Team17 MD Debbie Bestwick says recent closures and redundancies do not indicate problems with British development

Lionhead, Evolution and FreeStyle were ‘casualties of triple-A’

The recent spate of UK studios being restructured or shut down has caused some to question the stability of games development in Britain – but Team 17’s Debbie Bestwick says these point more to troubles in the realm of triple-A instead.

The indie publisher’s MD spoke to Develop’s sister publication MCV as part of a report that followed up on the news that Microsoft is to close Lionhead, Sony is to close Evolution Studios and Activision will be making several redundancies as part of restructuring FreeStyle Games.

Evolution Studios has since been rescued by fellow racing game developer Codemasters, while MCV revealed there could be several strategies in the works to salvage Lionhead and its Fable Legends project.

In the report, Bestwick observed that all three studios were making ambitious, big budget projects that sadly haven’t paid off.

“Triple-A is just so high risk and there will always be casualties if those titles don’t perform commercially to the level the parent companies expect,” she said.

“The bigger question is: “is there room for the number of triple-A games being made?” Fighting for consumer spends has never been so difficult.”

She concludes: “But I’m incredibly positive about the state of the UK games development scene, look at Team17, Rebellion, Frontier, Sumo and so on, they’re all doing amazingly well. Then look at some of the new studios that have sprung up over the last couple of years and had multimillion unit success stories such as Facepunch, Chucklefish, NDemic, and young talent such as the Besige team and The Escapists. We are also starting to see the emergence of potentially world-class studios being formed by former triple-A makers, such as Playtonic and Three Fields.”

You can read the full report, including insight from Jagex, Rebellion and Tiga, over at MCV.

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