Now that developers have numerous options when it comes to self-publishing, a pair of well-established game studios are teaming up on a new project without turning to a big-name third-party company.
Developers N-Space and Digital Extremes revealed to GamesBeat that they have reached an agreement to work together on a brand new role-playing game that they claim is “set within a world-renowned fantasy franchise.” Neither company was willing to tell us which fantasy franchise it is, but N-Space notes that it has brought key members of the teams that developed Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights, and Baldur’s Gate. The company also said that they now feel comfortable tackling a large product like this thanks to the direct-to-consumer publishing enabled by platforms like Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U — although N-Space and Digital Extremes did not say which platforms they are targeting.
Dragon Age: Origins project director and executive producer Dan Tudge is now working as director on N-Space’s new game. He is also the company’s president. Former BioWare writer Jay Turner is the narrative director on the game, and Dragon Age: Origins technical director Ross Gardner is handling that same job at N-Space now.
N-Space started working on this title two years ago as its first independently developed game. The studio has lengthy credit list of work-for-hire projects, and it is especially prolific when it comes to porting finished games to new platforms. In recent years, it has worked with companies like Activision and Disney Interactive on bringing games like Skylanders and Toy Story 3: The Video Game to Nintendo systems.
“Even with our 20-year history of successful work-for-hire projects, we have never been more proud,” N-Space chief executive officer Dan O’Leary said. “We are working on one of the best IPs in the world with a talented passionate team that will help redefine the future of N-Space.”
Outside of its port work, N-Space is perhaps best known for developing the paranormal shooter game Geist for the Nintendo GameCube. That debuted almost 10 years ago now.
After working on the new RPG project for two years, N-Space decided to partner up with Digital Extremes, which has a similar history. Digital Extremes has helped port games like BioShock and Homefront for other companies while occasionally creating something original. Most recently, Digital Extremes has found some success with the free-to-play shooter Warframe — especially as a self-published release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. And it’s that experience that brought N-Space and Digital Extremes together.
“Our contribution to N-Space’s game is simple and straightforward,” Digital Extremes chief executive James Schmalz said. “We’re a developer that can successfully develop, self-publish, and support an international hit. We proved as much with Warframe and its 14 million players.”
Schmalz says that his studio now has the talent and the means to guide other studios through this process. He thinks that this path enables independent developers, like N-Space, to “achieve a level of success not possible with conventional publisher relations.”
“To support N-Space and this unannounced RPG — and if you’re an old school gamer you’re going to flip when you see it — is a real privilege,” he said. “Our company spent 20 years making games for other people. We stepped into the wild with Warframe and earned our success. Now we get to help others take those same steps.”