Game development can be pretty crazy and once in a while, we’ll hear a story that shakes up the process even more. This latest tidbit comes from Dead Space creator Glen Schofield, who went on a spree of interviews following the release of his latest survival horror game, The Callisto Protocol. During one interview, Schofield talked about his time working at EA in the early days, particularly how a Tiger Woods engine was used to make a Lord of the Rings game.
During an interview with Wired, Schofield answered the question of why developers don’t make their own engines anymore and instead opt to use pre-existing engines. He explained that game development costs have simply become too expensive and time-consuming today to build new engines, so a common technique is taking an old engine and repurposing it for a new game.
Schofield explained that when he worked at EA on the video game adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (developed by EA Redwood Shores which would eventually become Visceral Games), his team had already spent a year working on a new engine for the game. With a deadline fast approaching, Schofield and his team had to make some quick decisions. They looked around at other EA games being worked on back then and decided that the latest Tiger Woods game at the time had a perfect engine to repurpose.
Schofield explained in a bit more detail the thought process behind this decision:
“Lord of the Rings is about large areas and then sort of a castle on the end or something, a fortress. What’s like that? Tiger Woods! Long areas, and at the end is where you go get food, where you’re done. And so we took the Tiger Woods engine and turned that into a Lord of the Rings engine.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is, according to many fans, one of the better movie-to-game adaptations yet and a lot of that success had to do with the team’s creative and quick thinking. Turns out golf courses and Middle-earth have a lot in common in the world of game development.
You can watch the full Wired interview with Glen Schofield below.