If you're making a game with a huge budget, it has to be right first time, says ex Rare dev

Creative boundaries a ‘necessary evil’ in triple-A

Stifling some developer creativity is a necessary evil at big budget triple-A studios, says former Rare developer Shaun Read.

Speaking to Develop in a newly published interview, Read, who formed new indie studio Flippin Pixels in January with four other ex-Rare developers, said that he didn’t think the issue was necessarily a problem in triple-A development, but was just part of the process of creating a highly polished game by hundreds of staff.

He added that when making a game on a large budget, it had to be right the first time, so some original ideas may not turn out how originally envisioned by the end of the process.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem, I think it’s a necessary evil,” said Read.

“If you’re making a game with a huge budget, it has to be right, and it has to be right first time. So yes, you do get that process, and maybe the idea you came up with in the first place doesn’t end up exactly how you imagined it would be, but yes, I think that’s part of the industry nowadays.

"There’s a lot of voices, a lot of owners and that’s the way it is, which is the beauty of working with five people I guess.”

Flippin Pixels studio director Steven Brand said moving in to indie game development and away from the large projects and teams at Rare had been an energising experience.

He explained that the developers were now able to work on new projects quickly with shorter development times, compared to previous projects such as Starfox Adventures, which brand and Read spent five years on.

“Scale is the obvious main difference,” said Brand.

“We were working with a team of five people, whereas we’d been use to working with a team up into the hundreds, so that’s the main difference. Speed of turnaround as well, we’ve turned Skim it around in about four months, so in terms of getting the product out there it’s been a very quick process. As Shaun mentioned before, we both worked together on Starfox Adventures, and I think that was five years of our lives.

“So it’s certainly quite energising to be working on quicker projects, and now Skim it is released we’re looking at our next project and we’ve given ourselves about a six month timeframe to get the first iteration out.”

You can read the full interview with Flippin Pixels here.

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