The developers of the latest King Kong game say they were given just one year to build the game from scratch, with the harsh timeline mandated by publisher GameMill Entertainment.
Last week, Skull Island: Rise of Kong released on PC, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Xbox with little marketing fanfare, but garnered attention for its poor quality, especially for a game for a licensed franchise.
In a new report from The Verge, developers from IguanaBee say the game was made in one year from scratch and with very little funding.
“The development process of this game was started in June of last year and it was aimed to end on 2nd June this year,” one anonymous source said. Other sources revealed the game was made from scratch with up to 20 developers working on it at a time.
According to one former IguanaBee employee who didn’t work on Skull Island but worked on other GameMill-published games, it was “very common” for the team to be provided with limited information on projects, meaning they had to improvise.
The same source said GameMill didn’t provide enough funding to retain senior developers. A different source called IguanaBee’s relationship with the publisher a “love/hate relationship” as the studio relies on funding to make games, but is therefore unable to make its own projects.
IguanaBee developers crunched from February onwards to get the game into the best state it could be shipped in. “I was on automatic pilot by the end of February because all hope was lost,” said a source who worked on Skull Island.
Looking at GameMill’s portfolio of published games, the company has a pattern of licensing games for huge franchises and having small studios develop them. The company’s most popular game, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, was made by Ludosity and Fair Play Labs. At the time, it looked as they had a combined headcount of 30 employees total. The sequel, which was recently delayed, is in development by the same two studios.
Eurogamer has contacted GameMill Entertainment for comment.