There was a recent in-depth breakdown of the corporate structure (or lack thereof) for the indie company behind Dead Cells, the popular Metroidvania roguelike that took PC and home consoles by storm. In fact, the game is still selling quite well, as revealed by Steve Filby, the PR manager, in an interview with Destructoid.
In the interview Filby discussed how the flat corporate structure of Motion Twin just wasn’t quite suitable for larger projects that required more than eight to ten people to design the game.
In a more thorough video by Inside Gaming, they discussed how the Communistic approach by Motion Twin was good for smaller projects, but you would need some actual managers and a managerial team to direct larger games.
It’s interesting because they reveal that Motion Twin is compromised of just eight people, and that giving everyone of those eight people equal say in the design of Dead Cells made developmental progression difficult at times, because anyone could have a say on the colors, the enemy designs, the controls, the combat, or the level structure.
Typically design directors give the overall vision of what the game will be, and the art director will dictate how the game will look visually. When everyone has equal say… well, things can get ugly when the PR guy can tell the artist that their weapons suck and the artist is telling the composer that the boss themes are about as attractive as the bespeckled hairs looming menacingly out of a donkey’s anus.
So they decided to form Evil Empire to tackle their next big project.
They’ve been slowly forming and recruiting for Evil Empire since January of 2019.
The team consists of just under a dozen people for now, but they’re still staffing up for whatever their next game is.
What’s odd about the whole thing is that Evil Empire is still located in the same Bordeux, France office as Motion Twin.
Motion Twin also still owns the rights to Dead Cells, so it’s not like Evil Empire could pick up the IP and run away with it into the night.
What’s also odd is that Evil Empire still has four people within the group who have carte blanche creativity to work on… less corporate-themed projects. It’s almost like they know that mimicking the corporate structure too much can stifle creativity, so they want some members within the group to prototype more original ideas before moving forward with them.
They haven’t announced their latest game yet, but it will be fascinating to see whether switching from a Communistic structure to a more top-down Capitalist infrastructure will help/hinder the development of their new game… whatever it may be.
You can keep an eye on Evil Empire and their new project(s) by visiting the official website.
(Thanks for the news tip Johntrine)