Flying Wild Hog, the Polish studio identified largely for Laborious Reset and the 2 Shadow Warrior video games, type of went underground after the discharge of Shadow Warrior 2.
Actually, you could not even know that they bought acquired by Supernova Capital, an funding agency based by former Splash Harm CEO Paul Wedgwood, in March 2019.
As we at the moment are effectively into 2020, we thought we would attempt to shine a shiny mild on the way forward for Flying Wild Hog. Fortunately, CEO Michał Szustak was type sufficient to agree to speak in regards to the latest development of the studio, its future tasks, their choice to change engine and plenty of sizzling business matters from next-gen to cloud gaming, VR and extra. Benefit from the learn!
Good day, Michał. Are you able to catch us up on what Flying Wild Hog has been as much as within the final three years or so?
Yeah, certain. We launched our final recreation (Shadow Warrior 2) in 2016 and since then we had been really fairly quiet, however numerous issues had been taking place behind the scenes. Shadow Warrior 2 was a extremely formidable mission for us and we had been tremendous pleased with the end result, in our opinion it was an incredible success, every of our video games we predict is significantly better than the earlier one, and we actually needed to maintain the bottom however it got here apparent to us that we can not develop organically as we did earlier than. We wanted to truly be extra mature to have the ability to ship much more formidable tasks. So, after releasing Shadow Warrior 2, we determined that we needed to develop, we needed to rework Flying Wild Hog from a single mission studio right into a multi-project studio.
And truly to have the ability to do this we would have liked to seek out the suitable associate to assist us with this development. We knew numerous tales within the gaming business that in some unspecified time in the future, when studios begin to develop, they really can collapse underneath the prices of this development, underestimating that it is likely to be tougher than they count on to begin making extra tasks in additional areas on the similar time. So we began searching for any individual that might share the experience with us. Clearly, it was enterprise associated conversations. We talked to publishers, we talked to funding funds, and at last, we discovered any individual that really linked all these experiences, it was Supernova, an funding fund constructed by the sport veterans who created and managed Splash Harm for 15 years. The blokes who really knew make video games but additionally knew develop enterprise and truly to rework it into a extremely financially profitable studio. The essential factor for us, once we had been searching for the associate, was for him to truly recognize the imaginative and prescient for the studio we had on the time. We actually needed to stay impartial. We needed to nonetheless be artistic, we needed to nonetheless make authentic motion video games, it was essential for us.
Additionally, Flying Wild Hog relies on making new, cool, proto-experimental stuff. Typically it is likely to be scary for our companions that we’re experimenting and prototyping and iterating loads earlier than really releasing one thing. So we actually needed our new associate to truly recognize it too. And it turned out that Supernova shared this imaginative and prescient, they actually favored the values we had within the studio. So we discovered the suitable associate for us. And these final three years have been actually busy for us.
Clearly, proper after every Shadow Warrior 2, we spent like six months releasing the sport on consoles, which took us a while, but additionally we grew, we grew immensely. On the finish of 2016, we opened a studio in Cracow in Poland. Then in 2018, we opened an workplace in Rzeszów as we grew from 100 folks in 2016 to 230 proper now. It hasn’t been like a bit of cake to develop the studio greater than twice in such a brief time frame.
We did not have HR, we did not have PR. We did not care about funds. We had been simply, you realize, a bunch of fellows that needed to make superior video games. And it labored. We knew all people within the studio, it was like 70/75 folks for Shadow Warrior 2. So really, it was nonetheless a extremely huge household, however we did not want the rest in addition to the objective to make superior video games.
Nonetheless, if you need to have a number of tasks without delay, 200 folks, three areas, then you must begin fascinated about all this boring stuff that really helps your skill to make superior video games. And Supernova actually helped us to know that we would have liked to construct IT, HR, you realize, finance, stuff like that. So these final two years had been additionally spent on doing that. They undoubtedly helped us with the enterprise pipeline. They’re tremendous skilled on this space. So that they skilled us, they confirmed us delegate issues. However what we favored probably the most in our work with them is that they actually share the identical imaginative and prescient for the studio, which was really to concentrate on making individuals who work right here actually pleased. As a result of we at all times believed that solely pleased folks will be artistic. Solely pleased folks could make, you realize, superior video games. They usually stored us on this space. The large step for us additionally was really to alter the engine we used in-house as a result of for like seven years, we used our proprietary engine referred to as Roadhog and launched Shadow Warrior 2 utilizing this engine.
And we’re actually, actually proud that we had been capable of really make and develop the engine on the similar time we had been doing the video games. So it was an superior success for us, however it got here at a value. We wanted to have a extremely huge engine crew and it was at all times such as you had been chasing the rabbit as a result of there was the CryEngine, Unreal Engine, Unity. And we noticed that the hole between this enormous Epic crew making new cool stuff, including options to their engine, and our 10-people engine crew who’s making an attempt to maintain the bottom, the hole was getting bigger and bigger. So a 12 months and a half in the past we determined to truly swap to Unreal Engine four. I believe it was the primary I’d say mature choice we made with Supernova’s assist as a result of we understood that we had been type of pushed by the sentiment that we have now to have an engine as a result of, you realize, father points, however in the long run they’d us perceive that what we actually need to do is to concentrate on making video games, experimental gameplay, authentic, explosive enjoyable. And Unreal Engine four is nice for that, it is tremendous versatile. It is really a lot simpler to organize prototypes than it was in Roadhog. So we have now way more area for experimentation there. It was one thing enormous for us.
