He's joined by some former big studio types. They left for Rodeo because they wanted more say in creativity, and be more than 'just a machine cog'.
"It's down to a lot of people wanting more creativity in the games they're making," said Ben Murch. "When I was working at Criterion it felt like it was a great big team, and I wanted to have more in the decision-making." Rodeo Games is a mobile games studio.
Murch is joined by former Criterion, EA and Lionhead developers. Their first game is Hunters: Episode One, a sci-fi turned-based strategy game inspired by board games like Space Hulk, and the veteran turn-based strategy stylings of XCOM.
"On Burnout it felt a lot more like you were a cog in the machine. There were the big guys at the top and they were making the decisions. To be fair, that's absolutely fine, because when you go to work and you're an artist, you can't really expect to be making calls on design and those sorts of elements. Otherwise it would just be an absolute mess. So you need people to just go to work and do their jobs," continued the new studio co-founder.
"Whereas during Bodycount, we were all getting into the... We feel like we've got something more to add here. Almost like, why aren't we running the show? Which is a bit of an egotistical thing to say."
"Quitting then starting up this, there's definitely an element of just having all the power in your hands and being able to do whatever you like and not having to run through a million meetings to make a decision on something."
Rodeo Games considered starting an XBLA title but decided it was not for them. "Doing things like the Xbox Live Arcade stuff never seemed like something we'd be able to go into and make a good living for ourselves," he explained.
"It's a hard submission process, and it's hard just getting your game into the queue. We looked at that a couple of years ago, and it seemed almost impossible to make any headway into that kind of market, whereas all the Apple stuff is ultra developer friendly."
Ex-Criterion dev bemoans triple-A process, "cog in the machine"
25 March 2011 | By Simon Priest