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Large-scale game development is ‘crushing under its own weight’ according to Devolver co-founder

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Devolver Digital is known for working with independent developers on games like Human Fall Flat, Children of the Sun, Cult of the Lamb, and, honestly, most of the quirky indie games that you can think of. While it has made a name for itself by championing the little guy, its co-founder, Nigel Lowrie, admits that competing against live service games and existing in the current gaming ecosphere isn’t the easiest thing to do. 

During the last Game Developers Conference (GDC) in mid-March, Lowrie discussed these issues in an interview with Games Industry.biz and what it means for the publisher. “There’s us, on maybe the smaller-to-medium-size end. But on the larger end, it feels like [game development] is crushing under its own weight a little bit,” Lowrie says. “The consumers are so tied up in some of these really fantastic live service games, but there’s only so much time they can spend. So there are more and more huge games being launched, asking for an enormous amount of time, but there’s just not that much time available for people to play.

“Helldivers is an excellent example. I play a lot of Helldivers with coworkers and friends,” Lowrie says. “It’s hard to pull people away from such a fantastic experience. You’re really fighting for time. I don’t care if you’re a one-person, self-published studio or someone that has 1,000 people making a live service multigenerational game, you’re still competing for that player’s time. We avoid big games obviously because of the momentum they’ll have in the press and with influencers, but then you also have to think of the consumers.”

helldivers 2

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

We’ve seen this happen to more than just Helldivers 2 recently. Earlier this week, Hades 2 shadow dropped into early access, and while it’s pleased more than a few people, given that it’s already hit 100,000 concurrent Steam players, there are some that aren’t too happy with its arrival.

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