As the trend for outsourcing development grew in the past five years, Streamline Studios was one of the key names in Europe to ride that wave - but as the knock-on effect from publishers cutting deals his, the company found itself having to close its Amsterdam facility and look to new ways of working.
Just before E3 this year GamesIndustry.biz exclusively revealed the new business from the Fernandez brothers - Streamline Production. Here, co-founder Hector Fernandez explains in detail the thinking behind the move.
We've been essentially closing down the production facility, meeting with our obligations and working on our international plans with Streamline Production. The focus is on the business development, creative execution, production design and management of entertainment properties for folks that want to leverage IP across multiple formats.
Ten years ago, [the videogame industry] didn't really outsource - but today it's a part of the core development, so being able to offer developers and publishers the ability to access expertise and knowledge, and to be able to deliver it on time... that's what we're doing.
What we're offering is basically our production framework that we've built up over the last ten years - all the production processes and methodologies that meant we were able to deliver on time, the first time. That's it in a nutshell.
It was a straightforward process - we had an overwhelming amount of supportive response from the community, the government, other co-developers. It really was a smooth transition, and since then we've been in the process of taking a look at the marketplace to see what's really developing.
I think the blood-letting of talent that we have every five years, combined with the need to drive down the cost of production, has effectively pointed towards the fact that we need production designers in this industry - it's a role that you have in film, but not really in videogames in terms of people who actually design how the pipeline works, or how the production is going to be carried out.
You see this a lot with outsourcing: Often the person who's responsible for it is either a former artist, associate producer, or a junior level individual who may not have the experience and expertise to be able to drive it forward.
More importantly, there are so many complications that come from working with an internal production that, when you go to external outsourcers, everything that's not working internally can become the problem.
So we've been looking at that issue, and how to solve it. In fact, we've been looking at it for the better part of ten years with our own company - and through that process we've developed real-world methodologies and processes into a framework that allows us to work with either an internal studio, an external studio, and a combination of our resources to be able to deliver productions.