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|Yes, he still likes her.|
It was both sudden and planned. Casual games have been talked about for a few years at Ritual, as at least a side venture. They've always looked appealing for the reasons I mentioned above (short dev cycles, low budgets, ability to experiment with game ideas and mechanisms, etc.).
So, the thought of entering the small games market was not sudden. We started to work on those projects with MumboJumbo and got really turned on. I mean, it was electric! As we progressed, our excitement was coupled with MumboJumbo's amazement with what we were doing. Both companies saw what a great fit a merger would be, and we jumped on it. That was the sudden part ;)
We saw no reason to hesitate in making the match complete. This sort of feels like the two people that have known each other for a long time, then decide to date, and then suddenly realize they should get married because it feels so good and seems so right!
Do you think Ritual is losing anything in this transition from full-blown AAA titles to casual games?
There is NO sense of loss related to transitioning from AAA titles to casuals! These small games have all the rewards and satisfaction of AAA development, and at a faster pace and turn-around. There are also acres of space in which to experiment with new ideas and IPs, and my sense of creativity is invigorated again.
I must confess that although I wasn't aware of it until now, I was getting a little petered out with action shooter games. Not that I have any intention of abandoning the genre, but it's been over ten years for me! I still love them, but there are so many other things to do in the world of gaming besides shooting and cinematics.
I'm also enjoying the sort of return to grassroots and the feeling of being in a cottage industry again. Making games back in the 1990s was so much more fun! All concentration was on gameplay and the Fun Factor, and dealing with technology was but a small dragon of distraction, relatively speaking.
|How is the transition to casual games going to affect SiN Episodes?|
We’re starting simple, of course, and Mumbo Jumbo has a few projects that have been waiting for attention and we are also crafting our own new ideas. The casual games market is a relatively new one, and it is growing at a phenomenal rate due to its focus on the general population rather than the smaller hardcore, genre-specific gamers. We anticipate designing a wide spectrum of games across many different platforms. Like I said earlier, except to see our games on Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, the Wii, handhelds like the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP, and, of course, the PC.
Much will depend on the market’s demand, and also our own ability to set new trends and open innovative spaces within the casual game market.
Let's talk SiN Episodes. Was the first episode, Emergence, successful financially? Why haven't we seen any Episode 2 news?
The first episode did well, but not good enough to completely self-fund the second episode. It sold over 150,000 units, which is better than many shooters. It more than paid for itself, but not enough to entirely fund the next one.
This was caused by two reasons. The first episode was the most expensive because we needed to build the asset and code bases from the ground up. There were also tools and such that needed to be developed. Successive episodes would have benefited from that foundation, and therefore level this initial imbalance. We knew that when we started Episode 1, but the demand of the first episode was more than we anticipated. The first episode also ran longer than we expected (what game doesn't, even when you think you've planned for this) and it went over-budget.
We did continue with Episode 2, but we had to stop a few months ago due to a funding problem. Making games is fun, but it isn't easy, …especially for an independent developer!
|Hopefully we'll one day find out just what the f!@# this thing is all about.|
What we plan to do right now, both Ritual and MumboJumbo, is establish ourselves in the casual gaming market with strong new franchises and then return to SiN at a later date. We love SiN, make no mistake, and we definitely want to return to it.
Episodic gaming and casual gaming have a lot in common as models, and I think SiN will find a home here at the new Ritual. I find it interesting, actually, that we were taking a large, AAA title like SiN down in size, and casual games are right now growing in their size and scope!
Lastly, when can we expect the first of this new breed of Ritual games?
I’m not going to give any specific dates, but our plans are to finish more than a few games this year, on multiple platforms from downloadables to the PC, and from handhelds to consoles. We are very excited!
That's all for now, folks! We would like to thank Levelord for his time and we wish him and the rest of Ritual Entertainment the best of luck for their newfound casual future. As always, stay tuned to Ritualistic for the latest news about all things Ritual Entertainment!
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