5th Cell: XBLA bar has been raised, but any success “is just gravy”

By Brenna Hillier, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 03:52 GMT

5th Cell staff have commented that their 3D XBLA title, Hybrid, will launch on a platform far removed in quality from its state of a few years ago, but the decision will be rewarding regardless of commercial success.

“The bar for XBLA is so much higher than it used to be four years ago,” general manager Joseph Tringali told GamesIndustry.

“We’re seeing a lot of people go to XBLA with games that look like console games.”

As for why the company chose to go downloadable, Tringali is frank.

“When you break the math down we make far more money on Hybrid on XBLA that we would on a retail game,” he explained.

“We wanted to self-fund it and if we wanted to do a self-fund a console game it had to be for the XBLA or PSN market. The team size was good and we wanted to build a core 3D team. Holding the IP was important [too],” he added later.

“We’re not hiring bodies and biting off more than we can chew. DS to XBLA makes sense as a next step,” creative director Jeremiah Slaczka chimed in.

“Whereas DS to Xbox 360 might be possible, it’s maybe going to be a hard road.”

The two feel that the esperience of developing and publishing Hybrid is reward enough in itself.

“What’s cool about Hybrid is that – success of failure – we’ve built a cool team and learnt a lot. So the rest is just gravy,” Slaczka said.

“All the core tech, the people and staff we’ve hired and the processes learned and the new software required – all that stuff that has made a bigger and better team has already happened. Hybrid doing really, really well would just be extra.”

5th Cell’s previous releases include Scribblenauts and Drawn to Life, both for DS. Hybrid sports an online multiplayer mode in a persistant world, and will be revealed in detail at GDC next week.

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