Presto shuts down

Myst III developers "lose passion" and close up shop

Source - San Diego Union-Tribune

In an unusual move, the founder of California's Presto Studios has apparently decided that he's had enough, and is now in the process of shutting down the company he co-founded way back in 1991. While many developers and publishers have gone to the wall in the past, Presto say that money isn't the issue here. Indeed, the company's last game (Myst III: Exile) has already sold over a million copies worldwide and is about to be released on the PlayStation 2. Their next release is Whacked!, one of the launch titles for Microsoft's Xbox Live service. So if the company is making money, what lies behind the closure? Well, CEO Michael Kripalani told his local newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, that "we were at the point where we had so many expenses and such a high payroll that we started to lose passion in the games". Several future projects had failed to find a publisher, and Ubi Soft are reported to be looking elsewhere for someone to develop a fourth Myst. According to the newspaper report, Kripalani blames spiraling costs and the gaming industry's obsession with sequels and franchises, which has made it harder for independent teams such as Presto to find funding, particularly when it comes to PC games. Of course, Presto's output has been somewhat hit and miss over the years, from adventure games such as their popular Journeyman Project trilogy and Myst III to the middling Star Trek cash-in Hidden Evil and the pits of Stephen King's F13. With the company's future beyond Whacked! uncertain and the team having difficulty coming up with a concept that they could sell to publishers, it perhaps makes sense for them to bow out "on a high note" rather than carry on working in an industry that has changed almost beyond recognition in the last decade. As for Michael Kripalani, apparently he's going to use some of his earnings from Myst III to travel the world and "figure out .. what inspires me".

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