They had "no office, no company, no money and nothing to show" at the start but a pitch and some pictures. They were "no West and Zampella" and interest wouldn't come easy.
To make things even harder, the studio is based in the Czech Republic - "a European backwater" - where there's "no funding options" or support from the Czech government.
It's a great read to learn how a start-up studio can find its legs in mainland Europe. "...I’m going to blog about our progress along the route from nothing towards triple A game for next next-gen systems," said Dan Vavra. "By “blog” I mean a real development diary, not the usual PR propaganda telling you how everything went great."
"To make a great game you need three things: a great idea, an experienced team and lots of money. Everyone thinks he’s got a really great idea, but few really have and even fewer have the money, experience and team to follow that idea through. There are also a lot of people who have lots of money, a very experienced team, but next to no idea about what to do. But those who have it all are very few."
"And as you may guess, I was from the first group of people, those with no money. This can be a problem, of course. If you have a great idea and an experienced team there is an off chance somebody is going to give you money. But in order to put the team together you need a lot of money that nobody is willing to put up when you don’t have the team."
"It’s a Catch-22 situation," he continued. They had virtually nothing to their name save for a pitch and some artwork.
"The likelihood of impressing a publisher in these circumstances is, for all practical purposes, zero, but I had to try. So I tried. I knew that I was no West and Zampella and publishers were not going to be throwing money at me, but after all, I created a successful franchise that sold millions and this had to count for something."
"It did. They listened. Some of them were even willing to sign the project, but they were not willing to spend money before we could show them something (well, it’s just as likely this was their polite refusal, but, having spent years in the industry, I dare say I can spot the difference between fake interest and real interest)."
To find out how it all went, check out Dan Vavra'sover at the official Warhorse website.
"I wrote a game about the Mafia and I don’t want to deal with those types of “businessmen”. The game industry is a risky business and nobody wants to end up under the boardwalk. I personally know people who got their bones broken or were kidnapped during game development. No kidding."
Warhorse stables talent from the likes of Mafia, Mafia II, Operation Flashpoint, ArmA and UFO: Aftershock.