Lars Gustavsson is no stranger to risk. After last year's first-person parkour-based action/platformer Mirror's Edge stumbled off shelves during the holiday season, you'd think DICE's creative director might be dissuaded from continuing to push the envelope. However, speaking at the Design Innovate Communicate Entertertain Summit (conveniently shortened to D.I.C.E.) last week, he told the crowd "the games industry has come to a crossroads."
According to him, the situation is multi-faceted -- the poor economy is forcing lower overhead costs on developers and people are less willing to spend their money while consumers are also less likely to invest in new intellectual properties (such as the aforementioned Mirror's Edge). Should developers play it safe with proven IPs or take risks in hopes of breaking in?
He pontificates that "more customization offerings, new business models, data-driven development and the active tuning of the games" will drive innovation and allay risk going forward. "It's totally different from anything we've done," Gustavsson noted when referencing upcoming online-only multiplayer shooter Battlefield 1943. And he seems to be putting the development costs where his mouth is, as Battlefield 1943 sticks to his plan (on paper at least) to a tee. It remains to be seen whether they'll work out. After all, we're still waiting on that other Battlefield game.