Investors always want to see release dates of upcoming games, often putting additional pressure on developers. However, Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney addressed the issue with a speech that some might find an almost perfect response.
A concept art for one of Embark Studios upcoming games
Anticipating questions about the release dates of Nexon’s upcoming games, Mahoney started an earnings call with the company’s investors with a statement. A part of it was shared by Sven Grundberg, head of communications and brand at Embark Studios (subsidiary of Nexon).
— sven (@svengrundberg) August 12, 2021
Here is Mahoney’s “real answer” to the question of when the first title from Embark will come out: “It’s going to depend on when our developers feel they have an outstanding game that they are proud to show to their closest friends. Getting there is all about iteration, play testing and polishing.”
He went on to say that development is “not a linear process” and making games is an art challenge rather than an engineering challenge.
Of course, Nexon could have given its investors a release date, so it would “satisfy [their] near-term need to plug something in [their] model.” But it would mean that developers will have to hit this date no matter what, forgetting about its quality and going into a “crunch mode.”
Mahoney called crunch “one of the most pernicious problems” in the games industry, adding that developers should have the freedom to create titles that blow people’s minds. “I’m sorry nobody in my industry has explained this to you before,” the Nexon CEO said. “Within the industry, we all know it’s true, and yet few talk about it openly. Everybody should. So rather than giving you a date, this team is going to give our customers and employees a commitment to make the best game we can as soon as we can.”
As somebody who was once an investor relations manager for a major games company, THIS. FFS THIS. https://t.co/4itjWcIkhd
— Cassia Curran (@CassiaCurran) August 13, 2021
Embark Studios, founded by former Battlefield developers, is now working on its first game, which will be a third-person shooter with “team-based gameplay” and destruction. The project is built on Unreal Engine.