It’s a familiar enough story. A small group of idealistic developers jumps off the A-list hamster wheel and sets up on their own, eager to get away from the big budget grind. They want to make smaller games, they want to experiment and they want to use exciting new mainstream platforms to reach a wider audience.
The difference with this story is that for once it’s not from some bright-eyed 2012 start-up, but from 12 years ago. That was when, in 2000, four people walked away from Grand Theft Auto developer DMA Design just as it was morphing into Rockstar, and started carving their own unique and somewhat circuitous route to success as Denki, the headstrong indie studio that last year finally broke big with the Bafta-nominated Quarrel. Not that those involved had any reservations about walking away from a studio that was about to go supernova thanks to GTA 3.
“We’d been through the mill with all the stuff at DMA,” says Gary Penn, Denki’s creative director and a man still best known for his time on legendary games magazines like Zzap 64 and The One. He’d moved from journalism into development, but found the bloated scale of console games design wasn’t to his taste. “Some of us had spent four or five years on some titles,” he explains. “There was this whiff of a digital revolution around the corner. Rockstar was moving towards bigger stuff, and while that’s tremendously exciting and they were well positioned to do it, we didn’t want that any more. We wanted to be faster and smaller.”
You can read the rest of the article over on Eurogamer.
When you’re done with that, go and play Save the Day…