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Riskiest games most rewarding

Taking chances pays off - Braben

Frontier boss David Braben has urged publishers to remember that taking a chance on an unproven game can often lead to mountains of money.

He pushed forwards The Sims, Roller-coaster Tycoon and Grand Theft Auto as examples, and said trusting developers with unique or experimental ideas can see a much bigger payback than tried and trusted creations.

"You justify it because the prize is huge," Braben told GamesIndustry.biz in an exclusive interview.

"Roller-coaster Tycoon initially didn't sell well but gradually grew into a huge seller. But there was mass scepticism within the industry. EA almost didn't publish The Sims. They thought they'd humour Will Wright because he's done good stuff in the past and it ended up as the world's number one seller."

"These things would not get embraced by big business. In terms of return on investment you've got to be able to forecast, usually based on an existing title," he said.

Braben was detailing life as an independent developer amid rising costs here in the UK and recent industry acquisitions of key developers like BioWare, Pandemic and Bizarre Creations.

However, he said his Frontier Developments studio has enjoyed a wonderful relationship of trust with LucasArts on Thrillville and with an unnamed publisher on ambitious project The Outsider that have allowed both to prosper.

For him, remaining independent awards a much more flexible development process as ideas do not have to be cleared by a large boardroom of suits.

Head over to GamesIndustry.biz to read the full interview with David Braben, where he gives his thoughts on the acquisitions and why life as an independent studio is not as gloomy as it appears.

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About the Author

Robert Purchese avatar

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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