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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Interviews: GamesWorkshop Q&A

By  on May 22, 2006

GamesWorkshop, the license holder, tells us how they see Mythic's WAR

GamesWorkshop Licensing Manager Erik Mogensen and Staff Writer Garrett Fuller met at E3. From this came a Q&A with Erik on the Warhammer world and how GamesWorkshop sees the development of Mythic Entertainment's eagerly awaited Warhammer Online. Included are four exclusive screenshots.

MMORPG.com:Games Workshop has created a rich history with Warhammer, what kind of direction did you give Mythic in terms of translating it into an MMO?
Erik Mogensen:

We didn’t so much give them a direction, as discuss each other’s opinions on how to marry the Warhammer IP with MMO gameplay. It was apparent very quickly that we agreed on the most fundamental concept – that in order to succeed, WAR needed to be both a great MMO and a great use of the Warhammer IP. Both companies agree that WAR needs to forge its own identity as a Warhammer game, rather than try to replicate the look and feel of the tabletop game, or the pen and paper RPG, or the novels we publish, etc. It sounds very simple, but I think for both of us it was a great first step to realize that we had a shared vision.

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MMORPG.com:Can you give us an insight into the collaboration with Mythic Entertainment, how has the relationship grown since the development of Warhammer Online began?
Erik Mogensen:

It’s honestly been great from the start. As you might expect, at first it was a fairly formal relationship as we discussed approvals processes and our own ideas for the game, and as we got to know the people that we were dealing with. As we’ve worked together for longer, we’ve gotten to know each other better and the key people from both companies have started to form really good working relationships. When I meet up with the Mythic guys we work hard…then we go out for dinner or to play some pool and talk about what games we’re playing at the moment. It’s like we’re co-workers most of the time, rather than Licensee and Licensor.

MMORPG.com:With all of Warhammer’s colorful armies, what made you comfortable with the choice of the six races of Empire, Greenskins, Chaos, Dwarf, High Elf and Dark Elf for launch?
Erik Mogensen:

We let Mythic suggest which races to put into the game initially. They’re the guys that know the market and what would suit an MMO, plus they know what races interested the members of the development team. GW believes that in order to get the best out of a computer game, the dev team need to feel passionate about what they’re working on, so there was no way I was going to try and enforce a choice of races. Of course we had made a list of races we thought would work, and as it happenes, it lined up pretty well with Mythic’s own choices. Great minds think alike? ?

The idea of having 3 racial pairings has been around since the earliest discussions about WAR, and that helped us choose the 6 immensely. Greenskins vs. Dwarfs, High Elf vs. Dark Elf, and the Empire vs. Chaos are probably the three biggest baddest grudge matches in the Warhammer World so ended up being ideal choices for RvR.

MMORPG.com:What reaction have you gotten from the Warhammer Fantasy Battles community? Do the painters and strategists feel the game will translate well into the virtual world?
Erik Mogensen:

So far the response has been almost universally positive. We work hard to make sure our computer games have lived up to the quality our fans expect, and the reaction to what Mythic have shown so far tells me that we’re succeeding so far. There are always going to be people unhappy that their favourite race got left out, or that GW and Mythic have made a few choices they wouldn’t have, but we really believe that the vast majority of Warhammer fans are going to love what we’re doing.

MMORPG.com:The Squig Herder class is an example of something that can really shine in its translation from table top to online game. What other areas of the Warhammer world are developers looking to stretch new ideas and how much freedom does Mythic have in this regard?
Erik Mogensen:

The number of things that will be depicted in WAR that we’ve never revealed before is far too high to list. If you think about it, when have we ever had to depict what a Dark Elf house looks like? Or a Dwarf cutlery set? You can extend that right up through character classes, weapons, armour, quests…it’s a huge amount of Warhammery goodness that the world has never seen before.

Mythic are the ones driving the creative process, with several key people at GW consulting with them at every stage. So, they’re very free to be creative and add things that GW has never depicted before, and GW is there at every step to ensure that it all fits within the Warhammer World.

MMORPG.com:Chaos has always been a popular element in Warhammer, how are Games Workshop and Mythic working to get Chaos “right” for the online game?
Erik Mogensen:

We’re not talking about Chaos just yet, you’ll just have to wait and see. Of course, we’ll be applying the same principles and practices of collaboration that I’ve already discussed to come to a shared vision for how the forces of Chaos will be realized in WAR.

MMORPG.com:During the E3 Demo we heard talk of Dryads and Skaven being part of the game. Will at least some elements of each Warhammer army be represented, even if it is not a playable race?
Erik Mogensen:

I know that Mythic are keen to pack the game with as much content as possible and appropriate, but we have to keep some secrets so you’ll keep coming back for more… ;-)

MMORPG.com:Warhammer has a wild, very destructive approach to magic, can we expect classic spells to have their full impact onscreen?
Erik Mogensen:

I don’t think Mythic are ready to talk about the Magic system yet, so I can’t steal their thunder. I don’t think it’s giving anything away to say that WAR’s approach to magic will be representative of the way Magic exists in the Warhammer World though…

MMORPG.com:Will we see some classic Warhammer heroes making an appearance in the game, people like Karl Franz, Gotrek & Felix, or Wurrzag?
Erik Mogensen:

Ooh! These are good questions! You’re not pulling your punches are you?! We’ve said that you will be able to capture the NPC leaders of other factions…but as to who those leaders will be, you’ll have to wait and see.

MMORPG.com:Why do you feel that this project will succeed where past Warhammer MMORPGs have not?
Erik Mogensen:

For starters, there has only been one previous start on a Warhammer MMO. Although it never came to market, I’m not sure I’d call it a ‘failure’. GW learned an awful lot about this industry through that project and it ultimately led us to working with Mythic on WAR!

You’re right though, we do feel confident that WAR will succeed. Warhammer is a deep IP, ideally suited to an MMO. Mythic are a fantastic MMO developer, known not only for the quality of their games, but also for their commitment to the community. We’re all working hard to make a great Warhammer game and a great MMO, and so far we’re on target. There’s a lot of work yet to do, but so far we’re all feeling extremely optimistic.

MMORPG.com:Are there any plans for a Warhammer 40K online game some time in the distant future?
Erik Mogensen:

There aren’t any plans for this at the moment, no. We’d love to do one at some point, but one MMO is plenty for now!

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