Rocksteady: Asylum wonâ??t be our best work

Rocksteady: Asylum wonâ??t be our best work

By Rob Crossley

August 11th 2010 at 8:00AM

Studio boss Sefton Hill says the team hasn't peaked yet, and it's growing confidence, not arrogance, that will take them further

Rocksteady Studios has built the most critically acclaimed Batman game of all time, yet the group’s co-founder believes his magnum opus is yet to come.

Speaking to Develop, Sefton Hill said the London studio’s confidence had been blossoming throughout the Arkham Asylum project. And, if managed correctly, that self-belief can take the studio to new heights.

“As we were designing Arkham, our confidence as a studio had begun to grow,” he said. “After the release it grew even further. Now I’m really excited, because, as a developer, I look at our team and I don’t think the studio has hit its peak. I still think we have places to go.

“I’ve seen us grow as a company – and I mean in terms of confidence and ability – and I genuinely can see us grow further still. I don’t think Arkham Asylum is going to be the best game we make. We’re growing and developing as a company all the time.”

Hill added that Asylum’s high review scores were a key ingredient to Rocksteady’s growing self belief. That in turn, he said, had inspired the team to be just as daring in future projects.

“A confident developer takes more risks,” he said, “and that ultimately leads to more innovative experiences. A good review score will make you think, ‘you know what, let’s have faith in what we’re doing because we believe we can make something special’.

“That was true in Arkham; the boldest decisions we made were the ones that paid off the biggest. So, in a sense those review scores are important because they end up justifying those risks.”

Rocksteady last month picked up two Develop Industry Excellence Awards in fiercely contended categories – Best In-House Studio and Best Use of a Licence or IP. The group is now working on Asylum’s sequel, entitled Batman Arkham City.

Yet Hill was keen to add that the group’s growing confidence must be nurtured carefully to ensure ambitions don’t fly as high as Icarus.

“Sometimes you have wild ideas and sometimes we just can’t have them in there,” he said.

“If there’s too much arrogance you can push through bad ideas. It tends to be the quieter people [at a studio] who have something really important to say when a big decision is about to be made. You need to take on board criticisms. You need to try something different, of course, but if you realise it’s not working you need the humility to go back to the drawing board.

“So you need to be arrogant and humble as a studio… obviously, you can’t expect both those qualities in one person [laughs], but that should be the make-up of the studio – daring creatives that have great, innovative ideas, as well as those who can spot mistakes and aren’t afraid to cite them.

“That’s what I’m delighted with regarding our studio; we have that right mix”.

Batman Arkham City is scheduled for release at some stage during the last three months of 2011.

[Image: Game Informer]