Jason Rubin, co-founder of Naughty Dog and new president of THQ, believes the publisher has the potential to produce a massive hit, if its development teams are given a freer rein.
Rubin told Gamasutra that Saints Row: The Third is just one example of a good game that could have been great.
“I don’t want to linger in the past, but they were not given the appropriate resources. They were not allowed to have a long-term enough approach to making games from a planning and decision-making process standpoint,” he said.
“What I plan to do here is give teams the ability to compete.”
The executive said that with better support, Saints Row: The Third could have been a breakaway hit.
“The engine itself is capable of doing something great. [Saints Row] is capable of being a Red Dead Redemption, but not given the proper assets, not given a deadline that was long enough, they’ve ended up with a game that was extremely popular,” he said.
“With Red Dead Redemption, the guys had enough money to do visuals, gameplay and story. In Saints Row, they had to pick a subset of that, but I think that team has the capability to do everything.”
Interestingly, Rubin said that giving studios larger budgets and more breathing room means they get more done for less.
“The most important thing is to make great titles. If they know they’re going to be able to, they believe, and I believe those titles will find an audience one way or another,” he said.
“If I can prove to them I’m going to make their lives easier, they’re fine with that. They can shut out all that other crap. If you set people up right, they will succeed.”
Rubin said THQ is in a good position financially, which is welcome news indeed, but also said he plans to be quite conservative with spending until he can build a “buffer” of money. And when it does, don’t expect any more investments in fripperies like uDraw.
“We’re only going to have one pillar, and that’s core. I think there’s been much talk of social and mobile killing the core business – I don’t put much merit in that,” he said.