We've already covered Rebellion's decision to self-publish upcoming FPS Sniper Elite on the PC, but we recently had a chance to ask the company's CEO and creative director Jason Kingsley about how it's all going to work.
“I'm a great supporter of the PC as a platform, I always have been,” says Kingsley. “I'm always very disappointed when people talk about the PC dying as a platform, and then eight months later PC's flavour of the month again.”
But, as a PC gamer and developer, Kingsley finds the current situation frustrating. Having worked with the likes of Sega on Aliens versus Predator and Bethesda on Rogue Warrior, Kingsley knows what it's like to have a big publisher breathing down the back of your neck all the way through the development process.
In the case of Sniper Elite V2, Rebellion have a chance to do whatever they want. “For once in our lives, we don't have a publisher utterly telling us what we can and can't do,” says Kingsley. Some publishers (mentioning no names) are all too willing to run away from games and not support them once they've made their quick buck, but Rebellion is keen to keep up a good relationship with players. “We want to try and support it on an ongoing basis, because we can now, and because there's a mechanism to support the consumer.”
505 Games, who are publishing the console version of the game in March, have been supportive of Rebellion's decision to self-publish the PC version. “They've got some good guys there who know what they're talking about, which can only benefit the team and the project going forward,” says Steve Hart, Sniper Elite: V2's Producer.
Self-publishing has the added benefit that Rebellion can choose when the final product's ready to go, and hopefully avoid the patching issues that have plagued the likes of Batman and Skyrim. “We're obviously planning on releasing it alongside the console titles,” says Kingsley. “But if it's not ready we can hold it back for a week or two, because we think, 'Oh shit, we've found a bug, we'd better fix that.'”
Rebellion also wants to add more content to Sniper Elite as it goes on, on the basis that people who might not have bought it when it first came out are more likely to pick it up with extra levels. “[It] will encourage more people who haven't bought the game the first time round to go, 'Oh look, there's actually four more levels. Cool, right, I'll get it now,'” says Kingsley.
Kingsley admits it's all a bit of an experiment, but providing the game's good enough, it could be one that pays off. From here Hart reckons it could birth Sniper Elites three, four and five. “And Sniper Infinity,” prospects Kingsley. “You could do a zero-G Sniper, couldn't you? You could do 'Moon Sniper'”.