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Frontier: Riskiest games are the most financially rewarding

Frontier boss David Braben has urged publishers to remember that taking a chance on an unproven game can often lead to incredible financial rewards.

Frontier boss David Braben has urged publishers to remember that taking a chance on an unproven game can often lead to incredible financial rewards.

Using The Sims, Roller-coaster Tycoon and Grand Theft Auto as examples, he stated that rather than predicting sales with comfortable definitions of games, trusting developers with unique or experimental ideas can see a much larger payback.

"You justify it because the prize is huge," said Braben in an exclusive interview published on GamesIndustry.biz today.

"Roller-coaster Tycoon initially didn't sell well but gradually grew into a huge seller. But there was mass scepticism within the industry. EA almost didn't publish The Sims. They thought they'd humour Will Wright because he's done good stuff in the past and it ended up as the world's number one seller.

"These things would not get embraced by big business. In terms of return on investment you've got to be able to forecast, usually based on an existing title," he said.

"Whereas, with something that's got a unique element it's much, much harder to do. What it takes is the unusual publishers, someone like LucasArts, who were happy to go with Thrilleville — a new IP, a new approach — I take my hat off to them," he added.

Frontier is currently working on The Outsider for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, with a publisher expected to be announced shortly.

The full interview, where Braben shares his views on the recent acquisition of Bizarre Creations and Bungie going it alone, along with the effect these have on his own business, can be read here.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.