Polish developer People Can Fly has had a very interesting decade. After rising to prominence through the cult classics Painkiller and Bulletstorm, the studio was acquired by Epic Games in 2012. While becoming a subsidiary under a large and safe company like Epic is a preferable situation for a lot of developers, People Can Fly decided to reclaim its independence in 2015. Subsequently, People Can Fly opened two new studios, remastered Bulletstorm, and is now working on a new AAA shooter with Square Enix.
While it’s been years since the studio went independent once more, People Can Fly’s CEO Sebastian Wojciechowski delved into the specifics of what actually happened in a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz. He also teased that the studio is definitely interested to keeping and using the Bulletstorm IP, as the Bulletstorm: Full Clip remaster was successful.
Sebastian highlighted the fact that People Can Fly wanted to go independent because they were no longer working on their own games after Gears of War: Judgment, only acting as a support studio for other Epic Game titles. They had a creative itch and wanted to scratch it, so those who worked for the studio at the time all pitched in and reacquired the rights to their own studio in a “real management buyout.” While managing the independent studio can be tough at time, Sebastian still finds it very rewarding:
“The reason why we went independent was partially because after Bulletstorm and Gears of War Judgment, we stopped working on our own games. We started working on someone else’s games which was not bad; but at the same time, from the creativity standpoint, and the standpoint of developers that want to have creative freedom and develop something they will associate themselves with, there were a couple of years we were struggling with that situation.
It’s a great journey because I joined the company when it was owned by Epic so it was part of the international group and was the house of the Unreal Engine. But of course the most important thing for me from the very start was the success of People Can Fly. Back then it was still a separate brand, so the success of this company was the most important thing, and throughout those years I saw that to be successful, we had to come back to being an independent developer…
Since then we’ve been working on our new game; at the same time, we also launched Bulletstorm: Full Clip… I think that running the game studio through those days was a great ride. It’s super challenging, obviously, but at the same time, being able to develop something and create a new game, to wait for this moment to be able to mark our presence again on the market is a great journey.”
On the note of Bulletstorm, the cult classic’s fans are eager and wondering if People Can Fly has any plans to continue the series. The game was initially seen as disappointing sales-wise by Epic and EA, so People Can Fly did take a risk in remastering it. That being said, the remaster has seemingly performed well, according to Sebastian.
While the studio isn’t necessarily working on anything in regards to Bulletstorm right now, it is an IP they are really considering working with again in the future, and one that they belove was unfairly deemed a failure:
“Bulletstorm’s future is in our hands.That’s not to say that we’re doing anything with it right now, but the sales of the remastered version showed us the potential, and showed us it’s a real thing and we need to really think about it in the coming future…
Let’s be honest, Epic Games was back then the home of Gears of War. You’re thinking about the game that’s selling five or six million copies. When you have a new IP and you sell about two million, you might be saying it’s not a success, but at the same time, would you say that selling almost two million copies was not a success in those days?
It’s always about expectations, it’s always about whether you are thinking about a new IP that will become as big and successful as the IP that you already have. And I think from that standpoint, it could be deemed not as successful… that’s absolutely correct and true, but I would never say is it’s a failure.”
Bulletstom: Full Clip Edition is currently available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and can be picked up on Amazon. As for People Can Fly’s upcoming game, you can be sure to DualShockers will let you know when it is unveiled by Square Enix.
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