Playdead

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Playdead ApS
TypePrivate
IndustryVideo games
Founded2006; 15 years ago (2006)
Founders
  • Arnt Jensen
  • Dino Patti
Headquarters,
Denmark
Key people
Arnt Jensen
Products
Number of employees
50[1] (2021)
Websiteplaydead.com

Playdead ApS is a Danish independent video game developer based in Copenhagen. Game designers Arnt Jensen and Dino Patti created the company in 2006 to develop Limbo, which was released in 2010 to critical acclaim.[2][3] After a year of Xbox 360 exclusivity, Playdead released ports of the game to PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, macOS, iOS and Android.

During Xbox's E3 2014 conference, Playdead announced their second game, Inside, which was a spiritual successor to Limbo. It was released for Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and PlayStation 4 in 2016 to critical acclaim, and was hailed as a worthy successor to Limbo.

History[edit]

Arnt Jensen, a former IO Interactive developer, drew sketches in 2004 that led him to conceptualize Limbo. Having tried programming himself and secured government grants, he then sought for additional help through an art-based teaser for the game in 2006. This led to a meeting between Jensen and Dino Patti, and they realized the project was larger than the two of them, so they reached out to investors and with the money they founded the entity "Playdead ApS". (Founded by Underholdningsbranchen ApS and the investors [4][5])[6] Playdead eventually came to have eight employees during Limbo's development, with temporary increases of up to 16 through freelancers. Limbo's success led them to be able to reacquire the company back from investors, making Playdead completely independent.[7]

Within the same year as Limbo's release, Playdead began working on Project 2, what would later become Inside. The game was partially financed by the Danish Film Institute.[8][9][10] Considered a spiritual successor to Limbo, Inside has many of the same themes, including being a 2.5D platform game using a primarily monochrome palette.[11] After using a custom game engine for Limbo, Playdead used Unity to simplify development and a custom temporal anti-aliasing filter which was released in March 2016 under an open-source license. The game was officially announced at the E3 2014 with planned release in 2015,[12] was later pushed to mid-2016 for further refinement,[13] but had a demo at PAX Prime in August 2015. Martin Stig Andersen created the soundtrack again after Limbo, creating sound via bone conduction with a human skull. Inside was first released in June for Xbox One, and later on Microsoft Windows, and received more overwhelming praise than Limbo.[14]

Co-founder Dino Patti in 2017

Shortly after the release of Inside, on 19 July 2016, Patti left the company, selling his shares to Jensen. Patti felt that he was leaving Playdead "in a state where it can definitely manage itself", and stated "Following almost 10 incredible years building Playdead from an idea to two dents in the games industry, I'm leaving to seek new challenges."[15] Danish newspaper Dagbladet Børsen reported that a rift had developed between Patti and Jensen around 2015,[16] that Patti described to Kotaku as "the supposed timeline for the next project(s) and where I am in my life now".[17] The rift led to Jensen submitting a resignation letter to Patti from his position as creative director, though intending to stay on as a company executive. The letter had been misinterpreted by Patti as a full resignation from the company, and he subsequently removed Jensen's name from the Central Business Register for Playdead. This led to confrontation between the two and their representative lawyers that required intervention of the Danish Business Authority to resolve.[18] This ultimately led to Patti taking a deal to sell his shares for 50 million Danish krones (about US$7.2 million).[18] Patti was disappointed on the way his involvement with Playdead ended, but said that "Arnt has been a really good friend and business partner for many years".[16][17][18] Patti went on to found a new UK-based studio, Jumpship, along with film animator Chris Olsen, by June 2017.[19] Jumpship's first game Somerville, expected for release in 2022, has been compared favorably to Playdead's formula.[20][21]

