Rick has pointed out that the latest issue of Game Informer features an interview with Ed Fries’s replacement, Shane Kim. The interviewer addresses Microsoft Game Studios’ decision to drop Oddworld and Psychonauts from its line‐up:
GI: In the past, Microsoft as a first‐party Xbox publisher really tried to hit a lot of the demographics—everything from Halo on one end to Kung Fu Chaos on the other. Recently, a few somewhat high‐profile products, like Psychonauts and Oddworld’s Stranger, have been shelved. Is this part of a strategy to focus your development dollars on fewer titles?
SK: When we launched the Xbox, we were obviously the new kids on the block. Sony and Nintendo were established. So, we wanted to make sure we provided a reasonable breadth of content for customers who bought Xbox initailly—because we were still trying to convince third parties to support us. We are enjoying great third party support now, so there is a tremendous variety of titles available for our customers. Now, as the first party, Microsoft Game Studios, we can really focus now on delivering the type of games and experiences that will hopefully be very unique to our platform. Those kinds of games are becoming bigger, more ambitious, more risky, and more expensive to make. So, we are focusing on the teams and the ideas and the titles that we believe can fulfill that mission. We have to be very diligent about where we’re going to place our bets.
GI: In the case of Psychonauts or the Oddworld project, were they just not working out, or did you feel like they were getting too expensive?
SK: We have great respect for the creators of both of those games. From a platform perspective, I hope their games are very successful on Xbox. But, when it comes to Microsoft Game Studios, we need to make some decisions about trying to focus on a smaller set of games and teams that we believe can have a significant impact. That leaves us some very difficult decisions. And, unfortunately, it’s not a quality issue because those are both very, very talented developers.
Meanwhile, Abe Babe has returned from E3 2004, and although Oddworld Inhabitants didn’t have a booth, she has penned a three‐page article on her visit (Page 1, Page 2, Page 3), including mention of Darkwatch, the twisted Gothic Western vampire FPS by Sammy Studios, and co‐founders and ex‐Inhabitants Farzad Varahramyan and Paul O’Connor.
Sources: Alf’s Assistant
Hollywood Reporter has published an article on videogames becoming a much more staple electronic entertainment in society, on par with movies and music. Lorne Lanning gets a few words in, mentioning both Oddworld and its fanbase, just days after his session discussing game development’s influence on film and television production at this year’s 3D Festival.
Some news from Exposé 2:
Disscuss it on the forums!
Disscuss it on the forums!