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R-Type Remake Creator: Downloadable Game Market 'A Godsend'

The creators of XBLA title R-Type Dimensions have explained why the "one flop and you're... out" model has been radically changed by downloadable content, talking as part of a
June 11, 2009
Talking as part of an in-depth look at downloadable classic game remakes, the creators of XBLA title R-Type Dimensions have explained why the "one flop and you're... out" model has been radically changed by downloadable content. Swedish company Southend Interactive has been using its classic remake projects with Seattle-based firm Tozai, such as R-Type Dimensions and the recently-released Lode Runner, as a way of financing their own, more innovative projects. Southend CEO Anders Jeppsson describes this as a liberating shift in the industry. "This new niche of smaller downloadable games was a godsend to many smaller developers a few years ago, when, at the time, there was no real way to sign a game under five to 10 million dollars." "One flop and you're basically out at that price... And spending three-plus years on the same game was definitely killing a lot of the creativity in the business." The executive continues: "So, for us, XBLA, PSN, and VC is a fantastic way to continue to do what we love most: develop small, tight, well polished gems for the masses." Concerning the download platform as a viable alternative, Tozai's Sheila Boughten says, "If a title like R-Type Dimensions came out at retail, it would probably at the lowest be $19.99 or $24.99 out of pocket for the consumer." She concludes that "there would just be no way to get it out at retail without taking a loss", showing the power of downloadable games to shift business models in today's game industry. The full Gamasutra feature on the subject also talks to Street Fighter HD Remix creator Backbone Entertainment and Bionic Commando Re-Armed makers GRIN about the circumstances behind the rise of the downloadable classic game remake.

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