Home / Software & Service News / Why Amplitude chose Sega’s strategy-studio stable

Why Amplitude chose Sega’s strategy-studio stable

Endless Legends bots


Sega’s acquisition of strategy game house Amplitude Studios on Tuesday set up the publisher’s European arm as a strategy-gaming powerhouse.

The move is interesting because the French-based studio won renown for being one of the best strategy-game developers in the indie scene. It made a splash with Endless Space in 2012, and it followed up this success with the acclaimed Endless Legend. It then branched into role-playing games with Dungeon of the Endless. All along, it continued to hew to its “games2together” philosophy — one that saw the studio work with its fans to craft their games in Early Access, where people can buy and play a game before its official release (and in this case, give the designers a great deal of feedback). With Amplitude, Sega now becomes one of the top publishers of strategy games along with Paradox and Kalypso in Europe.

GamesBeat interviewed Amplitude Studios creative director and chief operating officer Romain de Waubert on why Amplitude choose Sega, which has strategy-game heavyweights Relic Entertainment (Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War, Company of Heroes) and The Creative Assembly (Total War) under its Europe subsidiary, and what it means for the studio’s fan-driven approach to development.

Here is an edited transcript of our email exchange.

GamesBeat: How long has this deal been in the works?

Romain de Waubert: More or less a year. Last spring a few big digital companies contacted us to talk about a buyout, which was very seductive, but we just took it as flattery. Eventually, though, it got us thinking about where we were heading. At the time we were thinking of expanding into territories where our games were strong, but we didn’t really have the time to pursue it. We came to realize that we were not businessmen, but game developers; nothing else.

However, with our games becoming more and more ambitious and therefore more and more expensive to create, we needed to continue attracting new players. If not we would probably have had to compromise on quality. This is not what we want to do with Amplitude!

So we started looking quite widely for companies with whom we could partner.

Endless Space map

GamesBeat: What does this mean for Europe’s strategy game dev scene?

De Waubert: With this kind of alliance, I have to think that it is a great thing. It is funny to see that within a month of Paradox getting closer to Tencent we joined Sega. … At least it shows European strategy developers are attractive, and the market is here to stay!

GamesBeat: How proud are you of Amplitude’s role in the resurgence of strategy games?

De Waubert: We love to think that we somehow contributed to that resurgence, together with the expansion of Steam and the democratization of Unity that gave game devs powerful tools and access to millions of players.

So in the end we can maybe say that we played a role in that, but the real heroes are digital distribution and accessible technology. Thanks to these two factors we only had to sell 63.000 copies of Endless Space to not only break even, but to finance the growth of Amplitude.

When you need such a small number of players you are able to focus on what is thought to be a niche genre, and avoid the crowd. These days, when you can break even with a few dozens of thousands of sales, anyone can find games to fit their taste. You can take risks, try to be different … and that was definitely not the case when you needed at least half a million players to break even.

GamesBeat: Why Sega?

De Waubert: Mathieu and I, the cofounders of Amplitude, have always been huge fans of their Creative Assembly and Relic games. So already we were extremely flattered that they would even consider us.

They were the right size for us and we knew that with them we could conquer new players; players who otherwise would have never heard of us and our games.

But the most important part is that we really loved the way they look at game development, and no other publisher we talked to had this kind of approach.

Basically they empower their studios, and make all the necessary services available to them so that they can deliver an awesome experience and help games find new players. They don’t tell us what to do, all they want is our success, as our success is their success!

Our understanding is that if we deliver a poor game, it will be Amplitude’s fault, not Sega’s, because they are here only to help us, not to break something that works.

GamesBeat: Do you see Sega now a strategy-gaming stalwart on par with Paradox Interactive?

De Waubert: If you combine Relic, Creative Assembly and now Amplitude, I think few companies in the strategy segment can really compare. Even the variety of what we offer together within the genre is incredible.

GamesBeat: How do your roles change now?

De Waubert: Well, Mathieu [Girard] and I are COO of Amplitude, he is still in charge of production and I am still in charge of creation. Mathieu is still our most senior GUI programmer … as we speak he is tuning our battle GUI.

