Avalanche boss to devs: "Without passion you will fail"

Just Cause studio founder Christofer Sundberg says it is easy to get distracted as projects grow in size, but success comes from passion.

Avalanche Studios founder Christofer Sundberg has a message to studio leaders: success comes from passion.

As part of a wide-ranging GamesIndustry International feature on studio growth, Sundberg warned of the perils of putting aspirations for money ahead of making great games.

"In terms of nurturing the studio, I'd like to encourage studio heads to not lose touch with games development, which was probably (hopefully) the reason they started their studios in the first place," Sundberg said. "I know it's easy to get detached as the budgets and projects grow, as bigger publishing partners and investors join, but without the passion for game development you will fail."

"Finally, everyone wants to make money, but I have always said that the day we start focusing on being a business rather than a game development studio, we've lost our soul and our right to exist," he added. "Passion for games is everything. If you find yourself flat broke (I've been there) and still feel motivated to create the game of your dreams, you're a winner."

Sundberg made headlines recently for saying most games today are too short and that's why they are traded in.

The latest project from Sundberg and Avalanche Studios is Mad Max, which will be released in 2014 published by Warner Bros. The car combat-focused game does not feature any multiplayer.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

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Discussion

73 comments
JoeGamer1234
JoeGamer1234

Says a guy whose company is making a Mad Max game with no multiplayer.

tightwad34
tightwad34

So if a dev team makes a game they would like to play, it's a good thing? Get outta here. You can't pull people's heads out of their asses unless they want it.

Poison-tooth
Poison-tooth

Be passionate about Mad Max or the Night Rider will get you!

Elann2008
Elann2008

While I do I agree with his message, he needs to walk the walk!

Tychobrahi
Tychobrahi

Actually more money under the right studio benefits the development aspect of a AAA game a lot. I look at Bioware and the Mass Effect series as a good example. You can really see the passion in their work even for every piece of DLC released. They've never faltered in quality. 

King9999
King9999

Don't grow the company too big and you're good, IMO.

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

what the guy spoke is just basic and simple truth.

no biggie for those of us who care about the quality of the games, but, obviously, a huge biggie for those that care most about profit.

now, let's see these guys back up their words and lets hope other devs/pubs listen and do the same.

AlwaysRunning
AlwaysRunning

Now, what have we learned?

- Loss of control.

Good.

- Screaming and hollering.

Yes! And most importantly?

- Passion!!

Shango4
Shango4

Something EAware will never learn.

grupil
grupil

Passion, as in fans being Passionate about Max's australian identity? we want a red australian wasteland and Australian voiceovers, it will make the game way cooler and more original.

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

Remember to wash your hands before stuffing your gullet also.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

STFU and produce a game, rather than spouting off crap in the gaming media every week.  Let us judge you on how well YOU DELIVER.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I'll be honest, I'm not sure I can take seriously a man talking about artistic integrity when his studio has been hired to make a videogame adaptation of one of the biggest movie licenses there is.

soulfulDAGGER
soulfulDAGGER

If they're so passionate about Madmax, then hire an Australian born actor to portray the voice.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"success comes from passion" I'm sure most if not all developers are passionate, but far from every game is successful and/or good, so while I agree that passion is vital, I as a consumer only cares about the result. If I had to choose between a game developer that hates its job, but still creates good games or a really passionate developer that produces uneven, flawed games I'd choose the former each time.

digishah
digishah

The few white knights of the gaming industry...

holtrocks
holtrocks

This guy seems to talk alot, im okay with this.

kid_Jump94
kid_Jump94

i appricate this... i feel like most games try to reach a broader audience for money, doing so loses many fans and this broader audience is also being attracted by another game, because thats the type of audience everyone is gunning for.

so you end up releasing a game losing fans, trying to reach an audience which probably wont care or wont care enough to become anything close to a "fan" :p


PixelAddict
PixelAddict

This is true in anything you do.  Personal life, professional life, gaming, gardening, sports.  You lack passion, and you'll be sitting on the sideline whining about those who are succeeding where you are not.

