Starbreeze – An Update from Eurogamer

Honestly there hasn’t been a whole lot of movement that I’m aware of regarding the developer/publisher Starbreeze. Eurogamer has published a really good article though. It’s quite long, but goes into great detail concerning the history of Starbreeze and Overkill, their very strange merger, and the ups and downs of their projects and money.

One of the surprising takeaways is that in the merger Starbreeze paid Overkill with stock, instead of money, but it had such little value that they essentially handed majority control to Overkill.

On the whole, it sounds like Mr. Andersson was a very strong personality, with some very strong ideas and vision. He invested the company heavily in a wide variety of projects, many of which never panned out. In a way it’s not that different from what I see Valve and Star Citizen doing. Both of them have seemingly obscene amounts of money and seem to just generally throw it at the wall to see what sticks.

In reality, I think the comparison to Star Citizen is the most accurate. The Walking Dead had a long and expensive development time with engine switches, feature changes, scope changes, and a lack of direction, all of which we’ve had hints of behind the scenes with Star Citizen as well.

Both games are/were selling a dream, a big one. In the case of The Walking Dead, though, the money ran out. They had to push a product because there wasn’t anything left to develop it with. A problem Star Citizen doesn’t have yet, it seems.

Of course, Starbreeze also spent a ton of money on various VR related projects as well. Not a bad move, per se, but the market just isn’t there yet. I mean, sure, I’d love to have an HTC Vive myself. I’m not sure about Payday 2 in VR, but I’d try it, but Elite would be wonderful to experience in VR, and there are several other cute little titles that would be fun toys as well.

That’s where I feel the market is at right now though. It’s a toy that would be fun to tinker with for a while, but at $500 it’s still a bit steep and hard to justify. On top of that, I’m not even certain my PC has the power to push decently quality VR. I’ve tested some VR videos using a phone and a cheap plastic headset and it didn’t really sit well with me. I don’t know if it was a framerate problem or what, but it’s given me some pause on buying hardware I might not be able to even use.

It also appears to the be case that one of the individuals detained when authorities raided the Starbreeze office was Bo Andersson himself, but he was apparently released with no charges. I expect we’ll hear from him again at some point, once the chaos and noise die down somewhat. He apparently has some manner of pet project he wants to make, so that’ll be a thing.

With Starbreeze officially in reconstruction I’ve given some thought to buying some stock. Provided they don’t eventually fold, I doubt it’ll get much cheaper than it is now, and if they manage to somehow survive long enough to put out something like Payday 3, they may stand a chance of actually making some money. Maybe.

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