Q&As// UK Developer Mick Stockton

Posted 4 Dec 2007 18:38 by
SPOnG: What's it like working for a British developer? How do you see the British games industry right now?

Mick Stockton: We are very lucky to have such a great relationship with our publishers and Oxygen in particular. The guys have lived through the industry highs and lows of recent years Ė as have we Ė and as such we all can spot potential problems and deal with them almost before they occur. Oxygen understands the industry and they understand games. They are very much involved in the design process and the Ďfeelí of the game, but are also aware of where the line is between us as developers and Oxygen as publishers and let us get on with our jobs.

Vitally, Oxygen share our belief that as much as we love this industry, for the safety of our staff and our clients, we have to primarily function as a business, and we would hope this will be the key reason we are working together well into the future.

I believe British games have not been in a better position for many years. There are always calls of doom and gloom every year, with regards to studios closing, but those that survive are going from strength to strength, and there isnít a noticeable mass exodus of talent to other countries, so this means the companies that remain are continuing to grow in size and strength, because they do what they do very well.

Video games is unlike many other industries in that its core consumers are quite savvy and more inclined to be driven by reviews and demos than by hype and PR. The shift in direction for EA in supporting new IP such as Army of Two and Mirrorís Edge is quite indicative of how the industry is going.

This is all great news for the consumer with the arrival of IPís such as Assassinís Creed, Kane and Lynch and Mass Effect this holiday season to sit alongside the traditional iterations of popular product.

This is good all round, for the public there is much more choice and, as a developer, there is much more interest in new and unique ideas amongst publishers and platform holders.

Add to this new delivery formats, which are relatively cheap to develop for, such as Xbox Live and PSN (it all begins to feel like a return to the bedroom coding days). So, if the idea is good enough, there will be a buyer, only hopefully with a stronger understanding of business practice to support any associated growth.

It is all very exciting, every idea is listened to and we believe everybody who works here has at least one potential hit concept, from the cleaner to the tech director. With the advances in technology there has never been a better time where, if you can think of it, we are pretty sure we can do it.
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