Chris Roberts "a bit too ambitious"
Wing Commander designer talks about his departure from Digital Anvil as the company is bought out by Microsoft
In the wake of the collapse of Digital Anvil, co-founder and soon-to-be-former CEO Chris Roberts has spoken about his decision to leave the company he founded just four years ago. As we suspected, the company's troubles were down to "wanting to develop not only hugely ambitious games, but too many hugely ambitious games", leaving the company's finances stretched after four years without a single game being released - the sole title to emerge with the Digital Anvil name on it was actually mostly developed by a small British company.
Having left the monolithic corporate world that is Electronic Arts almost five years ago to found Digital Anvil in the first place, it is somewhat ironic that his dream development studio is now being taken over by the monolithic corporate world that is Microsoft, and Roberts has confirmed that his decision to leave the company is simply because he has no desire to find himself in the same situation again.
We also have confirmation on the status of Digital Anvil's various games, with Chris Roberts apparently "spending a fair amount of time talking to other publishers" at the moment, trying to find a home for real-time strategy game "Conquest", which was dropped by Microsoft a few weeks ago, triggering the crisis that has lead to the company's demise. "Loose Cannon" will also be looking for a new publisher, with project lead Tony Zurovec leaving the company to complete the game elsewhere. Erin Roberts will be staying on at Digital Anvil though, continuing his work on an as-yet unannounced Xbox title.
But what next for Chris Roberts, the man who brought us the groundbreaking Wing Commander series? "I just want to see Freelancer out the door, and then I want to take some time to reassess everything. Taking three and a half to four years to build a massive title just seems like a huge amount of effort. There needs to be a better way to do it."
Rather worryingly though, according to GameSpot "he has expressed his interest to work in film and exploit broadband technology to us recently". Oh please god, no! Anybody who has had the misfortune to see the truly appalling Wing Commander movie will be praying that Chris has a sudden change of heart. Although he has produced some impressive games in his time, his debut movie was something of an unmitigated disaster, flopping at the box office and featuring some hilariously bad acting and dialogue which would be perfectly at home in a computer game cutscene, but just looks plain ridiculous on the big screen. We can but hope...