Michael Nermark, CEO of StarBreeze Studios, the development company behind The Chronicles of Riddick games as well as the recent Syndicate reboot under EA, has mentioned that AAA games have become too similar and that it's time for them to try their hand at something else.
In an interview with GameIndustry.biz, Nermark talks about how the core team from StarBreeze has moved on to MachineGames but that doesn't make StarBreeze any less than what it once was. He also talks about how Syndicate could have done better in the numbers sector than what it did. His most interesting is in regards to the AAA design arena, where he states...
"I don't think big publishers are resistant to new IP. They just want to see something new. We are always asking what innovation can we bring to games; what's new that we can bring to the table. We just need to try harder. If you look at AAA games today most are quite similar, and I think we can do much, much more."
StarBreeze still wants to keep their foot in the proverbial AAA pond, but for now they will be moving on to more ambitious projects such as the mysterious Project 13 as well as their other mysterious game, Cold Mercury, which will dabble in the free-to-play model. Nermark explains that Project 13 won't just be another XBLA or PSN, title, though...
"We need to push the envelope, and not only on tech, which the industry has done beautifully since it started, but also innovate in terms of game design. We don't even talk about games any more at the studio... We don't talk about games, we don't talk about genres, we just talk about building the best experience, whatever that means for that particular project."
We've moved into an era this gen where the non-AAA games are where the real forms of creative ingenuity seems to find a life to breathe and expand the general scope of gaming in general. We've seen amazing indie titles like Limbo, Bastion, MineCraft and Terreria sprout up and take the gaming scene by storm. I'm definitely more interested in Project 13 simply because it's not going to be a streamlined blockbuster title like Syndicate but something that actually holds creative weight with StarBreeze.
As for the Cold Mercury free-to-play game, Nermark says...
"In some sense we're behind the curve, so we built this whole research and development set-up, where I asked the guys, 'What kind of game do you want to make? What kind of business model do you want to work with? Go and do that.' And they came up with this idea, which is Cold Mercury, and we're looking at a freemium-like business model. But it's not a free-to-play business model totally. There's a twist to it."
My interest is definitely piqued. StarBreeze CEO Michael Nermark isn't done with the AAA business, though, they're just taking a break from the big-budget fanfare to do something different, so don't be surprised if they break out another award-worthy Riddick sometime down the line.
You can check out the entire interview over at GameIndustry.biz.