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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Interviews: Interview with Erik Mogensen

By  on January 15, 2007

Erik Mogensen Games Workshop Interview

Erik Mogensen, the Licensing Manager for Games Workshop's Warhammer franchise, sits down with News Editor Garrett Fulelr for a one on one interview.

MMORPG.com:

2006 was a big year for Games Workshop with the launch of Mark of Chaos, the Dawn of War expansions, and of course the development of Warhammer Online. Can you give us some insight into what is on the plate for 2007?

Erik Mogensen:

First of all, I’d like to wish you and all the MMORPG.com fans out there a very happy New Year. 2007 is going to be very exciting for all of us!

Obviously, the big news for MMO fans is that there is now less than a year to wait until Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning’s release date. We all know how fast a year can go by! I’m afraid I’m going to have to resort to the old ‘nothing’s been announced yet’ regarding other projects. Sorry. Our other licensees THQ and Namco Bandai Games have plans in the works, but I’m going to leave it to them to reveal what’s cooking when they think the time is right. I’ll tell you this much: I’m very busy these days!

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MMORPG.com:

When last we spoke Mythic was still operating as an independent company. How has the addition of Electronic Arts impacted the relationship between Mythic and Games Workshop?

Erik Mogensen:

Heh heh, the toughest thing for me is remembering to call them ‘EA Mythic’ now! Honestly, that’s the most noticeable change, which I realize isn’t very exciting but there you go. I work directly with the art team, the designers, the content guys, the producers as well as marketing and PR and the truth is there’s been no major alteration to how we interact. EA clearly supports Mythic and trust their expertise as well as their relationship with us. All of GW’s contact with EA has been positive, and they’re clearly excited and fully behind the game. In actual day-to-day terms though, all the same people at Mythic and GW are working together just as before, only now with the world’s biggest publisher supporting us all. It’s a great place to be.

 


MMORPG.com:

How do you feel about the developing classes in the Warhammer Online world? New elements like the Chaos Zealot, really add a new idea to classic Chaos designs. How does Games Workshop view an addition like the Zealot?

Erik Mogensen:

We love it. Remember, EA Mythic (must remember, must remember…) aren’t working in isolation here. They don’t have to get things past us, we’re working together to flesh out the Warhammer World. Myself and Alan Merrett our IP Manager (he’s the man who ultimately yay or nay’s anything creative that GW or any of our partners do) are in constant contact with them, discussing these things. We meet face to face at least once a month as well. Don’t tell them, but we go see them mainly because they give us Twizzlers. Why doesn’t the UK have Twizzlers?!

I’ve said all along that GW is perfectly comfortable with Warhammer Online adding new elements that haven’t previously been described as being part of the Warhammer World. MMORPGs have very specific needs that are unlike anything GW has had to think about before. In some cases EA Mythic create these new things, and then ask us for feedback on their ideas. The Squig Herder was one of those moments. It’s sheer madness, but in a very suitably and in a very Greenskin way, so we naturally loved it! Sometimes, they come to us with a specific need and ask us to propose the solution. An example of this would be ‘we need a support class for the Dwarfs, someone who can heal, but there doesn’t seem to be a precedent in Warhammer’. We at GW had some discussions, and the Runepriest was born. Lastly, sometimes it’s a dual effort where we’ll sit in a room together for a day and collaborate to come up with ideas and solutions to the more challenging issues. ‘What does the Chaos ‘Capital City’ look like?’ is one question we addressed that way. GW and Mythic both bring different areas of expertise to the table, and we work very well together.

The last thing I want to say on this is that EA Mythic have earned our trust by showing us a real intrinsic understanding of not just the bits of Warhammer we’ve committed to books and miniatures, but to the underlying thinking, the ethos that bounds the Warhammer World. The Zealot is a fine example of this, as is the Norscan Longship which EA Mythic have kindly allowed me to show for the first time. I wish I could give you more examples, but a lot of the great new stuff they’ve come up with has yet to be revealed. I want their artists and designers to really feel like they ‘own’ this game, and part of that is encouraging them to experiment and create new things. So, we came into this project not only knowing and accepting that new elements would need to be created, but were also (and still are) excited by the prospect.

 


MMORPG.com:

Ok, we mentioned the Zealot for Chaos, I am sure everyone is excited about the Witch Hunter for the Empire. How do you feel seeing a classic Games Workshop icon like the Witch Hunter come to life in a video game?

