Developers may live game-to-game, but the team behind Battleblock Theater believes the industry will continue to grow.
The games industry is going through an interesting transition right now. It’s arguably easier than ever for developers to create unique games for enthusiastic audiences, but nobody really knows what will be successful. That kind of instability makes everyone nervous, especially on the cusp of a new console generation, and The Behemoth doesn’t expect things to change anytime soon. The lone silver lining is that while instability is frightening, the Battleblock Theater developer believes it could push the industry into the future.
“We’re definitely getting more options but I don’t think us or anyone else will ever be ‘stable’, per se,” says The Behemoth’s Dan Paladin. “I say this because game development–whether AAA, mid-size, or small–has always been the same big-size gamble. As a developer you’ll spend (proportionally to your size) a very large amount of money on something you can only hope people want to play. You live game-to-game, because that’s where all your income is coming from. If your latest game doesn’t do well that’s probably the end of it for you no matter whether you’re big or small. Gargantuan companies get a bit more leeway of course!”
“In a way it is kind of a crap shoot,” adds John Baez, “since a big studio with a big budget and a well-reviewed game can still go bankrupt and a small four-man studio can crank out what looks like an unfinished game and make millions … It is that kind of serendipity that will keep the industry moving forward.” While moving forward in an unstable industry sounds counter-intuitive, Baez points an an increasing number of trained artists and programmers entering the workforce. “There seems to be such a glut that these people are going to have to make new studios because there just is not enough development going on to absorb all these people.”
However uncertain the future may be, The Behemoth intends to stick with its traditional game development model, maintaining a strong relationship with Microsoft and the Xbox 360 platform. “We have been able to build some new tools, but for us, nothing has changed much,” Baez explains. “The 55-gallon drum which has been converted into a trash can still occasionally burst into flames.”
Source: Games Industry International