Trion's hopes for beating triple-A console games
Trion's CEO Lars Buttler continually paints the company as one in motion while much of the competition stands still. After all, his company is serious about developing triple-A massively multiplayer content at a time where it seems increasingly risky, as he himself discusses
In an interview conducted at the company's booth at E3, he told Gamasutra of both the company's "declaration of love for the gamers" and its is strong tech and business mechanisms.
He believes these will keep the company from falling victim to market forces which are pressuring console-focused publishers -- and help it attract developers who see the console market as on an inevitable downward trend.
"The traditional packaged goods games market is mature, and I think it shows many elements of the movie market -- where unless you have a giant hit, you're not making money," says Buttler.
"The long tail still making money is gone," he says. "And everybody is essentially trying to reduce their portfolio to the few big things, and then double, triple down, and that actually increases sequelitis."
"What we do is the opposite of sequelitis," he says.
The company has selected Crytek's free-to-play Warface
, originally launched in Eastern Europe, as its next product for Western markets. "We're very kindred companies," he says, in terms of "the way we see the world going." He describes the game as "real social -- not just on a social network."
While the company also has its fantasy MMO RPG Rift
, an MMORTS, End of Nations
, and a sci-fi massively multiplayer shooter, Defiance
, developed in partnership with the Syfy network, these are all established genres. He sees plenty of room to grow the company toward other genres and other audiences before repeating itself -- particularly with the help of development partners.
"We want to talk to any amazing developers" -- developers who are in the triple-A space but are tired of being forced into creating the same sequels. "And not having the same relationship where they're subservient," says Buttler. "Where their interests are not necessarily aligned" with their publishing partners.
He wants to talk to developers who "also see that the console market is going down," says Buttler. "I think the writing is on the wall and the best developers will want to make the step sooner."
He sees Trion as a triple-A publisher "at the height of our art form, but doing new things. Not dumbing it down or doing the same old same old... Basically, keeping the quality where the market is today but making it live, and dynamic, and more social, and free-to-play, and revolutionary in terms of what you can do now."
He frames this as "a declaration of love to the gamers. We want to give them the coolest, most exciting product."
The company's previously-announced Red Door initiative
is still in its early stages, with the company still being very cautious about selecting partners to bring into the fold, but last month Trion's engineers implemented the microtransaction engine which will power its commerce and analytics.
"It can learn," he says. "It can monetize every single customer separately if we want to," tracking both purchase behavior and play behavior. "The content should revolve around the player. The MTX engine takes that concept over to monetization," says Buttler. "In the future, we should literally be able to apply any monetization model to any user at any time."
Whether this is also part of the company's declaration of love to gamers, it is unclear -- but it continues to march toward the future it sees, or at least hopes, is inevitable. The company raised another $85 million
earlier this year on the strength of its plans.