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Ready at Dawn boss confused about putting money first

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Ru Weerasuriya is excited about launching his PS4 exclusive, The Order 1886, and claims to have put creative direction ahead of financial gain.  But he’s still unhappy with the current second-hand market in games – he thinks developers should get the profits instead of the retailers; that retailers are the problem in the industry.

In an interview with Games Industry, Weerasuriya ranted and raved about the evil that is GameStop.  Like most developers, he is unhappy with the fact that developers don’t see any of the money when a game is sold second-hand.  It’s not that he doesn’t think gamers should be able to sell on their games; he simply believes that developers should get a piece of the pie.  

“I think the problem is right now there are retail outlets that are really taking everybody for a ride. You can’t make a living at the expense of everybody else. Unfortunately, they’re not just making a living at the expense of developers but also the consumers because the consumers will see less and less games come out if developers can’t get revenue to make more new titles and keep going as a business.”

That said, I think that developers should strive to make better games – then people won’t want to trade it in!  Also, he mentions adjusting prices for games of different lengths.  Amen to that!  This way, game studios can feel free to make a 2-3 hour game, and charge a fraction of the price.   Just look at The Walking Dead games – there’s no need to make every game a AAA title that will cost R600 (or more depending on exchange rates).  We don’t always want to sit down to a huge game, and maybe we need to see more stratification in gaming other than simply casual, indie or ‘real’ games.

While Weerasuriya doesn’t rule out the option of eventually bringing The Order 1886 to other platforms, he explains that it just made sense to bring this new IP as an exclusive to PS4.

“We saw the initial talks about PS4 and what it was going to be and we’ve had a relationship with Sony for 10 years, so we felt it was the right time to not only move but to move to a single platform again where we could bring our expertise to something that could make us realize the game we wanted. Once we knew that internally, we approached Sony and said this is what we have and here’s where we want to go, and they listened to us and we had a great discussion about how big it was going to be, and it turned out to be bigger than expected. So it’s a good conscious decision from us to target a platform that we could make the most of.” 

He states that while there may be opportunity for greater financial gain by releasing across multiple platforms, the creative focus achieved by developing exclusively for PS4 was more important.  That said, he explains that the franchise isn’t simply a gaming IP:

“I will tell you, the franchise was created not as a game franchise. It lived its life before it became a game as a world, as an IP. You can imagine now that the game is a window into that IP, so yes, I want to have a lot of windows into that IP, and hopefully that’ll come in many different forms.”

I’m still excited about this game, but the guy in charge seems a bit confused.  Are you staying focused or spreading your seed?  I don’t have a problem with either model, to be honest, but I think they need to decide.  Everyone deserves to be financial successful if they create a good product, and I understand the frustration over second-hand sales.  It just feels like Weerasuriya is contradicting himself – stay focused on the IP for PS4 to make it really great, but then merchandize it in all possible ways?  Or is he just gunning for a TV series?

Last Updated: July 23, 2013

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