Shadows of the Damned director Massimo Guarini has said new IP and single-player experiences are still important to gaming, but business models need to change.
“In my opinion, single-player-only games are nowhere close to being doomed. The problem rather lies in how they’re produced, through which channels they’re sold, and at which price points,” Guarini told Gamespot.
“I can’t see in any way a single-player experience being less engaging or interesting because of the absence of multiplayer. Instead, I can definitely see how players who pay 60 or 70 bucks for a game can be quite sensitive to the lack of additional features that can justify their investment.”
Guarini said the game industry needs a new business model, and should learn from the music industry’s failure to adapt to the digital revolution.
“We’re still selling at incredibly high price points because we’re still operating like we were five years ago, with just higher production costs. Instead of changing our perspectives, we’re still struggling to pack games with features, extras, bonuses, achievements, in order to barely justify that price tag, which is given by excessively high development and licensing costs.”
These massive costs had a detrimental effect on Shadows of the Damned, which has significantly under-performed at retail.
“Original IPs developed with the traditional business model represent a huge risk and require big investments for appropriate promotion. Unfortunately, because of our excessively long development schedule, we couldn’t get a big enough promotion budget to reach out to players in an effective way,” Guarini mourned.
Despite the difficulties, the former Grasshopper staffer believes new products are the lifeblood of every market, and the difficulty of launching new IP is “the obvious sign an era is ending”.
Guarini recently left Grasshopper Manufacture to start his own studio, Ovosonico, after personal circumstances led him to leave Japan.