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id CEO Hollenshead: Studio To Remain 'Games First, Licenses Second'
id CEO Hollenshead: Studio To Remain 'Games First, Licenses Second' Exclusive
May 12, 2009 | By Chris Remo

May 12, 2009 | By Chris Remo
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    6 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive



Veteran independent studio id Software has been ambitious with its plans for upcoming engine id Tech 5, intending its use across multiple platforms and genres -- but don't expect the company to shoot for an Epic-size list of licensees, says CEO Todd Hollenshead.

"Our philosophy really hasn't changed from what it's always been, which is games first, licenses second," Hollenshead tells Gamasutra in a new interview. "Working on Rage and working on Doom [4], which are both id Tech 5 games, are certainly our top priorities."

The company first announced id Tech 5 in 2007, and claims it can seamlessly support multiple platforms -- with "90 percent" of game code working across PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. It also features John Carmack's MegaTexture technology.

Traditionally, id's engines -- previously named somewhat informally after the id games for which they were first developed -- were licensed to a relatively small group of PC-oriented studios whose games fell close to id's on the genre spectrum.

As id itself expands its scope with the genre-bending, multiplatform Rage, that spectrum is sure to widen, but the company's core licensing philosophy is unlikely to change radically.

"It's been more of kind of actually going out and targeting developers, or responding to their requests and actually going out and actually working with them on an individual basis, as opposed to a more kind of marketed, kind of broader approach," Hollenshead explains.

"Our philosophy on that has been that we'd rather have a small number of good-fit, high-quality developer licensees than a bunch that aren't really good fits or that may not be that bright of a licensee anyway."

Part of that is to maintain a certain reputation. "We think that the licensees...are going to have an impact on how the technology is perceived," the CEO adds.

Although it has not done much large-scale licensing promotion, the company has already "seeded tech out to a few licensees," according to Hollenshead, and the engine's development is on track.

"The main things has been getting the tech to the 'done' stage, where things aren't moving around, and people can set expectations about how they're going to do their budgets," he says. "It's to that point. There's no significant engineering risk about whether things will work or not."


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Comments


Maurício Gomes
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I want this to be released soon...



This way Doom 3 engine gets released open source!



OOps... Id Tech 4...



Naaah.... Doom 3 o/ Only Id Tech 5 is Id Tech something... Or Rage Engine? Ragengine? Ragine?

Paul Lazenby
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With all due respect, the reason the D3 Engine isn't licensed more is that... nobody wanted it.

I've never heard of a dev being turned down after offering to purchase a license for it.

The tech was impressive on smaller scale interiors, but broke down horribly when applied to larger locales (witness Quake 4).

I applaud id for wanting to focus on their games - hopefully this means that they'll be less out-of-touch with the industry and their consumer than their most recent efforts. However having seen a little of Rage, which looks like Doom meets Dirt, I'm not so sure...

I really want id to have a comeback, but honestly I'm not sure they have it in them.

Alexander Hofstädter
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I don't see how anyone can say id has grown out of touch with their games and licensees. Carmack himself hit the nail straight away: People wanted big outdoor areas and vehicles and that was exactly what the Tech4 engine could not provide, because that's not what Doom³ was about.



Now they have taken a different aproach that is suited for their upcoming game and chances are that this time around public demand is somewhat nearer to what they are aiming at internally. How is developing technology for your own games first growing out of touch? The "focusing on their own games" isn't just a bad excuse. People will either see the benefits and buy it or leave it be. I strongly doubt that either will make or break id.

Tyler Peters
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Actually I'd have to agree with Lazenby - remember Doom3? Remember how you couldn't use the flashlight on certain levels? I mean really, that was just ridiculous. id's games have not really progressed much over the years, and their story elements are downright poor.

Hopefully they're able to get back on track, but they need more than new tech - they need a new way of thinking.

Alexander Hofstädter
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The reason you couldn't use the flashlight in certain levels was not that the engine couldn't handle it but that it looked awkward from an artistic point of view. The same reason why self shadowing was possible in Doom³ but actually turned off. Also what kind of argument is that? Remember how the flashlight in Half Life² was not even a real flashlight? Right, Half-Life was still a good game and so was Doom.



Maybe it's not id that has grown out of touch with its fans but rather some people who used to be fans back then and have different priorities with games nowadays. Not that this is any bad, I just don't see why some seem to think that it's id who isn't delivering anymore. It's just them wanting different things.

Shane Stacy
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It not just id a alot of games lose touch with the players. Players have nothing to take away with after playing or beating them. Companies are just so busy with devlopment, graphics, and gameplay issues. That story telling or major battles and levels, bosses too are too easy, down played or missing.



I think id changes are good if they are retooling more than just the id Tech 5. Hireing in more people will bring new ideas. Also they need to be a very diversed group not just in games. The old way of thinking is not going to bring you to an EPIC place on any platform. Thinking out side the box. Get in touch with your current clients needs.Then start looking at the Players what they expect new and old. Start thinking about what you like to see in future clients. Having read the" Interview: Welcome To The Id Experience" you got too many projects and little staff on each. I wonder what the hours are like for them? A fresh mind is less likely to make errors and rework. Market research will tell you the trends so that your not spread thin on something that will not bring back a return. Who is doing the R&D and marketing reseach? This is time the for risk in the markets take one and

bring a fresh revented product to everyone. And the rewards will be EPIC in size.


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