I am questioning about your video games in improvement. Did it’s important to swap engines in the midst of the event section? And was it laborious, altering from the Roadhog engine to Unreal Engine four, or was it seamless?
Sincere, trustworthy reply. Yeah, it was laborious, however possibly in just a little totally different means than you’d count on; it wasn’t laborious by way of, you realize, expertise or instruments. It was laborious as a result of, for a few years, our crew was used to make use of our personal engine. And critically, many, a lot of our staff had been sad due to the choice. As a result of it was our engine. We had been certainly one of few studios on this planet that really might make superior video games utilizing their very own proprietary engine, so it was extra like a psychological drawback or issue than it was by way of expertise. By way of expertise, in a number of months, we really remade all our prototypes and our video games into Unreal Engine four, so it wasn’t troublesome. However you realize, even after a 12 months and a half of engaged on UE4 with few tasks in improvement, with actually superior stuff we created, we generally nonetheless hear within the corridors that it was cool once we had been doing one thing in Roadhog as a result of this explicit factor was just a little simpler to realize within the outdated engine. Sentiments die actually slowly.
That is comprehensible. However, you realize, at the very least that is what I heard from different builders, Unreal Engine normally quickens improvement most often.
There was an interview this past November on a Polish website the place it was confirmed that you’ve got three unannounced video games within the works at Flying Wild Hog.
That is proper. Yep.
So is it one per workplace?
No, no, it is extra difficult than that. Within the greatest studio in Warsaw, we have round 150 folks, whereas the opposite studios have round 30 folks every. So we’re engaged on two titles in Warsaw, with some help from the opposite groups. And people groups collectively are engaged on the third mission.
Okay. Are all these meant to be AAA or only one and possibly the others are smaller? How would you classify them?
Our dream clearly is to have all our video games with the very best high quality potential. We had been at all times, you realize, floating into this triple-A/indie space. So we hope that we are able to really go away this space with the 2 tasks we’re going to announce this 12 months. So it should be one thing enormous for us. For my part, we are going to lastly ship a full triple-A expertise with these two titles. The third title is just a little smaller, however it’s nonetheless an authentic motion recreation with superior high quality and enjoyable.
In fact, I do know that the video games are unannounced, however I’ve to attempt to pry some generic particulars at the very least, just like the genres. You will have made two first-person shooter video games to this point. Are these new tasks doing all first-person shooter video games, too, or possibly is there a recreation that is a bit totally different from what you’ve got accomplished previously?
Our DNA is to experiment, to at all times search for one thing new. So, we will certainly not abandon the first-person shooter area however we actually need to develop our method. In order that’s my trustworthy reply.
Okay, okay, that is honest sufficient. And, you realize, that is simply me pondering out loud, one recreation might be a sequel to Shadow Warrior 2. However aside from that, do you might have some other authentic IPs amongst these video games?
It is in our DNA that we actually need to create authentic motion video games. In order that’s the reply.
All proper. In fact, this 12 months, we will have two new consoles from Sony and Microsoft launching, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Sequence X. Do you might have improvement instruments already?
Oh, I actually wish to reply this query, however I can not.
All proper. Effectively, are you able to inform me at the very least what you consider them primarily based on the specs which have been launched by Sony and Microsoft, you realize, the SSD, the elevated processor energy with AMD’s Ryzen expertise? What do you consider that?
So for us, since we do motion video games, we’re tremendous pleased as a result of it will likely be a lot simpler to ship 60 frames per second, clearly. I am an old-fashioned gamer so 60FPS is essential for me. So yeah, I am tremendous enthusiastic about it. By way of difficulties with making the video games, I believe the brand new era can be way more accessible. So we predict that we’ll have much less issues to truly, you realize, develop video games for subsequent than we had with the current-gen. Clearly UE4 helps loads, however we have now very skilled folks within the studio, engineers and programmers, so we’re prepared to truly make a recreation for next-gen.
However simply so that you can know, as tremendous excited as we’re for the brand new era, I can promise that we’ll not overlook about current-gen house owners and we need to ship our video games to all of the individuals who need to have enjoyable. So, I can promise that everyone will get it.
Okay, that is cross-gen confirmed mainly! On one other tech subject, I am questioning if you’re enthusiastic about raytracing. Is it one thing you are trying ahead to utilizing in your video games?
In phrases, of you realize, high quality of the graphics, shadows and clearly sensible lighting, it is superior. I actually get pleasure from tech demos or video games that really introduce it. Even Minecraft with this superior raytracing and engine upgrades appears to be like marvelous. So yeah, that is most likely the course the business will comply with. By way of focus, I really need us to be extra centered on the gameplay expertise, cool and explosive enjoyable. So does it matter? Not that a lot.
