Eric Chahi has said the early 2000’s were a grim time for innovation, but the market is now correcting itself thanks to digital distribution and the console networks, once more making space for titles like his own From Dust.
“Today we have more creativity than some years ago – maybe seven years ago,” the designer told CVG.
“2000 to 2003/4 was really a time where there was no independent scene, there were few risks – it was very rare.
“But digital distribution, which started on PC then later on the console, was a really, really major step that saw originality coming back.”
Along with innovation, scope became a problem, as heavy-hitters took over.
“We think that around 2000 there was no place for small games,” Chahi mourned.
“There were big games with big prices – a lot of cost and a lot of cost means we want a level of profitability, it was difficult…”
After completing Heart of Darkness, Chahi took a few years off games design to focus on other projects, both for his own interest, and out of distaste for the industry climate.
“So during these two years I saw the industry, like I said before, and didn’t feel any opportunity,” he said, adding with regard to his return, “But I had some ideas and in 2004 the industry was changing slightly.
“But it was mainly because I had a new idea and I was able to make it real.”
Chahi took slight exception to Cliff Bleszinski’s claims that development had become a two-tier affair, with tiny indies and massive AAA, but nothing in between.
“On the other hand we can see that on the XBLA and PSN the production quality is increasing right now if you compare the games on the XBLA from a few years ago to today.
“I don’t know how it will evolve; maybe we will have bigger budgets for original games, but I don’t think it’s a goal.
“The less it costs the better it is because the less it costs the more creative freedom we have. It’s true that there are more creative things on the low budget side than on the AAA side.”