在Develop conference上，来自加拿大埃德蒙顿地区的游戏开发者Greg Zeschuk对外呼吁开发者放弃掌机时代转投社交和网页游戏。
Bioware曾开发出掌机游戏的佼佼者Mass Effect（质量效应）、Dragon Age（龙腾世纪）和Knights of the Old Republic（星球大战-旧共和国武士）。
At the Develop conference this morning, Greg Zeschuk, co-founder of Bioware, gave an interesting keynote about the secrets behind his company’s success – and about the “dangerous” nature of the contemporary games industry. He put the consistent quality of titles like Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Knights of the Old Republic down to the benevolent culture that’s been nurtured at each of the five Bioware studios. It’s all been about taking a long-term view rather than a short-term focus; remaining “super consistent” in terms of structures and work practices; and giving autonomy to development teams.
But interestingly for a developer that’s made its name on epic adventure titles, Zeschuk cautioned emerging developers against aiming to produce Triple A console titles. “Right now it’s precisely the wrong thing to chase,” he argued. “The opportunities there are getting narrower – it’s like turning out a big Hollywood blockbuster […] at some level the innovation, the risk-taking is disappearing on the publishing side. The middle has dropped out of the market. It’s the top ten games that are making all the money now.”
He suggested that studios should now be exploring the myriad of opportunities in online gaming – including Flash and browser-based titles, as well as social networking games. Development at this level, he asserted, is sustainable, which invites innovation.
Of course, we’re already seeing lots of small developers getting into the social/casual/online space, but that’s often been viewed within the industry as at best a stepping stone, and at worse a compromise, with the true goal being big budget PS3 or Xbox 360 development. It’s interesting to hear a studio of Bioware’s size saying, in effect, ‘forget it, those days are effectively over.’
Zeschuk also told the Develop audience that Bioware is currently putting small, agile teams onto these sorts of projects – they’ve developed a Mass Effect iPhone game, a Dragon Age Facebook game, and they’re looking into “smaller-scale MMOs” – a hint that we’ll perhaps see a freemium-based online RPG from the developer, as well as its massive Star Wars: The Old Republic project.
As we’ve written before on the blog – the videogame industry is very much going in the direction of the movie business, with huge bloated blockbusters at one end, a thriving indie sector at the other, and something of a wasteland in between. In some ways this is good for gamers – it means it’s harder for publishers to justify commissioning reams of ‘me too’ titles designed to slipstream the success of genre leaders like GTA and Call of Duty. But on the other, it means that riskier original titles like Dead Space and Singularity might not get the green light as major console releases. If a developer like Bioware, with six titles in the top one percent of the highest rated games of all time, is looking into alternative platforms, it’s a good indication that a troublesome era for game development is about to get even more difficult.