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Fatshark CEO: A Release Date Can Make or Break a Game

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Fatshark CEO: A Release Date Can Make or Break a Game

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 releases in a few days and, like the first Vermintide, promises to please both Warhammer and Left 4 Dead fans. The first game wowed many gamers partially because, according to the developers, the studio was able to control the release date and work on the game until it was polished. The opposite is true of one of the studio’s more underwhelming game: Escape Dead Island.

Game Watcher recently sat down with the CEO Martin Wahlund of Fatshark regarding the quality of Escape Dead Island, and he had some choice words:

Regarding Escape Dead Island, and Vermintide 2, the key thing as a developer is to control your release date. When you don’t, you might end up releasing games that might not be at the quality you’d like. For many developers that’s super hard. They can get financial investors who want a return of their money, a publisher who has put a lot of money into marketing at a certain point when they expect the game to be done, or they could just run out of money.

It’s actually a rare thing where you can control your release date! When you run with a publisher – and this is not blaming any publishers! – they’re spending a lot of money on the project. They have a maximum budget they want to spend over a risk/reward scenario, they have a marketing budget and maybe they’ve started spending it already, and there are a lot of internal politics at publishers as well. The marketing department might have a slot because they have a report from the management regarding the fiscal year ending or something, and they want to get the game out before then. There’s a lot of stuff like that when you’re dealing with publishers, and these kinds of events can effect the quality of some games.

Not specifically referring to anyone regarding Escape Dead Island of course!

According to Wahlund, many of Escape Dead Island’s problems can be sourced to a rushed development cycle. Publisher Deep Silver wanted the game out by a specific date, and Fatshark had to oblige. The developers weren’t given enough time to polish the game, resulting in a sub-par product. However, Vermintide and Vermintide 2 are self-published games, which allowed Fatshark to push back the release date when they required extra work.

Many gamers these days complain about video games releasing in buggy, unfinished states. While extra time can definitely help developers polish their games, occasionally games are flawed mechanically and no amount of polish will ever fix them. Other times, a studio simply lacks the talent to make a good game, let alone polish it. In Wahlund’s case, though, Fatshark is definitely filled with talented individuals capable of making good games, Vermintide chief among them. With the exception of Escape Dead Island, Fatshark has self-published its entire library of games, and all them were better received than Escape Dead Island. While this might not apply to all developers, controlling the release date of a game seems to only help Fatshark.

Warhammer 2: Vermintide releases March 8th for the PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One.

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