#103: Sporting chance

A look ahead to the return of Hit Points' subscriber-exclusive interview series, Max HP.

Hello! There’s nothing out there that feels particularly top story-ish today (he says at 11am, hoping the rest of the day holds no surprises) so allow me briefly to talk about Max HP, the paid-subscriber-exclusive interview series, which finally returns tomorrow. Sorry it’s taken so long, but as you’ll discover, it’s quite a chewy subject. One of the things I hoped to do with this series was write things that, while definitely being about games, were somehow adjacent to them. This takes me out of my comfort zone a bit. With last year’s Tracy Fullerton profile, it meant getting my head around education. This time, we’re talking management.

Landing in paid-subscriber inboxes tomorrow morning is a profile of David Polfeldt, the former MD of Ubisoft Massive, and author of the brilliant game-industry memoir The Dream Architects. I’ve known David for years — I met him on my first ever overseas trip for Edge, and we’ve been firm friends ever since — and while I always knew he had an unconventional view on how game teams should be run, I didn’t realise just how different it was until I interviewed him for Edge in 2019. David, I had noticed over the years, was fond of sporting references. I thought, okay, this guy just really likes sport. But in that 2019 interview I finally asked him why he did it. In response he said probably the most insightful thing I have heard in all my years interviewing people about making games.


So, tomorrow’s Max HP is a closer examination of that topic. We get into the theory of sports psychology, learn how it can be applied to game teams — and find out how so unconventional a methodology fitted into the regimented hierarchy of Massive’s multinational parent company. It’s a wonderful story, I think, and I hope I’ve done it justice. My ambition for Max HP is to surface universal truths: things people can relate to or learn from, regardless of what they do for a living. I believe this ticks that box in style.

It’ll be arriving in inboxes at 10am GMT tomorrow, so there is still time to get yourself on the list. A paid subscription costs just 14p per day — a quid a week! Four-ish quid per month! Or whatever your local currency equivalent is! — and in addition to supporting me to keep producing the free side of Hit Points, ensures that bigger, more ambitious projects like this can continue behind the scenes. The next one, I promise, will not involve so lengthy a wait.


  • Ubisoft admits it has suffered a “cybersecurity incident” that temporarily disrupted its games and services but has found no evidence of customer data being compromised.
  • Frontier has cancelled all development for the console versions of Elite Dangerous following the disastrous PC launch of last year’s Odyssey expansion. Founder David Braben said the decision was made “with a heavy heart”.
  • Gamescom 2022 will be an in-person event when it returns this August. Hit Points is considering breaking its Gamescom duck, because it misses everyone. Well, perhaps not everyone. Some of them are really annoying.
  • The sexual misconduct lawsuit Sony tried to dismiss last month has expanded, after eight women came forward to bolster the complainant’s case with similar allegations.
  • Activision is staffing up for a no-brainer mobile version of Call Of Duty: Warzone. Amazed it’s taken this long, really.
  • Speaking of things that have taken too long, Blizzard has given a long-overdue update on its progress with Overwatch 2, first announced 83 years ago. “We recognise that we haven’t communicated well,” sobbed game director Aaron Keller. “Honestly, we’ve let you down when it comes to developing Overwatch content.” In fairness, they’ve had quite a lot on. A closed PvP beta is due next month.
  • My runaway highlight of Wednesday’s State Of Play was Exoprimal, a sort of EDF-with-dinosaurs whose terrible name I am in this instance prepared to overlook. Looking forward to the new Returnal stuff too, of course.
  • The Super Nintendo World theme park is heading west, set to open in 2023 at Universal Studios Hollywood. One more reason to bring back E3, isn’t it.
  • Some fun Elden Ring things: a sub-50-minute speedrun (!); a timelapse of some incredible fanart made in Dreams; and my favourite meme yet.

There we go! I’d like to end today by issuing my profound, heartfelt, honestly-a-bit-teary thanks for all your support since last week’s Hit Points progress update. In addition to some lovely, and tremendously motivating comments and messages from readers, it’s been a ridiculously good week for both free and paid signups. This time last week, you may recall, we had 1,484 signups, of whom 125 were paid. Here’s where we are today:

Incredible. For all you maths fans out there, that’s an increase of 5.8% in total signups, and a frankly insane 16% in paid subscribers, in just seven days. Thank you so much, and please keep the train a-rollin’. This should be a good weekend, with Max HP returning tomorrow and the next installment in Hit Points’ Eurogamer hookup on Sunday, but do keep smashing the things for me, because it’s the single most helpful thing you or anyone else can do to keep this thing going. I think we might actually be getting somewhere, you know. Heavens.

Have a fantastic weekend, won’t you. See you on the flip.