Playdead's third game, which has been teased as early as January 2017, will be a "fairly lonely sci-fi game somewhere in the universe", according to Jensen.[22][23] This game will likely use a third-person perspective within a 3D world, as Jensen stated that the studio has "been tired of the limitations in 2D games".[24] Image teasers of the game were released through Playdead job listings over several months in 2019.[25] Playdead and Epic Games announced in March 2020 that Epic Games will publish this title, providing full development costs and support of the Unreal Engine, while giving full creative control to Playdead, and will split profits 50/50 after Epic recoups its investment on release.[26][1]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Platform(s)
Android iOS Linux macOS PS3 PS4 Vita Win NS X360 XOne
2010 Limbo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2016 Inside No Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ivan, Tom (21 January 2021). "Limbo and Inside studio's new game is a 3rd person open-world sci-fi adventure". Video Games Chronicle. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  2. ^ Alexander, Leigh (18 February 2010). "Road To The IGF: Limbo's Dino Patti". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  3. ^ Gillen, Kieron (22 February 2010). "IGF Factor 2010: Limbo". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  4. ^ https://datacvr.virk.dk/data/visenhed?enhedstype=virksomhed&id=4381317&language=da
  5. ^ https://datacvr.virk.dk/data/visenhed?enhedstype=virksomhed&id=30522192&language=da
  6. ^ Thomsen, Michael (14 September 2010). "How Limbo Came To Life". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  7. ^ Rose, Mike (31 August 2011). "Limbo Developer Playdead Buys Itself Back From Investors". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  8. ^ Cullen, Johnny (11 October 2010). "Limbo devs working on new IP". VG247. Videogaming247. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  9. ^ Schramm, Mike (11 October 2010). "Limbo creators working on new IP". Engadget. AOL Tech. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  10. ^ Kollar, Philip (9 June 2014). "Inside is the next game from Limbo creators Playdead Studios". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  11. ^ Superannuation (13 June 2012). "It's Time to Start Worrying About Thief 4". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  12. ^ Rose, Mike (25 August 2011). "Limbo Developer Playdead Using Unity Engine For Next Title". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  13. ^ Carter, Chris (5 June 2015). "Limbo developer's follow-up 'Inside' sees a delay". Destructoid. ModernMethod. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  14. ^ Sanchez, Miranda (13 June 2016). "E3 2016: Limbo Follow-Up Inside Gets a Release Date". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  15. ^ Pearson, Dan (19 July 2016). "Dino Patti leaving Playdead". GamesIndustry.biz. Gamer Network. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  16. ^ a b de Vries, Af Steffen (16 January 2017). "Gylden spilduo splitter efter magtkamp - stifter får 50 mio for at gå". Dagbladet Børsen (in Danish). Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  17. ^ a b D'Anastasio, Cecilia (18 January 2017). "Co-Founder Of Inside Creators Gets $7 Million After Business Breakup". Kotaku. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  18. ^ a b c Pearson, Dan (19 January 2017). "Details emerge of Playdead split". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  19. ^ Kerr, Chris (27 June 2017). "Playdead co-founder Dino Patti helps form new studio, Jumpship". Gamasutra. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  20. ^ Clayton, Natalie (13 June 2021). "Somerville is Inside set during an alien apocalypse, and it's coming next year". PC Gamer. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  21. ^ Hester, Blake (13 June 2021). "Somerville, The New Game From Former Playdead CEO, Gets New Trailer". Game Informer. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  22. ^ Watts, Rachel (1 October 2018). "Inside developer Playdead's next game will be sci-fi". PCGamesN. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  23. ^ Dayus, Oscar (20 January 2017). "Limbo, Inside Dev Teases Next Game". GameSpot. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  24. ^ Scott-Jones, Richard (2 November 2018). "The Limbo and Inside studio is going 3D, third-person, and sci-fi for its next game". PCGamesN. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  25. ^ O'Conner, James (7 July 2019). "Some new art from Playdead's next game has quietly been released inside job listings". VG247. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  26. ^ Robinson, Andy (26 March 2020). "Epic will publish games from Remedy, Playdead and Gen Design". Video Games Chronicle. Retrieved 26 March 2020.

External links[edit]