Starbreeze's CEO Mikel Nermark has suggested that the turmoil of the UK retail market last month, centred around the troubles that swamped specialist retailer GAME, hurt the sales of Starbreeze's FPS reboot - Syndicate.
"There's so many reasons why a game succeeds or fails from a commercial point-of-view.," Nermark said, talking with GI.biz. "We released the game about a month or more ago, and we're doing our post-mortem right now: what did we do right, what did we do wrong, and of course we will look at the commercial side as well."
EA launched the game in February, a month or so before pulling support from the ailing purple retailer, GAME, with a lack of credit insurance making the specialist too much of a risky partner at the time.
"The numbers are not as high as we would like," continued Nermark, "and I think if you asked anyone they would say the same thing about any game they made. But [Syndicate] was released in the midst of GAME going under; the retail space is hurting, and I think that hurt us because we were such a retail product."
The key to survival, though, in Nermark's mind at least, is owning one's IP, and that new IP will be the way forward for Starbreeze (who have two such projects in development currently), although not necessarily in a traditionally AAA space.
"If you look at any successful studio out there, they own IP, they have done their own games," he said. "Look at Valve, Epic, Crytek. They believed in their own ideas, they had a lot of passion for what they did, and they succeeded. To be a successful studio you have to take charge of your own destiny by owning your own IP.
I don't think big publishers are resistant to new IP. They just want to see something new. We are always asking what innovation can we bring to games; what's new that we can bring to the table. We just need to try harder. If you look at AAA games today most are quite similar, and I think we can do much, much more."