Rockstar's philosophy is to concentrate on creativity and let the income flow from there.
Dan and Sam Houser founded Rockstar in New York City in 1998 and after arguably creating new genre of open-world style games with Grand Theft Auto III in 2001, the company quickly became a household name. The Housers rarely speak to the gaming press in the U.S., so it is doubly interesting when one of them gives an interview to discuss the philosophy that has allowed Rockstar to expand to ten different studios all over the world. Dan Houser spoke with Japanese magazine Famitsu about his start in the game business, what Rockstar does well, and why they are not making a military FPS any time soon.
"I'm going to be 38 years old soon, but people my age, the first games we played were the likes of Pac-Man and Space Invaders. I was particularly addicted to Space Invaders and Galaxian," he said of the first games he played.
Why has Rockstar been so successful? "We didn't rely on testimonials in a business textbook to do what we've done," he said. "I think we succeeded precisely because we didn't concentrate on profit. The focus of my effort has been to make good games first and let the results come naturally after that. If we make the sort of games we want to play, then we believe people are going to buy them."
The rest of Western game publishing is fixated on first person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty, but that's a genre Rockstar has so far avoided. "We're deliberately avoiding that right now," Houser said. "It's in our DNA to avoid doing what other companies are doing.
"I suppose you could say that Max Payne 3 is something close to an FPS, but there are really unique aspects to the setting and gameplay there, too, not just in the story. You have to have originality in your games; you have to have some kind of interesting message. You could say that the goal of Rockstar is to have the players really feel what we're trying to do."
Rockstar's success rate has been pretty good the last ten years so Houser must be doing something right. Max Payne 3 may be a departure from the noir aesthetic of the series, and L.A. Noire wasn't the knockout I expected, but in general I know that I can expect a quality title from every game bearing the Rockstar logo.
Source: Famitsu via 1up