from the sagacious wisdom dept.
Laura Parker from Gamespot wrote an excellent article covering the history of the Australian game development scene, as recounted by luminaries in the field. BigWorld Technology’s CEO, John De Margheriti, opines heavily throughout the article, sharing his perspective on the tumultuous progression of the game industry in Oz. In the interview, John discusses the founding of Micro Forte (creators of Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel), and the eventual birth of BigWorld Technology from that.
“I don’t think we as an industry have ever succeed as the development costs kept on escalating, so doing an original title was like betting the farm each time. We were the small guys Down Under, but we did world-class, honest work and had a small group of talented and committed people. This got us a long way, but it’s no longer sustainable.”
John also talks about his founding of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, and its growth into a multi-national learning institution, aimed originally at replenishing the then-scant supply of creative talent in the country. Other Aussie game dev veterans such as Steve Fawkner, George Fidler, and John Passfield join in the discussion, as well. The general consensus is that Australia is on the move toward more independent-IP-focused productions with leaner production teams and timelines.
“This is the renaissance of the games industry in Australia and I believe it will eventually be bigger than what it was. Now is the time because we are at the beginning of a new product life-cycle… I think diversification is the real key [to the industry’s future]–if you’ve got more than one thing going, then you have a better chance of success.”