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Howard Marks Talks Acclaim

By Dana Massey on April 03, 2006 | Interviews | Comments

Howard Marks Talks Acclaim

Howard Marks Discusses Acclaim

The CEO explains his vision for this MMORPG publisher reborn

“Acclaim is going to be all about the player,” remarked Howard Marks, the CEO of this reborn developer.

It’s a familiar refrain for MMORPG fans. Nowadays everyone seems to be about the player, so what makes Acclaim different?

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“When are you done with poker?” Marks asked as we sat in the dimly lit lobby of the bustling a San Jose hotel. Catching me off guard, I was not sure how to answer.

“That is a great game, you’re never done,” he pointed out.

And that is the vision Marks has for Acclaim’s games. He wants to make products people might put down for a while, but will never be done with.

Marks explained his vision of an MMORPG-only developer and publisher with a common theme throughout all their products. Acclaim games will be free to try. No matter what. You’ll never see an Acclaim title in Wal-Mart. He’s embraced the online distribution model fully.

While some games may be entirely free or built on a micropayment system, others will have restrictions for free players that eventually lead into subscription fees. As a company, Acclaim needs to make money, but Marks believes their games will speak for themselves.

Marks also hit out at the perception that Acclaim is just another in a long line of companies translating Asian-MMORPGs.

“We’re going to innovate,” noted Marks.

Their flagship title 9 Dragons is an Asian-import, but Acclaim is actively seeking developers from around the world. This is nothing new for the brand, Acclaim got its start in 1987 when a former Activision executive opened the company and brought a host of Asian games to the US market. Names like Mortal Combat come from that period.

“We are looking to publish any game of quality we find,” said Marks. “But quality is more important than the provenance.”

It just so happens that their debut title 9 Dragons met that criteria.

“[9 Dragons is] very rich and deep in terms of story and gameplay,” said Marks as to why his company chose it.

Some other themes gamers can expect from Acclaim titles are an emphasis on collection and developing a meaningful attachment between the player and their character.


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