Turtle Rock’s next game will be another cooperative shooter

This one’s free-to-play from the get-go

Turtle Rock Studios has had quite the mixed history with cooperative shooters. As Valve South, it developed Left 4 Dead which was an undeniably huge success. And, once the studio went independent, it created Evolve, which more or less flopped. Turtle Rock’s sticking to the same formula for the rubber match.

In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Turtle Rock co-founder Phil Robb reveals that the developer’s third title will be another cooperative shooter. This one will be free-to-play right out of the gate, and it’ll be published by Perfect World. It’s also said to have a strong dark fantasy bent. No title was announced, and it’s scheduled for 2018 at the earliest.

While Robb refrained from divulging too many specifics about the next project, he did offer some glowing quotes about the free-to-play model. Stuff like: “We can’t overstate how helpful [free-to-play] is to us as developers. It’s a direct line toward taking the game that we wanted to play when we first started working on it and ensuring that it will be a game that our community wants to play for years to come.” It’s the exact sort of thing you’d expect from a person who has a financial interest in free-to-play working in his favor.

But, those stock fare quotes were supplemented by a worthwhile indictment of the triple-A $60 product model and how publishers are incentivized to not invest in new properties. “If I was going to boil down our key learnings into one thing, it’s that the triple-A boxed product is just not a welcome home for independent developers. It’s now a nearly impossible proposition, actually. The major publishers out there are spending [over] $100 million on developing the next iteration of a franchise… and at the same time, they are increasingly hesitant to spend on new IP,” Robb said.

He continued “So, as an independent, let’s say you are fortunate enough to land a deal for a new boxed product IP, it won’t be at a budget which is nearly enough to compete head-to-head against the latest franchise release. At the same time though, that budget will be high enough that it will make it almost impossible to receive any royalties. So, your best prospect in making a new boxed-product IP is to hope you sell enough units that a sequel is greenlit, which again will be at an even higher budget than what you had on the first title. The cycle continues and you still won’t be profitable. I think we are now at a point where a $60 asking price will be solely left to the domain of already-established franchises.”

It’s a bleak, yet realistic, take on the current state of big budget video games. The words “free-to-play” have a Pavlovian effect on some people, causing their eyes to glaze over and their interest to be immediately lost. But, it’s also what makes the most fiscal sense for a lot of new properties. We just need to find an equilibrium where free experiences are consistently worthwhile experiences. Turtle Rock’s pedigree will hopefully add to that trend in a few years’ time.

Turtle Rock: AAA boxed product “not a welcome home” for indies [GamesIndustry International]

About The Author
Brett Makedonski
While you laughing, we're passing, passing away. So y'all go rest y'all souls, 'Cause I know I'ma meet you up at the crossroads. Y'all know y'all forever got love from them Bone Thugs baby...
More Stories by Brett Makedonski