2K is aiming to balance innovation and profitability in games the way Miramax did with cinema, president Christoph Hartmann has said.
“Our studios don’t want to do the same things all the time,” the executive told MCV.
“I have seen so many franchises die because of poor quality or creativity running out. Not everything is meant to go on forever. You have to push yourself and build new things, there’s no way around it.
“My vision for 2K is to be the Miramax of the early days, when you had all these great movies that won Oscars but were also commercially really successful. That’s what we want to do,” he concluded.
Hartmann doesn’t want 2K to be leaping on bandwagons for commercial reasons alone.
“I am not of the belief that you need to strategically move into genres because they are growing,” he said.
“You have to have the right studio that is passionate about that genre and believe in it. And you need to add a unique twist to it, like Gearbox Software did with Borderlands.”
Having said that, Hartmann has some strong ideas about genre, as typified by the transformation of turn-based tactics franchise XCOM into a shooter.
“The problem [with XCOM] was that turn-based strategy games were no longer the hottest thing on planet Earth,” he said.
“But this is not just a commercial thing – strategy games are just not contemporary.”
Hartmann likened gaming genres to musical ones, suggesting if Ray Charles were releasing music today it would be “more in the style of Kanye West”.
“Bringing Ray Charles back is all fine and good, but it just needs to move on, although the core essence will still be the same,” he explained.
“That’s what we are trying to do. To renew Xcom but in line with what this generation of gamers want. The team behind it is asking themselves every day: ‘Is it true to the values of the franchise?’ It’s not a case of cashing in on the name. We just need to renew it because times are changing.”
XCOM is due on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in March 2012. 2K is a subsidiary of Take Two, which also parents Rockstar.