Signal Studios (Toy Soldiers) enjoyed the special honor of having its next project, Ascend: New Gods, unveiled on gaming's biggest stage last week. The action title was debuted during Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference, live in front of millions of gamers watching around the globe. Speaking with Games Industry International, Signal Creative Director D.R. Albright III said that the opportunity came about as a result of the strong bonds the studio established with the publisher while working on Toy Soldiers. Although working with a gargantuan corporation like Microsoft has on occasion tried Albright's patience, he admitted that "certainly [Signal] wouldn't be as successful" without its support.
"Ultimately, we do get a shot at doing things a lot of developers don't get to do," Albright stated candidly. "For example, Ascend had the only working Smart Glass demo at E3, at least for games. On the surface, this might not seem like a big deal – or maybe we are the only suckers who said yes. Either way, that ends up getting Signal a mention in publications like US Today which is a big deal. We probably only have small developer/XBLA level privileged access. I might know more about what's happening than some guy commenting on a Neogaf forum, but I am pretty sure that the CoD and Assassin's Creed folks are privy to a lot more information than me. That's ok. It makes sense from a business standpoint that they would."
So if the bond between the XBLA developer and Microsoft is so strong, is there any real possibility of Signal one day being taken into the Microsoft fold proper? The creative director was non-committal on the issue, but asserted that the ball was in the console holder's court. However, he added that all of that funding and preferential treatment that flows from the software giant to its internal studios is certainly attractive, though working in a structured environment of such a massive size isn't the most exciting proposition in the world to Albright.
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