Former Mythic boss eulogises the fallen Warhammer studio
"I will always remain incredibly proud of them all."
By Jeffrey Matulef Published Friday, 30 May 2014
Upon yesterday's news of Mythic shutting down, former studio boss Mark Jacobs offered Eurogamer the following parting words detailing the company's rise and fall.
For the last 24 hours, I've been pretty consumed with the news: the studio I co-founded is being shut down by EA. What I hope people remember, and what I've been focusing on since yesterday, are not the games of Mythic, but rather the teams that made them.
There was the first team, or "old" Mythic. About a dozen folks made online games from 1995 to 1999, when online games had gone from an afterthought in the games industry (MUD? What's a MUD?), to the "next big thing," and then back again to a niche market. These guys and gals - including the studio's co-founders - accepted pay cuts, "turtle mode" (literally counting paperclips), and incredibly low budgets (the one exception being Aliens Online, for which we were paid $450K) to create more than a dozen online games, including games based on major Hollywood licenses. We all worked long hours and weekends because we believed that online games still had a big future, despite a dire forecast when our primary sources of revenue - Engage Games Online, Kesmai, and the AOL Games Channel - were shut down, merged, or otherwise became non-viable options.
Dark Age of Camelot, arguably the best realm vs. realm MMORPG ever.
Then there was the second team, about two dozen folks who, in 18 months and on time and on budget, created what I and many people consider the best RvR-centric MMORPG to date: Dark Age of Camelot. This team poured everything they had into making this game, and even though we were rejected by every publisher we approached save one, Vivendi Universal Games (thank you, as always), they never lost faith. It was truly a team effort. Nobody, not even me, can or should claim all the credit for creating that landmark game. They did everything that was asked of them, and while I generally eschew clichés, they gave 110 per cent to make that game happen. When it succeeded, they shared in its success and bounty.
Then there was the third team, the team that created Warhammer. Many of them came from the team that was making Imperator and were moved to WAR. In only three years, and with crunches that were even worse than during the Dark Age of Camelot development cycle, they created a terrific, albeit flawed, MMORPG. Through their efforts, new words and phrases such as "Public Quests" entered the MMORPG lexicon, and I hope that WAR will be remembered not just for its flaws but for its glory as well. The flaws were not of their making. As I've said before, the flaws and premature release rested with senior management (including myself) at both Mythic and EA but ultimately, members of that team paid the price. It was for those reasons, among others, that I insisted that Mythic co-founder Robert Denton and I tried to speak to every member of the team that was laid off one-on-one or in small groups to thank them for their efforts and to apologise for the layoffs.
That's what I have been focusing on for the last 24 hours. Mythic Entertainment was more than any individual or game. It was made up of incredibly hard-working men and women who always did what they were asked. As a team, they never wavered in their commitment to making great games. I hope that if this is indeed the end of Mythic Entertainment, people don't forget the teams that worked so hard and treated their jobs as seriously and professionally as anybody could have wished. I will always remain incredibly proud of them all.