One of Endless Legend's cities during its late game.

Above: One of Endless Legend’s cities during its late game.

Image Credit: Amplitude Studios

GamesBeat: Will you and Mathieu continue to work on games?

De Waubert: The whole purpose of the deal was to let us focus on making games.

This is what we love to do, and the reason why we created Amplitude … well, that and creating the game we always dreamed of playing at a time when nobody cared about it!

GamesBeat: What happens to Amplitude’s approach to using fan feedback during development?

De Waubert: Well, we would not develop otherwise, so it would make no sense for Sega to partner with us and ask us to drop our ways of working with the community through games2gether … and to be honest, they specifically mentioned that they loved how we work with our community. I hope it was something which added value to Amplitude, not the other way around.

GamesBeat: So … is an Endless Sonic in the works! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself from asking!

De Waubert: OK, there are two weird guys I have never seen before watching me as I type an answer. … They look mean enough for me not to try to joke about Sonic!

GamesBeat: Do you see a chance for Amplitude to work with and learn from Relic or Creative Assembly, and vice-versa?

De Waubert: Honestly we would love to, we have so much to learn from them, but we would not want to slow them down. So let’s say we are getting closer to that dream. And of course if we can help them in anyway, we would be more than happy to!

Get more stories like this on TwitterFacebook

Click Here For Original Source Of The Article

About Ms. A. C. Kennedy

Ms. A. C. Kennedy
My name is Ms A C Kennedy and I am a Health practitioner and Consultant by day and a serial blogger by night. I luv family, life and learning new things. I especially luv learning how to improve my business. I also luv helping and sharing my information with others. Don't forget to ask me anything!

Check Also

What we’re watching: ‘Raw’ and ‘Feast of Fiction’

Welcome back to Video IRL, where several of our editors talk about what they've been watching in their spare time. This month we're kicking things off with some seasonally-appropriate horror fare, that you can catch right away on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Then it's time for a Gundam throwback before Kris Naudus points out a couple of YouTube food channels perfect for binge eating or binge watching.

Them / Raw


Timothy J. Seppala

Timothy J. Seppala
Associate Editor

To get into the Halloween spirit, I've been watching at least one horror movie a day since the end of September -- the lower the budget, the better. Problem is, so many of the American low-budget or indie horror offerings on Amazon and Netflix are crappy Paranormal Activity clones, cheap-thrill gore-fests or uninspired found-footage "documentaries." Whether it's by design or coincidence, I've found that French horror movies have held my attention the most lately. Specifically, 2016's Raw, as well as Them, from ten years prior. They're more psychological thrillers than straight-up horror, but that didn't stop me from being more on edge while watching them one afternoon than I was during A Haunting in Saginaw, Michigan, late at night. Both start with a car crash, but they couldn't finish any more differently.

Raw, recently added to Netflix, tells the tale of a vegetarian girl in her first week at a prestigious veterinary school. During a hazing ritual, she's forced to eat a raw rabbit kidney. She immediately gets sick, throws up and wakes herself up that night scratching a full-body rash to near bleeding. This bout with food poisoning is just the beginning, though, and soon protagonist Justine finds out she has a taste for forbidden fruit. As the remaining 70-ish minutes unfolded, I lost track of how many times I clasped my hands over my mouth, agape in shock, to stifle my shouts of "OHMYGODWHATTHEFUCKISEVENHAPPENING?!"

But French director Julia Ducournau balances every body-horror scene either with something pedestrian twisted into being unsettling (like a horse on a treadmill) or with something that makes you ask how far Justine can go before someone confronts her about her new diet. And those questions keep coming right until the credits roll. I can't say I enjoyed watching Raw, but it was a hell of a ride.

The same goes for Them, currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Its focus is narrow, centering on a young couple living in a cavernous farmhouse, terrorized over the course of a night by unseen horrors. The camera never quite gives away who (or what) the perpetrators are, and revealing the twist would be a sin. As with Raw, its atmosphere and overall creepiness won me over straightaway. The scariest part? Realizing that I've probably driven past a shot like the final scene countless times and not thought twice about it. If you're willing to read subtitles, both of these should make you shiver and scream more than The Conjuring 2 on HBO Go could ever hope to.

