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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

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It sounds like People Can Fly would love to do Bulletstorm 2

"We want this IP to have its second life."

We loved the original Bulletstorm in 2011, and we loved the Full Clip remaster in 2017. We'll probably also love the Switch version when it arrives end of August - a date mentioned by Sebastian Wojciechowski, CEO of developer People Can Fly, on the phone to me.

But what about a potential Bulletstorm 2? That's what you really want to know. Steady yourself, there's hope.

"We are, as you can see [with the remaster and the Switch version], still holding this IP deep in our hearts," Wojciechowski told me. "We want this IP to have its second life. We're still not sure what that means but obviously since this is our IP - we own the IP - and the IP is known and has its fans, we would like to do something about it.

"There are no immediate plans to come back to this IP, taking into consideration our current effort on Outriders, but if we think about PCF in the longer-run, then obviously it would be awesome to come back to this IP.

"We just need to think about how to make sure the audience will be bigger than [Bulletstorm 1's]," he added, "and that's something we would need to work a bit more on going forward with this IP.

"If," he rushed to emphasise, "​we decide to ever come back to it!"

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As Wojciechowski mentioned, People Can Fly is currently making Outriders for Square Enix and has no other projects in development.

Outriders was unveiled in a teaser at E3 and all we know is it's a three-person co-op shooter coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One in summer 2020. People Can Fly doesn't want to say anything more yet.

What's surprising is how many people are making Outriders. Currently, there are 220 developers spread across four development sites beavering away - two in Poland (Warsaw and Rzeszow), one in the UK (Newcastle) and one in the US (New York). If you factor in outsourced help, the number swells to 300-350, according to Wojciechowski.

"If I told you we were creating a triple-A shooter with 30 people, you would be like, 'Yeah, of course' - right?" he said. "We are supporting the vision and ambition of the game."

But how can People Can Fly afford it? The last time I looked, in mid-2015, the studio was buying back independence from Epic Games and employed around 30 people. To grow to 220 people in the meantime requires serious investment.

Why would Square Enix invest so much? For ownership of the IP. "It's owned by Square Enix," Wojciechowski confirmed. "We pitched the game, we pitched the idea, we pitched everything, but it was a different financial situation at the very beginning of our independence to today, so it was different negotiating power back then. So yeah, Square owns the IP.

"It's, as Square likes to say, its most important new IP."

Outriders is Square Enix's big Q3 2020 game. Q1 belongs to the Final Fantasy 7 remake (3rd March) and Q2 belongs to Marvel's Avengers (15th May). Whether Outriders will really be a blockbuster on a similar level, I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

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