 tier. Prices in premium shop are ridiculous. 6 tier premium ship in blitz is more expensive than 8 tier in PC version. Game is full of bugs and Dev priority is to make a new premium ship not deal with that. All this things make that playerbase in World of Warships Blitz is decreasing quickly. It's only Wargaming game where during normal battles you have to play against bots - which is best recension for this game.