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Slow greenlight process is a "horror scenario" for developers - Starbreeze

Swedish publisher highlights the pitfalls of independent development, but is confident with two just major projects in production

Swedish developer Starbreeze Studios has told that the increasingly complex greenlighting process and the time taken between pitching a project and getting the backing of a publisher is one of the biggest dangers for the independent studio.

But the team behind recent Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 hit The Darkness is confident now it has two projects in production with major league publishers – a remake of original Xbox exclusive The Chronicles of Riddick with Vivendi Games, and the under-warps Electronic Arts title, codenamed Project RedLime.

"With the projects becoming increasingly bigger, the greenlighting projects with publishers is also becoming increasingly complex," revealed CEO of Starbreeze, Johan Kristiansson, in an exclusive interview publisher today.

"It takes a lot of time for someone to greenlight a really big production. It takes a lot of time in planning and there's always this horror scenario of having a team without any revenue.

"Sometimes it's a pretty stressful situation where you need to co-ordinate your production schedule and the staff that you have together with the greenlighting process from publishers. Transaction costs of getting these major projects is high, so that can certainly be a challenge," he added.

Project RedLime, said to be a classic EA franchise updated for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, was originally announced in February, and Kristiansson says development is coming along nicely with the title sure to benefit from Electronic Arts' marketing muscle on release.

The studio is also conscious of the responsibilities of working on a fan-favourite, and the balance of retaining enough of the the original game but injecting it with fresh ideas.

"It's always a trade off when you work on a classic property in how much you should be true to the original and how much you should reinvent or create something new. It's a pretty tough trade off and something we're discussing here everyday," he said.

The full interview with Kristiansson, where he discusses The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, the success of The Darkness and why the studio favours licensed IP and big projects, 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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