Dallas Developers: Ritual
edge-online.com has been touring some of the top developers in Dallas, Texas. This week we’re running interviews with Terminal Reality, Gearbox, 3D Realms and today’s subject, Ritual. Company CEO Steve Nix took, as his theme, the small matter of ‘Changing the Way Games Are Made’…
Ritual Entertainment is an independent developer, with a history of working on first-person shooters, going back to the first Quake expansion pack. In a section of Dallas known as the West End, Ritual has the second floor of a building, but is currently looking to move to a larger space.
Right now, the company is focusing on Sin Episodes, through Valve’s Steam service. The game will push the idea of episodic content, and digital distribution, although standard retail for the game is also being considered.
Ritual expects that the number of people who play Sin episodes will build over time, and with each release. "We’ll absolutely build, and have more customers for episode two, then episode one. And hopefully we’ll have word of mouth with a push on episode two, where people who previously didn’t know about it will go back and buy episode one." says Steve Nix, CEO at Ritual.
"The way we’re doing the episodes, especially where we put a lot of hooks – a lot of times unanswered – we’ll open a door but not close it, or even refer to it in the first episode. We think it’s kind of a 24 style. So that’s our hope, that we’re going to get people sucked into this universe, excited about the quality, and the value represented by the game."
How it Started
Ritual had worked with Valve before, "We’ve been talking to them for years about what they’re doing with Steam. We always thought it was really cool." says Nix. About a year-and-a-half ago, the company started thinking about, "What would one of our products look like if we worked with them using the source engine?"
The one that really made the most sense was Sin. The team wanted to get back into the Sin universe ever since the first game came out in ‘98. "I was a huge Sin fan before I came to Ritual five years ago," says Nix.
"We had publisher interest to do Sin as a AAA, multi-platform game where the publisher would be funding it," Nix reveals. "The problem is there was always too much creative control that we’d have to give up. And demands of sequels, and sequels, and sequels… we really wouldn’t control the IP anymore."