Payday 2 game director David Goldfarb has quit Swedish developer Overkill Software, saying that his decision to leave was not motivated by a lack of faith in the company, but rather a personal ambition to leave AAA game development and focus on making games with smaller teams.
"I have decided to move on," Goldfarb told Polygon. "It's all on good terms and I think they're well positioned to succeed as the last Steam sale seems to indicate. They're doing just fine. It's just one of those things where I've been making games for a long time."
Indeed, Goldfarb has been in the business of making games for 15 years. Prior to joining Overkill in 2012, Goldfarb spent half a decade at DICE, where he worked on Mirror's Edge and Battlefield 3, among others. He also worked at Guerrilla Games on Killzone 2. Part of the reason Goldfarb said he wants to branch out and open his own studio is so he can have greater creative control.
"I knew that at some point the thing that I always wanted was to make my own thing. It doesn't matter who I work with: the desire was never to make other people's games, no matter how good they are," he said. "I felt like I had done everything else. Payday 2 was a big success, the team did great. But for me I was like what am I doing here?"
Goldfarb's new studio is only just getting off the ground. It aims to be a "small studio" that will employ four people. Early conceptual work for the company's first game has been in production for a few months, but it's not very far along. Though Goldfarb wouldn't give any firm details on his new project, he did outline his broad ambition.
"I'm abandoning AAA. Payday 2 wasn't triple AAA but it had AAA sales. But I just want to find genres that I can subvert," he said. "To do that I can't be working for people in the way that I was, I just don't want any of that sh**."
Don't expect Goldfarb to make a MOBA, or a game with comic book or pixel art, either. "Those are the things I will not do." What might he make, then? "I love role-playing games, so I will make one," he said.
One thing is for sure. Goldfarb has no intention of going back to AAA game development. Instead, he wants his new studio to exist in between indie and AAA, where developers can try new things and take risks.
"I never wanna really do that again, big teams. And there are a lot of reasons for that. Even when I was doing it it felt f***ing fraudulent," he said. "And there are people who are totally valid in that context but if you're a journalist or a game designer who thinks the thing that matters the most to you is you need freedom, and I think I'm one of those people, then eventually the world will decide or you will decide, there is no other thing. It will happen one way or another."