Not worth the risk except for Call of Duty and Battlefield, says Free Radical founder Steve Ellis

Goldeneye dev: ‘Pretty much every FPS loses money’

Free Radical founder Steve Ellis has this advice for studios looking to start their own unique FPS franchise- stay away.

Ellis made a splash by writing the multiplayer element of Rare’s Goldeneye N64, before going on to found Free Radical and launching the Timesplitters series.

"Nobody really buys any FPSes unless they’re called Call Of Duty," he said in an interview with Edge.

"I guess Battlefield did okay, but aside from that pretty much every FPS loses money. I mean, Crysis 2: great game, but there’s no way it came anywhere close to recouping its dev costs."

Ellis’s studio was scooped up by Crytek last year, sparing it the humiliation of administration after no publisher could be found for Timesplitters 4.

"I spent the whole of 2008 going round talking to publishers trying to sign up Timesplitters 4," said Ellis. "There just isn’t the interest there in doing anything that tries to step away from the rules of the genre – no one wants to do something that’s quirky and different, because it’s too much of a risk. And a large part of that is the cost of doing it."

These frustrations have driven Ellis to iOS, and his new studio Crash labs has already announced two games.

His old studio is probably working on another FPS, but Ellis thinks that’s a job best left to the younger crowd of developers.

"We’ve been through more than a couple of console generations and seen things grow and grow to a stage where it’s not really the business we got into," he reflected. "It’s not really what we signed up for at the start."

"There’s plenty of people coming out of university who are dying to do that, so let them find out what it’s like and we’ll do something different!"

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