Not surprisingly, the past six weeks have been very interesting. During this time, we released our first two teaser trailers, and I had the chance to be interviewed by the fine folks at Massively and here at MMORPG.com. The reactions from fans, frienemies as well as detractors have run the entire gamut from “Please create a DAoC 2” to “Get out the tar and feathers, he's back!!!”
The comments from both these camps as well as the range in-between have been heartening, enlightening and, at times, quite humorous. I've always provoked strong reactions from players (and industry observers) for my willingness to speak my mind and to put myself in front of oncoming buses. I've also always been willing to go out among the players and speak to them since I considered it part of my job, especially back in the pre-EA days at Mythic, to deliver bad news. That, of course, comes with a heavy price at times for me, both professionally and personally.
I don't claim to have invented the Internet, the MMO or even the concept of three-sided warfare in games. Far from it; I won’t even begin to take credit for every great idea in my games. At various times, my contributions have been both over- and underestimated by fans and detractors alike. While I don't rue the day I became the corporate face for Mythic, I'll admit that reactions to some of my posts have made me wish I hadn’t. I could have simply spilled the beans, taken the blame for my mistakes and let those directly responsible for many of DAoC's and WAR's questionable aspects/mistakes explain for themselves.
Tempting, oh so tempting, but over the last year, I've done a lot of soul-searching, and with the help of friends, family and my dog, I've realized it wouldn't serve any purpose whatsoever at the present time to dredge up old wounds. That would be an unnecessary distraction for me and for our studio's current focus, our first really big project. The past is the past, and if I'm going to be effective as the studio head for this endeavor, it should stay buried there. And so, I’ll stick with my longstanding policy and the past will remain buried as long as it’s my choice to do so.
However, before I buried it, I needed to make sure I learned as much as possible from what happened to me at EA and Mythic, and from our games. Otherwise, what I and others went through would be wasted. I'll never be perfect, but the Mark Jacobs that was stressed to the max due to the M&A process, EA, Mythic, WAR and my mom's cancer and death is gone - replaced by a wiser, calmer and a more balanced person.
I still put in the same ridiculous hours I was known for at AUSI/Mythic, and while I may never take a lot of vacations, I try for one a year. I do wish that WAR was everything I and the fans of both the IP and the game hoped it would be. If I could take back some of my decisions, I would do so in a heartbeat, but unfortunately, I can't. All I can do is accept responsibility for my end of things, which I do, make sure I've learned from both my own and others’ past mistakes, which I have, and not repeat them, which I most assuredly won’t.
What I can also do is this. I promise those who will follow us down the path we are embarking on that neither my studio nor I will disappoint you with our effort, passion and desire to make a great game. If I do so, I will head gracefully into the Old Developers Home and only pop my head up from time to time to yell at those kids to “Get off my Internet!” J
The next week and beyond seem sure to be even more interesting. As we move through them, keep the faith, baby.
City State Entertainment