I’d say it is a pure evolution to make extra sensible video games. However the dimension of the business, the quantity of people that play video games, is rising yearly. So I do not consider that realism is the one right means of constructing video games. I believe there’s numerous area to make sensible video games that use raytracing but additionally not-so-realistic video games that use raytracing, like Minecraft. So for me, it is stunning. It is wonderful how we are able to really ship with raytracing, however it’s only a instrument. If it is proper for the inventive imaginative and prescient of the sport, then superior, however it won’t be mandatory to truly use it.
One thing else that is additionally going huge within the business is the appearance of cloud gaming with Google Stadia, Microsoft’s Undertaking xCloud, NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW and so forth. What do you consider that? Each from a developer and enterprise standpoint.
From the developer viewpoint, it is superior, as a result of the extra entry to the viewers the higher, proper? For Flying Wild Hog as a studio, it is likely to be even higher as a result of we’re actually specializing in delivering an superior second-to-second expertise. I can think about that sooner or later, Google Stadia or any related merchandise will slowly evolve into pay for hour mannequin. For us, it is cool as a result of we’re actually specializing in delivering enjoyable each minute that you just’re taking part in the sport. By way of the second in time that it might occur with success, I do not know. Proper now you’ll be able to, you realize, play utilizing Stadia. It really works. Is it successful? I believe all people anticipated way more, way more, so I nonetheless suppose it is extra sooner or later.
Yeah, so possibly it’s going to take a number of years but.
Yeah. I imply, 5G community, that may change loads, however nonetheless, even that’s sooner or later.
Just a few years in the past, simply earlier than Shadow Warrior 2 was launched on consoles, we had an interview with Flying Wild Hog Tadeusz Zielinski. He informed us mainly that we requested about this, which was about to launch and he mentioned mainly that there have been no plans on the time to port the sport. However three years later the Nintendo Swap is a giant success, so, did you consider it, or are you continue to fascinated about it?
I am fascinated about this loads. Truthfully. The most important drawback we have now is definitely our engine. If it had been accomplished utilizing Unreal, it might be launched instantly, however to port our engine to the Swap is a giant process. So we’re fascinated about it however I do not know what is going on to occur. I’d be tremendous pleased to have all our Flying Wild Hog video games on the Swap.
And one thing else is VR. On the time he mentioned he was skeptical about VR and it hasn’t grown loads by way of participant base however alternatively Half-Life: Alyx is coming, so it appears to be like like it would get bigger. What do you consider it now?
I believe the reply to the query is content material, clearly. And Alyx is like the primary. Severely, I believe it is the primary, like, actually, actually huge launch that’s unique for VR. So who is aware of? Valve introduced that they are promoting VR units like loopy. So it adjustments issues. Am I nonetheless just a little suspicious about the way forward for VR? Yeah, I am nonetheless a bit suspicious as a result of it is not really easy to truly begin taking part in utilizing VR headsets. I imply, I believe it was final 12 months that they really launched the headset for VR with out cables.
Yeah, the Oculus Quest.
So it took like a few years to truly ship that. And nonetheless, it is like, costly and never a very talked-about selection for VR customers [We have now to right Michał right here, because the Oculus Quest is relatively reasonably priced for a VR headset and that is a part of the rationale it’s promoting extremely effectively]. So possibly sooner or later it will likely be a lot simpler to truly simply take the goggles, simply put them on and also you begin having enjoyable, superior. If it’s important to mount cameras there, cameras right here. If it’s important to use the cords. If it’s important to nonetheless pay attention to the issues that encompass you as a result of in any other case you would possibly break a leg. Then VR would nonetheless be area of interest. AR, I believe it is likely to be just a little extra fascinating since you are conscious of the environment and you may really use it in artistic methods. However Magic Leap I anticipated, you realize, magic. And the magic did not occur. So I believe it is nonetheless troublesome from a technical viewpoint to ship the expertise and the convenience to make use of that clients would count on, however I believe it is nonetheless sooner or later to truly overcome these technical issues.
I’ve only a couple extra questions earlier than I can allow you to go. One might be laborious so that you can reply, however let’s give it a strive anyway. You mentioned Flying Wild Hog is about to announce two video games this 12 months, proper. So, you realize, not making an attempt to gauge a launch date out of you, however are you curious about following brief hype cycle from the announcement to the discharge date, like Bethesda did with Fallout four to present you an instance? Or is it going to be like a 12 months at the very least between the announcement and the discharge date that you’ve got in thoughts?
So I can not, clearly, reply that instantly however retrospectively we have now actually good expertise with extra centered shorter advertising and marketing campaigns. That is all I can say.
I will take that underneath advisement. And one final query, which needs to be simpler so that you can reply. Are you going to self-publish these video games? Or do you continue to depend on companions like Devolver Digital for instance?
We actually love working with Devolver. We love Devolver. However truthfully, we self-published just one recreation in our historical past (Laborious Reset) and it wasn’t successful. So we discovered that we needs to be centered on what we do finest, making video games, and we discover the suitable associate to promote the video games to the viewers. Truthfully, I would like to work with a associate that really understands our values and like working with us and simply take this burden from our shoulders.
Comprehensible. Thanks a lot in your time!