Originally in development at Ubisoft's Montreal studio, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game was handed over to its China-based studio with a five month deadline after the company decided to "reprioritize" its line-up and focus on next-generation titles, Ubisoft Chengdu managing director Richard Tsao told Siliconera in a recent interview.
According to Tsao, Ubisoft didn't have the time or resources to complete Scott Pilgrim and simultaneously push ahead with next-gen products. With six months left until the game's scheduled launch, and only one level and a handful of characters completed, no other studio near Montreal would pick up the game due to the short development window.
"They wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole," Tsao said. "Why? It's like five months to make 80 percent of the game. You know? Who in the right mind will sign up for that? But it was a great opportunity for us. I'm like, no problem."
Scott Pilgrim is Ubisoft Chengu's first shipped title. Despite a few "rookie mistakes" in the finished product, Tsao said the team had a strong leadership and a diligent development team working to finish the game on time.
"You don't need too many creative people to make a good game."
"These leaders, these expats, really knew what kind of game they wanted," he said. "All they [needed] was an army of soldiers who were going to follow them. That's why I say there are strengths and weaknesses. I would always make games in China because there are going to be very loyal soldiers who will follow things."
Tsao added that Chinese cultural practices emphasize following directions and studying, rather than thinking creatively. He feels that Western development is often hindered by large teams with too many members wanting a say in the creative process while there aren't enough "executors" to physically build the game.
"That's also why I'd always want to work with Asian people, as well," he explained. "You don't need too many creative people to make a good game.
"They are always going to be complimentary workers to have and I will always believe in that model for the rest of my life until you can see in the West that people who want to get into games also like to be followers," he added. "But unfortunately, that's not the case."
Scott Pilgrim vs: The World: The Game was announced at international Comic-Con in 2009 and published to PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade in 2010. The game's DLC pack featuring an additional playable character has been repeatedly delayed and recently came under fire with accusations that the development team copied its sprites from a 2004 Game Boy Advance game.