We spoke with Eva Gaspar, CEO of Abylight, about the challenges of game development in Europe and the benefits of listening to the community during their most ambitious game, One Military Camp.
At Gamelab Tenerife 2022 some of the the most relevant developers of the video game industry in Europe. It is an event that includes a series of public conferences and a Summit, behind closed doors, in which some of the problems facing the sector have been discussed.
We have had the opportunity to speak with Eva Gaspar, CEO of Abylight, which has left us the perspective of this meeting from the point of view of a Spanish team, which is currently developing One Military Camp.
This meeting has been baptized as the “Davos of video games”, is it too ambitious? “This is more focused on Europe. Obviously there is a lot of Spanish industry, there are developers, publishers, universities… I think a fairly representative perspective of Europe has been achieved. There are legendary profiles and also more junior ones.”
And can effective solutions be obtained from a forum like this or is it more of a declaration of intent? “Here has gathered a group of people who have great power of influence, either in your company, in your environment or in general. In the end, the change depends on how much each one wants to activate that influence.”
One Military Camp – gameplay of a military camp management game
He concludes, “I do believe that it can have an impact. I have participated in similar activities in the past and it has always seemed to me the best way to exchange knowledge. What happens here shapes me as a leader of my company, and through my company , form my community”.
Although he also misses the fact that “even at a European level, we do not have government representatives“.
Do the same problems affect developments across Europe? “There are big differences depending on who you are. In Northern Europe they throw money in their faces” he laughs “and I didn’t find myself in that situation. The issue of financing is still something that worries me“.
“You have to find a sweet spot. Creativity needs challenges, and those challenges need funding.” There is a problem that is repeated in interviews in general, and that related to talent. “management, acquisition, how to maintain it without spoiling it, the character of the new generations and competitiveness”.
It can be summed up as “the talent pool does not grow at the speed of demand“. Eva acknowledges that it is an industry that does not stop growing, and even jokes that “we are immune to the crisis”.
We have also taken the opportunity to ask about the development of One Military Camp, the studio’s most ambitious game to date. “We have been working on the game since November 2020, which is not only the most ambitious in terms of time invested, but also in the way we have done it.”
The importance of community at One Military Camp
Eva goes on to say that “we have worked with the community, giving a lot of importance to the player.” After all, they are the group of people “who are going to make your game continue to grow and become a bigger IP”.
One Military Camp is in private beta phase. “After a phase of listening to community feedback, we’ve gone through a wave of submissions, confirming to them what has been changed based on their feedback.
For us it is very enriching. People are very committed, they like our proposal… and honestly I don’t see a future in the video game industry if we don’t listen to the community about our IPs. It is a relationship with the study that did not exist before, now we are in the information society, in which the interaction is very direct”.
Obviously you have to maintain a balance “I’m not saying make a three-headed monster or give up your vision. You just have to listen to the feedback.” In the end you have to ask yourself, “for whom are you making the video game? For you or for the people who enjoy it?”.
This implies a change in the pace of work “but it is also developed in a different way. Our commitment to One Military Camp does not end in February 2023, is a commitment that will last as long as we can endure, both us and the community. If it’s ten years, then ten years.”
We end with interesting news for all those of us who are waiting for the launch of the game “it will come out in February 2023 on Steam and the Epic Games Store”, Eva confirms that it will be compatible with Steamdeck “and we’ll see when we can release it on consoles (…) we are a multiplatform company“.
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Our interview with Eva Gaspar It has been very interesting, and if you want to know the perspective of other video game legends who have been present at Gamelab Tenerfife 2022, here is a chat with Peter Molyneux, in which he talks about his career and even about the new Fable.
We also spoke to Games Workshop founder and industry veteran Ian Livingstone, who has worked at Domark, Eidos and Sumo Digital, and was responsible for, among others, the Tomb Raider release.