Mark Jacobs hears you: Camelot Unchained is overdue. And today, we dive in deep with the man to talk about the current status of the project, the recent new batch of funding, and the forthcoming beta (!) and 2019 release (!). Read on, RVR fans.
MMORPG: Tell us where you are with development on Camelot Unchained. What is the team currently working on?
Mark Jacobs: Let’s start with the bad news: we’re obviously behind schedule. The good news is, that’s exactly why we sought the additional financing: so we could afford to spend the money necessary to significantly speed up development.
In terms of what the team is working on, the vast majority of us are working on delivering another update to our Saturday Night Sieges gameplay. By the end of the month, we are hoping to be able to invite all our Alpha and IT folks into 100 x 100 x 100 RvR scenario battles with honest-to-goodness character progression and tracking turned on for the first time.
MMORPG: The announcement outlines a bright future for City State Games, tell us what it will allow you to accomplish for 2018.
Mark: The biggest thing to come out of the announcement, at least in the short term, is that we have now been able to tell our recruiters (we have two outside firms working for us) to find us a lot of new talent as quickly as possible. As part of that, we have been able to add a lot of new hiring requests, which should be posted next week, for everything from programmers to DevOps. The recruiters’ mission is to help us achieve our goal of adding at least six new programmers to the team by the summer.
MMORPG: For you, what are some of the core elements behind Camelot Unchained that you feel have been missing in the MMO genre for some time now?
Mark: Our number one goal is to be able to deliver on large-scale, meaningful RvR battles. Everything else is secondary and subordinate to that goal. While a number of games have and will have RvR/PvP battles, we are aiming for something that nobody has been able to deliver on yet: a 1K player battle around a castle which maintains a playable FPS (30) on a decent, but not high-end, gamer rig.
MMORPG: Can you give us a sense of the timeline as to when the game will be in the hands of the players and backers?
Mark: All I will say for now is that this announcement is the second of four announcements that deal with Camelot Unchained, its Backers, and City State Entertainment. We will be making the rest of them over the next thirty days. The last of those will be the one that announces our tentative date for Beta 1. Here’s what I can say about the finished game: thanks to the investment we have received, we have no doubt that we will be able to speed up the game’s development from our current plan. While, as always, it depends on both our ability to hire great people and not “do the dumb,” we are targeting a 2019 full release for the game. And by full release, I’m talking LIVE, gone gold, and not a soft launch/MVP/etc.
MMORPG: What has your experience been with partners and investors on the game? Everyone seems very supportive on the ideas.
Mark: Extremely supportive. Many, but not all, of the investors in this round are long-time friends of myself, Mythic Entertainment, and CSE. The good news is that they know exactly what they are getting by investing in myself and my studio. The bad news is that they know exactly what they are getting by investing in myself and my studio. ?? We have been very clear with them that we are going to continue to operate as we have in the past (except we won’t have another major delay), and that is supported by the terms of the agreement. There is zero chance that anything will change, as long as I run the company, in terms of our approach to our Backers, RMT, etc.
MMORPG: How has it been working with your backer community? Do you continue to work with them on feedback and implementation?
Mark: As I’ve said repeatedly, here, there, and everywhere, we have tried to be the most engaged (and we never run away at the altar!) of any of the Kickstarter-backed development teams. Are there things that we can do better on? Sure, there always are. On the other hand, between our constant livestreaming, Forum interaction, posting/responding on sites such as MMORPG, I know that we’re doing a very good job with that. However, we want to do even better in 2018, and one of the other announcements in our lineup will demonstrate just how committed we are to that principle. We will back up my words with deeds.