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Vivendi didn't believe in Riddick, claims Tigon

"Nobody really gave a sh*t."

Vin Diesel's production company Tigon Studios has recalled the struggle that The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay had finding an audience, because "nobody" - not even publisher Vivendi - "really gave a sh*t".

"To be honest, up until we started getting review scores, the feeling we had from most people was an incredible lack of interest. Seriously. It was a movie game, it was a developer that people hadn't really heard of, it was some actor that people weren't really sure they liked, and it was a publisher that didn't have a reputation for quality. Nobody really gave a sh*t," Ian Stevens, head of Tigon Studios, told GamesIndustry.biz.

"I remember at E3 that year, when people actually got a chance to play it, you could see their eyebrows raising. But that was the first time really. We felt as if nobody was really going to pay it any attention. "

Stevens said Escape from Butcher Bay suffered as Vivendi chose to lavish marketing on sibling movie-project Van Helsing instead. "Even internally in the corporate business," he added, "We felt that nobody was thinking it was going to be anything special."

Eurogamer awarded The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay a whopping 9/10 - praise that helped Vivendi commission Assault on Dark Athena, which arrived earlier this year.

"It was a very nice surprise," said Stevens of reaction to Butcher Bay, "and a mixed one as well - the game got a great reception, and great review scores... and the movie didn't."

"In the end Riddick [Escape from Butcher Bay] didn't sell especially well, so we walked away feeling great that Riddick was this wonderful game, and yet so much else around that wasn't hitting the same plateau.

"The thing we took away from Butcher Bay more than anything was just hoping that we might have a better experience with the publishing process the next time around," added Stevens.

Vin Diesel founded Tigon Studios in 2002 to bridge the gap between Hollywood and videogames. Stevens calls Diesel "a huge nerd", and claims he isn't "the meat-head action start" he is often portrayed as.

Find out why in the full interview with Tigon Studios' Ian Stevens over on GamesIndustry.biz.