Haze Developer Sees Dim Future for UK Gaming Industry

David Doak of Haze developer Free Radical Design sees a dim future for the UK gaming industry.

During a David Doak interview conducted by GamesIndustry.biz, the Free Radical Design co-founder (pictured left) issued strong comments regarding the current relationship between the UK government and video game developers.

"Here's an industry that 20 years ago we led the world in--through bedroom rock-and-roll development on the early home computers--and now there's a very real chance that what is now a real profession is going to be driven out of the UK because they don't make any concessions to it," Doak said. His independent studio resides in Nottingham, England.

Doak--whose past credits include Rare's GoldenEye 007 and Free Radical's TimeSplitters series--was also critical of the UK's focus on video games as a moral issue. "The UK Government needs to do something more useful than just criticizing violent content in video games," he said.

Earlier this year, Labour party MP Keith Vaz met with Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss the issue of violent videogames being made available to children. Following that meeting, Blair had mostly good things to say about the industry, stating, "The talent and creativity that our industry houses and nurtures is what makes the games industry a part of Britain's cultural heritage, and more specifically, an important asset in Britain's creative and cultural future."

What Doak would prefer is assistance, rather than talk. He pointed out the UK government's affinity for the film industry, while at the same time bemoaning the general disregard for the many video game developers across the country. "If you look up the best places to live in the world, Nottingham is not British Columbia," he quipped, explaining that personnel are often being pulled away to countries like Canada, where game development is currently thriving due in part to government support.

Doak was in Paris for the Ubidays event, there to promote his studio's upcoming first-person shooter Haze. Although the game was originally expected to release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, the game's multiplatform status became unclear when publisher Ubisoft began referring to the title only as a PlayStation 3 game. Doak mentioned that, while the game will debut on the PlayStation 3, other versions are in development for "all platforms."

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  • reply
    May 24, 2007 12:54 PM

    He speaks wise words, but it's all changing.

    I know of several British schemes in the work to give us the juicy government moneys, and we'll be turning a corner very soon. The film industry has a 70 year head start over the games industry, so we can't expect too much too soon.

    It's all going pretty fast. Public opinion of games in the UK has shifted dramatically fast, with games now generally being 'accepted' as an 'art form' (if you're feeling particularly poncey) over here.

    We need pubs with Guitar Hero machines though.

    • reply
      May 24, 2007 2:04 PM

      He's chatting about the UK in particularly, but I don't know of any country which helps out their gaming industry with concessions.

      • reply
        May 24, 2007 2:05 PM

        I think France gives them funds or tax breaks or something. That's not bad.

      • reply
        May 24, 2007 2:34 PM

        I'm pretty sure there's a good reason why there are lots of studios in Montreal, to pick an example.

      • reply
        May 24, 2007 2:37 PM

        Many countries do. Norway, France, Canada, I think Australia, plenty of others.

        • ArB legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
          May 24, 2007 2:54 PM

          They should just stop taxing everyone. The net result would be the same. Actually it would be better, because the politicians would starve to death.

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