Success comes from passion.

mdc1983
mdc1983

Company that says Mad Max must have a "generic" voice tells us how important passion is.


Dafuq?

daviz88
daviz88

I agree with what he said but before he gets full of him self let's see some game play footage and judge for ourselves.

makryu
makryu

Suddenly every fart from this guy turns into news. Anyone knows why?

ryanreynolds
ryanreynolds

Who the hell are Avalanche anyways? They have made what...five games,all of them mediocre at best,but this guy is speaking like Avalanche is/are one of the most influential studios and game developers in the industry.Shut up already!

ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

Just Cause 2 was a lot of fun.  We need more games like this.

robbiejones
robbiejones

hmmm just cause dev making mad max game...wasn't a fan of just cause but I hope they create a much more meaningful world with mad max game.

cboye18
cboye18

Well passionate game developing is long gone. It was at its peak during the PS2/Gamecube era. IMO, online multiplayer is guilty for this...

isv666
isv666

I have to say I absolutely agree with him.  So many studios start because of passion and end up caving into the business side entirely which often results in a poor quality end product.  

KommonSinse
KommonSinse

It's true, if you don't have passion and love what you're doing it will show in your work, especially if it's an entertainment product like novels, movies, or games.

gamingfrendly
gamingfrendly

i hope its not like just cause 2 pointless destruction of the same objects i honestly want this game to be good but i think i read somewhere it is focused around vehicle combat...  RAGE sucked because of it.

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

Does that mean he's not that passionate either? I've played their games and let's just not that great. 

96augment
96augment

@Tychobrahi What about Dragon Age 2? That game wasn't as good as Dragon Age: Origins.

AlwaysRunning
AlwaysRunning

@King9999 That's the problem with corporations. They are legally obligated to deliver more and more and more profit to their shareholders. There's no such thing as just "doing well." You need to constantly exceed all expectations!!

That's why independently owned studios are churning out greatness, while people like EA are...not. Indies are allowed to experiment and follow their creativity.

hystavito
hystavito

@udubdawgz Yeah it's common sense that applies to almost any profession or endeavour.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@mdc1983 

Good point, I was about to agree with him, but you're right about that.  That was a very odd decision that's going to do nothing but alienate Mad Max's core fanbase.  And besides them, who really is going to care that much about a new Mad Max?


Hurvl
Hurvl

@makryu Once you start an avalanche it's hard to stop it, that's why we keep getting news articles about him :P.

EbenOlemaun
EbenOlemaun

@ryanreynolds Actually Just Cause 2 was released to wide spread critical acclaim and sold millions of copies. For a small developer that is actually pretty good. No one does over the top action like they do.

daviz88
daviz88

why do think there so many FPS games nowadays as compare to PS2 that was rich in variety, it all start with COD's multiplayer. when COD hit the one billion dollar mark one 2-3 occasions, must developer became blinded by greed and started turning to FPS or incorporate a half-ass multiplayer game.

Pilgrim117
Pilgrim117

@gamingfrendly The idea of upgrading your personal vehicule in a vast open-world is awesome. RAGE sucked because even after 8 years in the making, the game felt rushed; story, ennemies, missions, multiplayer, a not so vast world, and the ending, god the awful ending... The shooting gameplay was good for the most part.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Rayzakk There's more to success than just passion. Passionate amateurs are not as good as skilled veterans. No game suits everyone, though, (and the ones that try that end up suiting no one) so I see your point. Even smaller companies are allowed to give good (imo, obvious) advice, but it may ring hollow if you don't like that company.

Pilgrim117
Pilgrim117

@Rayzakk Agreed, it was too over-the-top for my taste. Renegade Ops is a good arcade game though.

gothemile
gothemile

@Rayzakk I can see Just Cause 1 as not that great, Just Cause 2 is simply awesome. Just like how Red Dead Revolver compared to Redemption, Redemption overwhelms it. They've practically made 4 games, and they aren't that bad/not bad at all at what they do.

