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BioShock Publisher 2K Wants To Help Indie Teams Reach AAA Success

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2K Games—the publishing house behind the BioShock, Mafia, and Borderlands franchises—has revealed a willingness to help indie developers grow.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, company president David Ismailer said that an ambition of the publisher is to help smaller teams “to take the next step:”

“Some independent developers actually want to stay their size, and then the question is, ‘Can they produce a piece of AAA content with a partner studio to make a bigger AAA game?’ […] The ability to deliver the highest quality content has to come from the development studio. If they’re interested in growing and they don’t have the opportunity to grow and want to work with us, we’re happy to do it.”

This approach is perhaps exemplified by 2K’s announcement that it will act as publisher for arcade-styled basketball sequel NBA Playgrounds 2.

Ismailer mentioned that one of the keys to its investment strategy will be innovation and opportunities to engage new segments of the gaming audience. However, although the company wants to expand its offerings, it will only do so if the possibility presents itself. “I may want to be in a particular business, but unless there’s an incredibly passionate development team that’s got an incredible concept to deliver something amazing to the consumer, I don’t have the ability to get into that category,” said Ismailer.

During the interview, Ismailer also remarked that the publisher wants to broaden the reach of its internal studios, noting a possible third IP from Firaxis Games (following Civilization and XCOM), as well as building games designed to keep players engaged for longer periods.

Late last year, 2K’s parent company Take-Two announced a new indie publishing department, Private Division, meaning that 2K’s offerings should complement those smaller projects, rather than just being of a similar scale.

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Damien Lawardorn
Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at https://open.abc.net.au/people/21767

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