Midway's 'hold on next-gen development

Midway's 'hold on next-gen development

By Neil Long

March 23rd 2007 at 11:00AM

SPECIAL REPORT: Midway has pumped $300m into next-gen development to aid the making of upcoming games like Stranglehold.

That nine-figure number has been divided up into $200m invested in the publisher's games portfolio and $100m spent on the technology needed to build the games at its internal studios. Aside from Stranglehold, other Midway titles on the way that are being produced by its internal teams are Area 51: Blacksite, a new Mortal Kombat and Vin Diesel vehicle The Wheelman.

Speaking in an interview with Develop's sister magazine MCV, Midway CEO David Zucker explained that in terms of technology, Midway has built an in-house engine that all its studios use

"We have systems in development in parallel so that we don’t have to re-invent a lot of the technology," he explained. "So we take the core module and upgrade it so everyone’s using the same language it becomes a distributed, common development cost."

Midway has also been keen to licence off-the-shelf development software to supplement its production, including Havok's physics tool and Epic's Unreal Engine 3, meaning its toolbase is a mix of third and first party technology.

"There are a number of people that won’t be able to make the console transition because there is such a huge investment in next-generation technology," he added, explaining that he had identified which of Midway's contemporaries had done well in terms of next-gen production.

"Ubisoft has done a pretty good job of that – and that’s really why in the last console cycle they went from non-existent to a being a major player. I think Ubisoft did a great job in the last console cycle, and they did it with their product development."

Currently, Midway has 650 staff across its six studios. In the long-term that latter number may rise, said Zucker - "We might consider adding another studio," he said - but the real focus is on growing the Midway studio network's overall headcount: "Over the next couple of years that’s our focus."

Additional reporting by Michael French.