|IMG Interview: Wideload's Alexander Seropian|
September 2, 2004 | Tuncer Deniz
Founded in 1991 by Alexander Seropian, Bungie Software began as a small Mac gaming company producing hit titles such as Pathways Into Darkness, Marathon, Myth, and of course, Halo. After a brief two-year stint at Microsoft, Seropian left the company to form another gaming company.
Wideload, as the new company is called, is now developing a new game using the Halo engine and is expected to debut sometime in 2005. Aspyr and Wideload recently announced adeal in which Aspyr will be publishing Wideload's first title.
IMG caught up with Seropian to talk about his new publishing deal with Aspyr, the company's new game, and much more.
IMG: So, tell us a bit about Wideload. When did you start the company? How many employees do you have now?
Seropian: Wideload was founded on Valentine's Day 2003 (yeah, yeah - a labor of love!). We have 12 people in the studio - programmers, artists and designers. Our goal is to keep the internal studio small, producing a highly creative culture and then leveraging our internal talents to manage and collaborate with an independent talent pool.
IMG: When you started Bungie you decided to publish all the games yourself. With Wideload, however, your business model is quite different. Can you explain?
Seropian: I realized that the challenges facing publishers and developers are financial and creative respectively. I find the creative challenges more interesting and have been inspired to create a new way of making games. It's a great side effect that this model solves the financial challenges too. I also think there's a real opportunity to take the industry forward by creating a new development process.
IMG: Tell us about this deal with Aspyr. Why did you decide to go with Aspyr to publish your first game?
Seropian: Beyond having a mutual trust and respect for what each other are doing, I know that my first game is as important to Aspyr as it is to me, which is very different from being one product of many at a larger publisher. This is the first time Aspyr will be branching out into new and original IP, so they are putting a lot of focus and support behind this title In addition, they understand and believe in the goals I've laid out for Wideload and we've created a unique partnership to see them through.
IMG: What kind of game is Wideload working on and when do you expect it to be released?
Seropian: We are working on an action game that's set to come out in 2005.
IMG: There's some speculation that the game you're working on is a new Marathon game. Care to comment?
Seropian: Not true. Not even close.
IMG: The origins of the name Bungie is a closely guarded secret. How about Wideload? Where did that name come from?
Seropian: I'm all for traditions!
IMG: When you started Bungie back in the early 90's the barriers to entry were relatively tame. These days, however, the competition in gaming is intense and you need multi-million dollar budgets to create a triple A title. Is it becoming increasingly difficult to build successful games?
Seropian: Yes - games have become increasingly more complex and cost intensive to produce. The teams have become more specialized and the sheer quantity of assets required to make a game has exploded with this round of consoles. And it's set to explode again with the next round. Our new development model at Wideload is very effective at promoting creativity and original IP in this changing climate.