It’s one of the great breakups in gaming. Up there with John Romero leaving id Software, or West and Zampella walking out on Activision. The story of how the developers behind Championship Manager, one of the most profitable and successful game series of all time, left their publisher Eidos, and abandoned the franchise they’d spent years building to start again with Sega and Football Manager.
Until now everyone involved was legally unable to talk about what happened, but yesterday Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson and Eidos’ Ian Livingstone finally spoke about why the two split nine years ago.
The pair were brought together by the Game Horizon conference, where Edge reports Jacobson was asked about the situation. He replied “During our times with Eidos and Domark [the firm’s precursor] there were some run-ins. But legally I’m not allowed to talk about this unless I get permission.” At this point Livingstone agreed to let him continue.
Jacobson claims Sports Interactive felt they weren’t getting enough respect at Eidos, with Jacobson saying “There seemed to be an attitude at the time in the industry that anyone could make games.” They were also asking for increased royalties on the series, arguing that they shared as much risk as Eidos.
Livingstone said he was concerned that Sports Interactive would leave Eidos in search of a better deal, believing they were speaking to other publishers, which Jacobson denied. So, while Sports Interactive worked on Championship Manager 4, Eidos signed Beautiful Game as insurance against such a split. Ironically it was this action that prompted Jacobson and the Collyer brothers to finally leave. “They told me that BGS were making a platform game,” said Jacobson. “I thought our number was up.”
So nine years later, we can finally understand why it all happened. Neither side trusted each other, both were convinced the other was out to undermine them. In such situations, the break up was inevitable.
You can read the full story over at Edge.