Creative director Jonny Watts says that from now on, the Elite developer is only making games ‘for itself’

Frontier cements total independence with self-published Planet Coaster

Frontier Developments, the studio behind Elite Dangerous, has vowed that it will not work for a publisher again.

The veteran developer, which celebrates its 22nd birthday this year, has worked for games firms from Konami, Sega and Atari to Microsoft, LucasArts, Amazon and Ubisoft in the past.

Last year alone saw it launch Screamride for the Xbox One in partnership with Microsoft, and Tales from Deep Space with Amazon Game Studios for iOS.

But with the release of its second self-published franchise, Planet Coaster, later this year, Frontier says it will transition to become a fully independent firm.

“Once we publish Planet Coaster, we will be 100 per cent self-published,” creative director Jonny Watts told Develop sister site MCV. “The transition is almost complete."

“Publishers form a really strong part of quality control. When The Beatles was making the best music, you had John Lennon and Paul McCartney sort of being antagonistic in the creative process. A publisher is almost your conscious, so not only have we had to grow our publishing department, but also from a creative point-of-view, we have to keep challenging ourselves. We don’t want to be complacent.

 “About six years ago, we decided we wanted to be self-published. We have done some amazing work with Microsoft, but we were always doing that with an eye on parting company. We were very professional until the end – we always tried to deliver more than what was asked for us.

“But it is a nice reward for all the teams, who have stuck by during some challenging development times so that we can make games for ourselves.” 

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