Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice
The Rise and Fall of Troika

Joe Blancato | 26 Dec 2006 07:01
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After two waves of layoffs, Troika was down to just its founders before New Year's 2005. In February of '05, they officially closed the company's doors for good.

Looking back, Anderson says, "Publishers aren't interested in games from developers that consistently turn out B titles. Unfortunately, although our games had depth and vision, we were never able to release a game that had been thoroughly tested and rid of bugs. The large quantity of errors in our product automatically rendered them B titles." Additionally, both echo the sentiment that they found their management roles unfulfilling. "We should have found someone to run the business aspect of Troika," Boyarsky says, "so that Tim, Jason and I could have focused all our energy on the games."

They both say they went after funding the wrong way. "After the lessons we learned on Arcanum, I think a better way to go would have been to get independent financing for the bulk of the dev cycle for a game, and then bring it to publishers when it was more than half finished to help bring it to market." Boyarsky tells me, but since all of their games released in the midst of the dot-com bust, game production wasn't really a seller's market.

And now, the three have scattered in the wind. Boyarsky works in the industry, but wouldn't say where on record. Cain is also in the field, and told me (through Boyarsky): "I am staying in the industry but keeping a much lower profile than I did at Troika. Instead of talking about making games or trying to convince people to play (or publish) my games, I am doing what makes me very happy - making games." And Anderson is in Phoenix with his significant other, selling real estate, though he's "getting the itch to return" to games.

While they might not still be working together, their collective influence has carved a deep mark into gaming. Bloodlines is a perennial resident on my hard drive, and a third Fallout is in the works at Bethesda (when I asked Boyarsky what he thought about Interplay selling the rights, he said, "It felt as if our ex wife had sold our children that she had legal custody of," but he admits to being very "possessive" of the property), which was the talk of E3 2006. Additionally, Interplay has returned from the depths and recently announced a Fallout MMOG.

That alone seems like it could be a rallying cry for the three to return triumphant to their very first baby. When I asked Boyarsky and Anderson if they'd consider getting the band back together, they both said they would "love to," though probably not, next time, as company owners.

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