1UP’s “Inside Starbreeze: The Secret History of the Riddick Team”

1UP has a great article on Starbreeze, game studio behind titles like The Darkness and Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.

Combat in The Darkness

The Darkness stands out to me as an FPS for several reasons, including the scene where you get tortured with a power drill to the face. Can't say I can think of any other FPSs that torture you in first person.

Some may read it as evidence of publishers interfering with game studios (which it is) but in broader terms I saw it pointing to the difficulty of developing games. Despite points on the originality of Starbreeze, they typically release licensed IP games that never seem to sell well enough to let them work on original IP. They also weren’t willing to break their reliance on publishers for game funding, thus remaining open to the winds of fate (and I wonder how many games Starbreeze would have been able to release without relying on publisher funds as well).

Another interesting point to me was the divide between studios and their founders. What’s most important – the development culture of the studio, built over hundreds of hours working in the crucible of game design, or the uber-genius founders who apparently drive everything while 50 other employees gawk on in amazement? At what point is something “not the same studio” from a game output perspective?

Guess we’ll see if / when Starbreeze’s latest versus MachineGames’ first titles go head to head.

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