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UK studio highlights need of publishing support for independent developers

Splash Damage: Risk is massive for indie devs

Splash Damage, the London-based studio behind upcoming Bethesda-published title Brink, has highlighted the difficulties for indie devs working without a publisher.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, studio boss Paul Wedgwood gave detailed descriptions of the limited efforts available to an emerging UK indie.

“The risk is massive for independent developers. In terms of your production team, if you’re doing anything good it’s very difficult to have more than one game, so if you’re a good independent developer you’re probably only working on one big game at a time,” said Wedgwood.

"If you’re not self-publishing all you can do is make something good and hope your publisher does a good job of selling it.”

Wedgwood then detailed the levels of effort Splash Damage go to during development, as an example of why he believes publisher help is crucial to a firm such as his.

“Even Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, we had four complete maps that we didn’t ship with the game. One was a perfect-scale replica, fully textured, of Colditz,” he said.

“We invested probably 18 man months of time in it, but it just wasn’t fun. Ed Stern wrote the story for that over and over again, trying to solve building the glider that you used to escape from that map at the end.

“But we played it and played it, and it just wasn’t fun. Everything we tried to make that map fun didn’t work, so we cut it. It’s been no different with Brink as well. That real zoomed-in focus on quality is quite important – we haven’t suddenly become Epic or Valve.”

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