Tychobrahi
Tychobrahi

@96augment @Tychobrahi Because it failed in many aspects of its game design and it was rushed. If your design is fundamentally flawed then no matter what, it's going to fail. 

ryanreynolds
ryanreynolds

 @EbenOlemaun @ryanreynolds Widespread critcal acclaim,millions of copies,small studio...Really,now? The game received mostly positive reviews,but it's not what i'd call critical acclaim.And it sold 1.5 million copies...across all platforms. And Avalanche have around 200 employees (around 160 when Just Cause 2 was released). Not something i'd call "a small studio".

4A games had around 60 employees when Last Light was released (and around 40 when 2033 was released),GSC had around 50 when S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow Of Chernobyl and Clear Sky were released. This is what i call "a small studio". 

Oh,and besides these games have a cult following and strong legacy. And each game sold more copies than Just Cause 2.

gamingfrendly
gamingfrendly

@Pilgrim117  i just hope they dont force you to use the cars every time or ignore having upgradable weapons etc in favor of your car.

dussan2
dussan2

@gothemile Red Dead Redemption and Just Cause mentioned in the same sentence.  Something about that is not right.

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

@gothemile Paid $5 on steam for Just Cause 2 and it just didn't do much for me. 

96augment
96augment

@Tychobrahi But you said Bioware's games have never faltered in quality. So, I was trying to give an example. Yes, it failed in many aspects of game design. That's why I'm a little bit worried about Dragon Age: Inquisition. 

ryanreynolds
ryanreynolds

@shikori_4 @ryanreynolds @EbenOlemaun 


Um,nope. Metro 2033 sold 1.5 milion copies,Shadow of Chernobyl sold 2 million copies (mind you,this is a pc only game), Clear Sky sold 1.5 million copies (pc only too), LL doubled the sales of 2033. Get your facts straight.
Then again these are games from a SMALL DEVELOPER STUDIOS on the real world scale that had probably 1/5 of the budget of Just Cause 2.
I don't need to look at user videos on youtube to tell me if a game is good. By that logic you can go to moddb and tell me how many mods are there for Just Cause 2 and how many for Shadow of Chernobyl/Clear Sky/Call Of Pripyat. Shadow of Chernobyl was released in april 2007.  That's over 6 years now.


If you like the game that's fine. But don't try to make it out a masterpiece.Because it's not.


Oh and besides...Have you played Mercenaries Playground of destruction and Mercenaries 2 World in Flames? Because both games look and play like Just Cause/ Just Cause 2...

shikori_4
shikori_4

@ryanreynolds @EbenOlemaun

Just Cause 2

Sales: 3.09million (get your facts straight)

Metascores:84,83,81

Metro 2033

Sales: 630,000

Metascores:81,77

Metro:Last Light

Sales:370,000

Metascores:82,80,80

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: shadow of chernobyl

Sales: 20,000

Metascore: none

S.T.A.L.K.E.R : clear sky 

Sales:20,000

Metascore:75


I think this boils down to STFU, get your facts straight and stop spreading FUD. 


Just cause 2 sold 1.4mil on xbox, 1.5mil on ps3 and 80k on pc. I think you may have mistook one of those console sales numbers for the total sales, or maybe you used some old number.

Just Cause 2 was released in March 2010.  That's over   3years now. A quick YouTube search will reveal just how much of a following Just Cause 2 has. As little as 2 months ago there is one video with over 800k views. Videos relating to JC2 with hundreds of thousands of views uploaded in the last few months are all over YouTube. If you filter the search you will see loads of new JC2 vids popping up almost daily. You can't say that about most of the games released that year.The fact that there is only that much interest 3 years on is pretty pathetic if you ask me, an it really shows up what a crappy game it is. Not to mention the fact that they barely moved anything. 

Oh and as devs go, avalanche is small. You can get into small scale relativity to prove your point, but on the real world scale, avalanche studios is a small studio.



gothemile
gothemile

@dussan2 @gothemile I'm not comparing the two, obviously Red Dead Redemption is better than Just Cause 2. Am using the two because they are similar in what happened with their original counterparts there respective sequels were much better.

gothemile
gothemile

@Rayzakk @gothemile I understand we all got different tastes but doesn't mean your taste should make you say the game isn't that great.