This month we thought the fans might be interested to hear from the folks who lead the development of MEO: The Producers! As Producers, we coordinate, inspire, lead, and manage the activities of a very diverse group of people. We work with developers, marketing and PR folk, finance teams, quality assurance engineers, compatibility testing labs, IT groups, customer service reps, publishing houses, audio people, licensors, business partners and more. We push the paper so that the developers can get on with developing the game. We play the game over and over and contribute our experience to the design to make it more fun. We travel, make long phone calls at odd hours of the day (or night), run financial models, write e-mails and long strange documents, read even longer and stranger documents, demo the game until our fingers bleed and more. The Producer's job is not the most important on the team, but all things eventually funnel through the producer's hands. Ultimately, the Producers will affect just about every part of the game.
When a game starts, the Producers set out the goals for that project. Some of these goals are based on the genre of the game, some are financial, and some are marketing, but most are things that Producers know from their experience as gamers and industry experts will make a great new game. But producers never work in a vacuum (which is a good thing, since we'd asphyxiate pretty quickly if we did.)
Here are the goals we set for The Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth Online:
Create the best online role-playing game out there.
Adhere to the literary works (and the spirit) of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Provide better customer service than any other online game.
And here's how we're satisfying these goals:
Work with a world-class developer and focus on the key elements of online gaming, in particular massive-multiplayer role-playing.
Bring on people that love and respect the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Ensure that experts in the field of Tolkien review and approve every aspect of the game.
Create a team of experienced customer support, technical support, and network operations people and charge them with a new industry standard in customer service.
It isn't always easy (but it's not rocket science, which is good since it's really hard to patch a rocket after lift-off). Fortunately, we are getting to work on a dream game. We all play online RPGs and we all love Tolkien. MEO is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that we will fondly be telling our grandchildren about. Hopefully, when they are playing it.
- The MEO Producers
If you want to check out the MEO forums, head on over to their site.