NEWS - Monday, August 30, 2004

Wideload Games Finds A Publisher

Wideload Games, founded by original Bungie head Alex Seropian, has inked a publishing deal with Aspyr Media, the leading Mac publisher. Aspyr may not be a name you’re familiar with, but the veteran company owns 60% of the Mac market and has published five music CDs, and three independent films on DVD. Wideload’s new game, set to ship on PC, Mac, and Xbox in fall 2005, will mark Aspyr’s first foray on the Xbox. Despite venturing into uncharted territory, Alex Seropian has enormous confidence in his new publisher, noting, "Aspyr has experience in a lot of different areas, besides just games. They have a music publishing business, which is gonna have a cool affect on what we’re doing." Though Wideload had numerous publishing options, the small company, which employs only a dozen people, found confidence in Aspyr. "[There’s a] whole bunch of things I really like about those guys. I think the biggest thing for me is that they proved to me that they were really going to focus on me." Seropian said, "It’s hard to put all your attention and effort into one particular thing if some kind of strategy suddenly changes. Aspyr is a constant. People are going to pay a lot of attention to me. I didn’t feel I’d ever get randomized." Little is known about Wideload’s first game. However, we do know it will utilize the Halo engine and promises to be a unique experience. As Seropian testifies, "It’s a very different game. There are some things about the Halo engine that are really cool. We use a lot of the same systems and developed them in the same way. There’s a certain quality to the way things are presented that you may recognize. But it’s a very different game. You won’t be playing it going, ’Dude, it’s just like Halo!’" Other details on the game remain undisclosed for the time being. Seropian left Bungie in 2002 after selling it to Microsoft and earlier this year announced the creation of Wideload Games. The eyes of the gaming community are on Seropian’s company not only because he is responsible for one of the most popular video games in the past decade, but because of Wideload Games’ development philosophy. Utilizing a small, twelve-man team, the bulk of labor is to be outsourced to contractors who can be brought in at a moments notice and let go once the work is done, creating a more efficient and cost-effective development process. "There are a few core reasons why [we have a twelve-man team]," Seropian explained. "We have a small team that focuses and creates the game. [They] come up with ideas of how the game is implemented. It’s a way to produce a project efficiently. It’s very liberating that way. Having that small a team lets us have that creative culture in the office. You can poo-poo an idea or champion one in a way you can’t at a large company. It’s politics free. That twelve-man team manages the different disciplines -- art, engineering, etc. We contract out other aspects." Though some may consider Wideload’s business model a passing trend, Seropian is confident he is forging a path to the future of video game development. "Everybody’s gonna be doing this. The platform studios will have large teams -- Even those teams will be outsourcing stuff. I think it’s a natural progression of gaming. Game ideas have to germinate somewhere. If you’re gonna have 100 people working on it, you need a process that doesn’t dilute that vision." As for Aspyr, it plans to take a very hands-on approach with Wideload, offering advice and assistance to make certain Wideload’s vision is fulfilled. "Wideload Games has an incredibly talented team with a proven track record of delivering truly unique game experiences," said President of Aspyr Media, Michael Rogers. "They are a great team. We are a great team. Together, we are a powerful combination." We’ll have more on Wideload’s first offering as soon as details surface.


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