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Most talented developers are the least appreciated - Stevens

Studios able to make decent movie games out of "impossible situations" are highly-skilled but ignored, says Tigon boss

Tigon Studios boss Ian Stevens has said that some of the most talented developers in the business are the least appreciated.

Discussing the development of games based on movie licenses, he said that studios which are able to turn around a decent game in a short time frame and overcome an apathetic licensor are completely undervalued.

"So often the starting point pre-determines that these things will be bad, because depending on how long it takes for that film studio to get that license deal made, you often get a really talented team that's then told: 'Okay, you've got twelve months, make a game - and by the way, the date is the most important thing, so whether or not it's good, do your best,'" he said in an exclusive interview published today.

"At some point I'd love to give a lecture about how some of the most talented people in the industry are the guys who we tend to respect the least, because they're actually making decent games out of impossible situations."

Stevens said that movie company's just see videogames as one extension of licensing, and put them in the same category as t-shirts or action figures, caring more for the bottom line than the finished product.

This puts the quality bar in the hands of the developer, who faces an uphill struggle against a rigid launch date.

"The set-up is so horrible," offered Stevens. "It is a business for them - the studio goes ahead and slates the films for production in the next couple of years, and part of that revenue stream is licensing and merchandising.

"For a lot of those guys over the past twenty years, making videogames has been the same thing as making action figures, and putting your characters on cereal boxes, or making pyjamas. And that's been a very successful model.

"But games hasn't really had its own model, and the onus has been on the game-makers to force that shift, because for those guys there's no problem."

Stevens believes that Tigon takes a different approach to licensing movie talent for games, and even if it's not always as successful as the Chronicles of Riddick franchise, it's important to take the risks.

"I think investing in that, in whatever form it takes - whether it's new IP or licensed IP or whatever - is what the focus should be.

"That's not necessarily where everyone's head is at, so it's a different problem that affects us. General issues about how publishers are trying to make games, and make money, exacerbates some of these things - risk tolerance, risk models and so on."

The full interview with Ian Stevens can be read here.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: 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.
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