Has Spec Ops benefited from a hard time in Berlin?

Pt 2: Office space and development

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And here we are ten years later, still named Yager Development. It's lucky Yager was quite successful for us because if it hadn't we'd probably have had to rename the studio."

Pitched as 'Wing Commander above the ground', Yager was published by THQ on the agreement that the studio would produce it for PC and for one console.

The Xbox was still in its infancy but the five looked at the prototype's specifications and agreed it would be a good fit for the game.

"Unfortunately the flight genre became quite niche," Timo explains. "It was different when we first signed the title but by 2004 there weren't many flight shooters any more. It was only us and Panzer Dragoon and the Rogue Squadron games on Gamecube."

THQ chose to only publish the game in Europe while Kemco published in North America. Still, the game was successful for a studio of Yager's size and it set the team up for the next few years of work.


"After we completed Yager we went into talks about a couple of different things and started preparing for the next generation. We made some improvements to our work-flow and signed a couple of projects that never saw the light of day.

We also evaluated Unreal 3 and obviously that's what we're using for Spec Ops. We had pitched a game called Eye of the Storm to 2K. It was a character-based action game where you were a mech hunter trying to take down mechs from the ground.

2K kind of liked the idea and the execution and they asked us if we'd like to come up with a pitch for Spec Ops. We weren't the only ones that did the pitch but 2K liked our idea of setting it in a ruined Dubai and the ideas about how we could use sand."

Spec Ops has seen the studio expand further and move into new offices in the West, just a stone's throw from the few sections of the Berlin Wall still left standing.

It's a studio over fifteen times bigger than their first office on the eastern side of the line. "I see the wall back there," says Mathias Wiese. "I hate it; I cross it twice a day, every day, and whenever I pass it I'm like..." and he lifts his middle finger aloft.

"I was lucky because I was only fourteen when the wall came down."

"I've talked to my nephew and other kids about it and they don't even know which side was West and which was East," says Philipp. "I think that's a good thing."

"I'm crossing the line twice each day and to be honest I don't think about it as much as I used to," says Timo. "It doesn't make a difference any more. If you talk to young people they don't care; they just live in one city.

We have a huge international studio now and people don't just want to come to Yager for work; they come because they want to live in Berlin. It's a great city now. It's a great place to live."

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