Erik Mogensen:

I knew the Witch Hunter was going to be something special, but I didn’t expect anything near as awesome as what we’re seeing! Check out the new full-colour Tier 4 Witch Hunter! It can take up to 18 months for us to produce a miniature (from concept art through to final production), and we might make only one or two variations of a character type. I’m excited by the prospect of seeing hundreds or thousands of unique Witch Hunters (and all the other classes) running around in the Warhammer World. We’ve loved watching our characters come to life in the Dawn of War games, and in Mark of Chaos, but WAR is going to take that to a new level.

 

 

MMORPG.com:

In the PvP scenarios it was said that the Dogs of War will be used. Can we expect to see classic Dogs of War units such as Ogres, Riccos Republican Guard, or Long Drong’s Slayer Pirates?

 

Erik Mogensen:

I don’t think EA Mythic is ready to reveal too much about this, but the Barak Varr Zone Overview has already let slip that Long Drong and his scurvy Slayers will be making an appearance. If I was a betting man, I’d wager on seeing a few more familiar faces along the way….

 

MMORPG.com:

Paul Barnett (by the way, what Chaos Gate did he appear from?) mentioned in a press conference that a Great Unclean One of Nurgle might make an appearance in the game as a dungeon boss. Can we expect to see major demons and heroes as boss type encounters?

Erik Mogensen:

Again, I don’t want to steal EA Mythic’s thunder. I know I’m starting to repeat myself, but those guys are working their hearts out on this game and I want them to have the satisfaction of making the big reveals! Without being specific, you can safely assume that my previous comment about ‘familiar faces’ will apply here, too. It wouldn’t be a Warhammer game otherwise! ;-)

As for Mr. Barnett, it’s pretty clear that this game is going to be great through his sheer force of will isn’t it? Lol! His passion and enthusiasm for Warhammer is a great asset for EA Mythic and the whole project.

 


MMORPG.com:

Does Games Workshop have any plans to launch miniatures that will relate to Warhammer Online? Is there a possibility we’ll see an Age of Reckoning campaign for the table top as well?

Erik Mogensen:

We keep these two parts of the business (Licensing and Tabletop Wargames) completely separate, and most of the time we don’t engage in cross-overs like that. We make sure each stays consistent with the other of course, but it’s very difficult to coordinate the activities of two such different businesses, each working with huge lead times. So, we don’t generally plan for it, but if the guys in our design studio see an element in WAR that they really like, they’re free to use it and put it in the tabletop game.

With Dawn of War, Relic needed a builder unit for the Eldar – someone to construct their bases. For years we’ve mentioned that the Eldar have Bonesingers, essentially psychics who manipulate Wraithbone (a super-strong psychoactive plastic material) to construct their buildings and war machines. We’d never revealed what they look like, although I was able to get Relic some concept art and so they had their builder unit. GW’s design studio liked Relic’s take on the Bonesinger so much, that they took Relic’s design and turned it into a promotional miniature. Only time will tell if something similar will happen with WAR. So far our studio has been very impressed with all of the concept art they’ve seen.

 

MMORPG.com:

As far as promotions go, will there be any contests related to Warhammer Online at GW Games Day Events in the upcoming year?

Erik Mogensen:

For those not very familiar with Games Workshop, Games Days are our annual events (held around the world) where we invite our fans to come play games, meet our designers, compete in our Golden Daemon miniature painting competition and generally celebrate our Hobby. The largest one is in the UK, where we have nearly 10,000 people attend each year.

WAR has been appearing at most of our Games Days, and is set to continue to do so. At this stage I’m not sure what contests might be planned, but the year is young yet!

 

MMORPG.com:

Do you have any expectations for Warhammer Online as far as lore goes. Are there things you hope will be in the game for players to experience that may just have to be left out?


Erik Mogensen:

The Warhammer World is a very, very big place and there was inevitably some content that had to be left out. I think that together, EA Mythic and GW have done a good job of picking a cross-section of content to give a good representation of the world in an MMO context, while also keeping most of the Warhammer fans happy. I hope that’s what we’ve done anyway. I suppose we’ll find out later this year!

I’m also hopeful that we’ll get a chance to put a lot more in the game world as time goes on.

 

MMORPG.com:

Ok Erik, this is our second interview and I am apologizing in advance for asking this a second time. However, it is the single most asked question by every Games Workshop fan out there, so it must be said. When will we see some signs of a Warhammer 40K MMORPG?

Erik Mogensen:

No need to apologise, but I’m going to give you the same answer I did last time! We’ve got quite a lot on our plate with WAR at the moment, and I want to make sure we give this, our first MMORPG, all the attention it needs and deserves. I’d still love to see a Warhammer 40,000 MMORPG, of course. Who wouldn’t want to be a Space Marine?!

 

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