Cooperation with Microsoft gives lift to game developer Remedy
Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system is aiding the Finnish game developer Remedy Entertainment, of Max Payne fame, in obtaining further publicity and lift.
Microsoft has taken the game house based in Espoo under its special protection. The world's largest software firm will produce the Remedy Entertainment's next game, a psychological action thriller called Alan Wake.
This is the first time Microsoft will publish a Finnish computer game. And that is not all: out of the dozens of games on offer, Microsoft has placed a special spotlight on Alan Wake.
Alan Wake, a game still very much under development, is one of the few games the software giant will use when demonstrating the gaming abilities of its latest operating system, Windows Vista. Even based on the introductory material, the quality of the game has caused admiration.
Lead game designer Petri Järvilehto of Remedy does not want to speculate when the game might be on the market. "In the computer games business, it often happens that a too optimistic launch date is advertised, and it then has to be postponed."
Remedy has just over 30 employees.
"We are a very small team to work on something of this scale", business director Matias Myllyrinne comments. Games of Alan Wake's calibre are often produced by a core team with in excess of a hundred staffers.
Remedy manages because it outsources some of the production, while keeping its core team tight. Making it to the Microsoft team translates to significantly increased resources.
"Microsoft has huge machinery for games production. If a team of 80 voice actors are needed from the States, they can provide it. Their test laboratory is also fantastic", Järvilehto enthuses.
These days, the production of computer games has similarities to film making. Also in Alan Wake all the characters have been modelled after actors, who - in some cases - will also lend their voices to the characters.
All the actors are American, apart from the title character himself, who has been modelled after the Finnish actor Ilkka Villi.
Remedy and Microsoft have refrained from revealing how much money will be used in developing the game. According to Järvilehto, the production of a game of this scale typically costs in excess of EUR ten million, with marketing costs in the same region.
The Microsoft connection will also set limits to the Remedy games. Alan Wake will require either the Windows Vista operating system or Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console as its platform. The game will not be translated for other consoles.
Myllyrinne does not see this as a hindrance. The fact that the game does not have to be translated to all different platforms will simplify and speed up its production.
Remedy's previous hit games Max Payne 1 and Max Payne 2 have sold over seven million copies worldwide. Among gaming enthusiasts, the launch of Alan Wake is most eagerly awaited.
Nevertheless, despite the possible success, Remedy will not be significantly increasing the size of the company, Järvilehto vows.