Bleszinski: id buyout will offer stability

Bleszinski: id buyout will offer stability

By Rob Crossley

July 2nd 2009 at 10:26AM

But the Epic creative director warns that maintaining a studioâ??s identity and culture is essential

Zenimax’s recent buyout of longstanding developer id Software will, according to Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski, be beneficial for the Texan outfit.

“I think in the long term it will probably be a good thing for id,” he told Develop in an interview published today. “It will add stability, it will help them leverage their properties more.”

As news of id’s acquisition broke, the developer’s technical director John Carmack claimed that
“no changes will be made in the operations of id Software in the development of its games." Bleszinski said that this is a crucial detail in any successful game studio acquisition:

“I think it’s very possible for a studio to be acquired and maintain its own identity. But, if you look at previous acquisitions that have happened in the past… I don’t want to name names… but there have been studios that have been bought out, reformed into the purchaser’s image, lose their soul, lose their employees and essentially negate the whole reason why they were bought in the first place.”
 
“If ZeniMax know what they’re doing – and in working with Bethesda it shows they clearly do – they will allow id to maintain their identity and culture.”

“A studio’s identity and corporate culture is its backbone, you need those guys who get along and have worked together for ten to fifteen years and can read each other’s thoughts and just are able to get all the bullshit out of the way and come to a decision on designing a game.”

As Bleszinski points out, Epic has a lengthy history with the Doom studio; a notable rivalry that was perhaps at its most intense at the turn of the century. 

“id was always the studio I had my eyes on in the early days as far as wondering if we could be as good as them if not better. When we had Unreal Tournament they had Quake 3, which is one of those legendary showdowns between two games.”

In this context, the Gears Of War designer was shocked to see such a wholesale transformation occur at the doorstep of his former rival.

“To see the old standbys go through these kinds of changes – like with 3D Realms closing up Duke Nukem – it’s really shocking. We all came from the same mould from the shareware days; these studios have been around forever, and to see them acquired like that is a surprise.”

Bleszinski continued to pour cold water over the prospect of any company purchasing Epic itself. “We’re doing fine as is right now,” he said. “The Unreal Engine is extremely prolific, Gears is a success and I’ve got like five projects going on right now, all a guarantee that we’ll keep the lights on for years to come.”

Q&A: Cliff Bleszinski part one