Croteam: PC development easier, PC launching a nightmare

We’ve been speaking with Croteam boss Roman Ribaric all this week, learning about Serious Sam 3 and the hidden complexity of the series. We’ve also been talking about the famous “PC vs. Console” debate, and felt that Roman was as good a man to ask as any — what really is better? The answer, naturally, was as diplomatic as it was interesting.

“We are covered either way it goes. PC market, with a direct digital distribution, works really good for the developers. XBLA and PSN work good as well, since we can decide to go directly to MS/Sony/Nintendo,” explains Ribaric. “They are also reopening that arcade market and allowing for cheaper priced games, so that’s also good for everyone. Prices are important factor. Do I want to pay 550 kuna ($110) for a new game in Croatia? No way. But, 50-100 kuna ($10-$20) for an XBLA/PSN/PC game, that’s a pretty good deal to me. That’s how much it costs us here in Croatia for one cinema ticket, mid-sized popcorn and small cola.”

Focusing on the PC, Ribaric tells us that PC development is easier than console development, but that the launch of a game can be a nightmare: “As far as development is concerned, it’s easier to develop for PC, that’s a fact. But, once you deliver the game, the nightmare begins. You are desperately trying to make the game work on all sorts of PC configurations. And that is months of work and costs a lot, which cost you, by time the game is out, are covering on your own, as publishers already moved their attention (and budgets) to other games.

“This is why you see some developers not supporting their games when they are out. And you feel betrayed. But, it’s not their fault for the most developers I know. So, it’s not they don’t want to support it, it’s rather they don’t have any more money to continue supporting it. And then it’s for them to move on to the next game, those that are lucky to have a next deal signed. Or for those less fortunate, only other available option is to close the doors before they sink even further into debt.”

“On the other hand, on consoles you have more problems with trying to squeeze that last bit of hardware. But, once you deliver and get approved by hardware manufacturer, you are done and can move on, knowing that your game works 100%.”

So yes … interesting and diplomatic. The way all good answers go. 

Jim Sterling