Mobile Suit Gundam The 08th MS Team


David Lumb

David Lumb
Contributing Editor

I'd heard that a lot of anime had left Hulu, but I scanned their selection anyway looking for classic shows I'd missed, like the original Mobile Suit Gundam. They don't have that -- but they did have a series I didn't finish the first time it aired on Toonami, the 1996 classic Gundam side story The 08th MS Team. Unlike the franchise's other show released the year before, the massively successful Gundam Wing, 08th ditches the brand's typical pretty-boys-in-unbeatable-robots for a grounded and sobering story about the people who get caught up in wars -- desperate soldiers, civilians and guerrillas alike. It's dirty, honest, utterly humane and gorgeously animated.

It's also a little preachy and melodramatic, and it shows its age with odd sexist moments. While it's still the Thin Red Line of the Gundam universe, I remember it far more fondly from when my 14-year-old self grazed the series on its first American airing. There's something sad in seeing an old favorite for the flawed media it always was. Much like Waypoint's Rob Zacny, I've grown up and seen a lot since I first caught the show as a starry-eyed teen. I still think The 08th MS Team is a wonderful little 12-episode miniseries with a big heart, but I won't revere it so highly -- and will think a little harder about who I recommend it to.

Feast of Fiction / Binging with Babish


Kris Naudus

Kris Naudus
Senior Editor, Database

Back in March, I came home from a trip only to discover that my oven didn't work. The cooking gas in my building had been shut off due to a leak. My building management seemed to be on it, so I made do with a combination of microwavables, toaster oven and Seamless. Unfortunately, weeks and months went by, calls to the city were made and permits were issued, but, even as I write this in October, gas still has not been restored to my building. My landlords eventually threw their collective hands in the air and began installing electric ranges in every apartment, so a few weeks ago I was finally able to cook for myself again.

I am so jazzed to be able to make food. Hot food! Scrambled eggs! Steak! Cookies! I started reading food blogs and cookbooks, and shopping to refill my pantry. I'm halfway through Kenji Alt-Lopez's The Food Lab, a huge 900-page hardcover that talks about the science of how food cooks. On the lighter side, I've also been reading food-themed comics like Delicious in Dungeon and Food Wars. And the latter title (which is also an anime) ended up sucking me into a YouTube hole of food videos that I've been obsessed with ever since.

You see, the very first chapter of Food Wars features the "Gotcha" Pork Roast, a bacon-wrapped potato loaf that hero Soma Yukihira makes to save his family restaurant. It looks pretty tasty, so I searched for recipes and pics online and stumbled onto Jimmy Wong and Ashley Adams' Feast of Fiction, a series that demonstrates how to make various foods seen in cartoons, video games and comics. If you ever wanted to taste Steven Universe's beloved Cookie Cat ice cream sandwiches or Kirby's super-spicy curry, there's an episode for you. One thing I really enjoy is how they also incorporate crafts into it, showing how to make paper wrappers for your Reptar chocolate bars or genuine-looking Ecto Cooler Hi-C boxes.

I've been marathoning through the episodes, which the YouTube algorithms have definitely picked up on at this point, throwing food show after food show into my suggestions. One that caught my eye was Binging with Babish. Where Feast of Fiction mostly sticks to the realm of kids' cartoons, anime and video games, Binging with Babish is a little more mainstream, covering foods from popular media like Mad Men, Seinfeld and House of Cards. Still, there's a bit of overlap -- both Babish and Feast have done their own takes on the Ultimeatum from Regular Show and Krabby Patties from SpongeBob SquarePants. But the recipes are different, and I watch the shows for the personalities. Feast of Fiction is pretty silly (and there's a cute dog), while Binging with Babish is a little more subdued. Not that Babish can't be ridiculous as well -- the Moist Maker is one of the most ridiculously complicated sandwiches I have ever seen, basically asking you to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner.

Sadly, I still haven't done a lot of actual cooking since getting my stove back. I'm having too much fun watching other people do it instead, with the added bonus that I don't have to clean up the mess.

"IRL" is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they're buying, using, playing and streaming.

css.php