The head of Crackdown developer Realtime Worlds is “a bit miffed” at Microsoft for handing the development of the game’s sequel to a new start-up based in the same city instead of using another established studio located elsewhere.
Released in 2007, Realtime Worlds’ sandbox action game Crackdown was a hit critically and commercially, but prior to its release the success of the game was uncertain and Realtime CEO David Jones implied that Microsoft was hesitant to green-light a sequel right away, which forced the studio to begin work on its current project, APB.
“Microsoft didn’t quite know what [Crackdown] was, didn’t quite know how to market it. It was one of those sandbox games, and I think the success caught Microsoft by surprise a little bit,” Jones said. “We were always ready to start work on the sequel and get cracking, but one of the big problems facing developers is that you have to know what you’re working on about four or five months before your project ends – so at that point we tried to have a discussion, get things kicked off… but in the end we decided to plow ahead with APB.”
When Microsoft did decide to proceed with a sequel, it elected to have the job done by Ruffian Games, a new start-up located on Realtime’s home turf in the small Scottish city of Dundee, a move that’s left Jones a little annoyed. “What we thought would happen is that a sequel would be done by a studio somewhere… maybe one of the internal studios, or others that they’ve worked with, and that would be the way it went forward,” he said. “I think it was unfortunate that it had to be with a start-up in Dundee… it is challenging to get enough developers in one region as it is, so that was the only little bit of negativity to the story.”
“It’s just one of those awkward moments. In terms of the franchise, as always – as with anything we’ve created – we’re always keen to see it do great things. This is like a bump in the road… was there really no way it could have been done by one of the studios Microsoft shut down?” he continued. “I was a bit miffed at Microsoft that it happened that way, but you live and learn.”