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What's Next for EA Mythic?

Dana Massey Posted:
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Editorial: What's Up Next for EA Mythic? (Page 2 of 2)

Earth and Beyond: The Return
They own it. People want it. EVE is begging for a competitor. Earth and Beyond coming back online, whether it simply be the original game updated or a whole new product in that universe, might be an inexpensive bet for the EA Mythic crew to make. On the other hand, who wants to come storming out of the gate on the shoulders of a failed project?

I would hardly be surprised if a space-based MMORPG in the style of E&B or EVE comes flying our way from Electronic Arts in the next few years, but I cannot see Earth & Beyond being the bearer of such a game. As much as a loyal few love the title, it failed on a commercial scale that Electronic Arts does not expect from its projects. You remake hits, not failures.

Dark Age of Camelot II
As I said above, success breeds sequels, not failure. Thus, why not update the game that made Mythic famous? It is five years old and in many ways finding it harder to compete with the new breed of MMORPGs. Unfortunately, it might be like cutting off your nose to spite your face. SOE showed that it is not always the safest thing to make a sequel to your own MMO project. Unlike movies and books, MMORPGs can continue to be sampled for years to come. Plus, Mythic has always in the past fiercely denied any desire to do a Dark Age of Camelot sequel.

Then, why did I argue that UO2 seemed like such a good idea? Well, Dark Age of Camelot, for all its years, is still a fully 3D MMORPG experience. Like EQ, it would be hard to instantly see the difference between the original and its sequel. Less people are likely leaving DAoC for the sole reason that the graphics and technology are outdated. The same cannot likely be said for Ultima Online.

At this stage, a Dark Age of Camelot sequel would likely not feel like more than a fresh coat of paint. There is only so much you can do without alienating your original fans and chasing new ones with an IP that didn't get them in the first place is risky at best. Plus, Mythic has always said it was a bad idea. No Dark Age of Camelot II, at least not yet.

A Huge Movie Tie-In MMOG
There has been a lot of talk of people like Peter Jackson and James Cameron being interested in gaming and MMOs. Eventually, someone is going to try and pull off the MMORPG/Movie at the same time. It's a huge undertaking and to do it with any great success will require a veteran game studio, a lot of money and very understanding movie producers. EA and Mythic have two of those three things checked off.

Imperator Online
Mythic tried it before, but decided that the project hadn't progressed as they'd liked and canned it. It was refreshing to see a game company take a project that had some hype and following, but ultimately wouldn't have lived up to their idea of what a Mythic game should have been, and cancel it. It didn't work for them then and I don't see it working for them now.

The story, while interesting, is a bit wacky for many to swallow. For those that do not remember, Imperator was set in an alternate version of history, several hundred years beyond today. In that world Rome never fell and the Romans - you - were locked in a bitter struggle with the Mayans - who also never fell - across the galaxies. It provided a unique, stylized, land-based sci-fi experience, but ultimately, most people couldn't quite get their head around it.

EA Mythic General Manager - then the CEO of Mythic - Mark Jacobs, who created the original game, wouldn't rule out its return. However, given the wealth of assets EA provides them, why would they want to go back to such a concept? One of the allures for Imperator is that Rome, like Camelot, does not require a costly and restrictive license. Setting in the future simply keeps it from stepping on Dark Age of Camelot's toes. It had the niche to compete with Star Wars Galaxies and the IP to do whatever they wanted for free. Circumstances are much different now. I think it is a safe bet to say Imperator is dead.

Lord of the Rings Online: Movie MMO Edition
They own the license, so in theory, they could do it. That said, I could see a wealth of lawsuits if they tried and, honestly, the only way it could work is if Turbine utterly fails with their game. And if they do, why would you want to follow them with a similar project? Plus, the movie license is not nearly as conducive to an MMORPG as the book license is. I cannot see this working.

Motor City Online: The Return
Don't count on it. Just like E&B, success breeds sequels, not failure. Plus, they also have the example of Auto Assault to tell them that perhaps people just don't enjoy online car games. Plus, I don't see much of a public outcry for this title.

There are hundreds of IPs in bank over at Electronic Arts and hundreds more that they could get their hands on. MMORPGs are interesting beasts, but I cannot believe EA and EA Mythic will sit still for long and just hope that Warhammer is a smash hit. I'd expect that within a year we'll hear what the answer to this question is. Until then, it will be fun to try and guess. Let us know what you think it might be - if anything - in the comment thread below.

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Dana Massey