Industry veterans Todd Coleman (W101, Shadowbane) and Gordon Walton (Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies) just announced the formation of their own new studio ArtCraft in Austin, Texas. Guess what they're making? That's right... a brand new MMORPG.
From the press release:
Founded by two of the most experienced executives in the history of online gaming, ArtCraft is dedicated to pushing the design of Massively Multiplayer Online games in bold new directions. A teaser website and signup page for ArtCraft’s first unannounced title is now live at http://www.play2crush.com.
"In the last decade, Gordon and I have had the opportunity to work with almost every game artist, designer and engineer in Austin,” said Coleman, CEO and creative director. “We drew on those contacts to recruit a team of all-stars – and we’re building something completely different, completely unique. We believe the MMO industry has grown stale. It’s time to create something new.”
Coleman brings a wealth of creative and entrepreneurial experience to ArtCraft. He founded Reliant Data Systems (acquired by Compuware Corporation in 1999), Wolfpack Studios, Inc. (acquired by Ubi Soft in 2004) and was the VP of production and creative director for KingsIsle Entertainment, Inc. As the co-creator and creative lead ofShadowbane, Wizard101 and Pirate101, Coleman has built a reputation for pushing the boundaries of MMO design. His games have received numerous awards (including Game of the Year, Audience Choice and Family Game of the Decade) and he was personally recognized by Gamasutra as one of the top 50 developers in the industry and by Massive Gamer magazine as the #1 Most Influential Game Developer in the World.
“Todd’s creative vision is what makes this partnership work, and my job is to ensure his vision gets realized,” said Gordon Walton, president and executive producer for ArtCraft. “Our mission is to create must-play experiences that redefine existing genres. We must delight and challenge players in equal measure.”
Walton has been building games and managing game development for more than 35 years, with the last 20 years managing massively multiplayer online games. He has been VP of online at Origin Systems, managing Ultima Online, VP and executive producer at Maxis, managing the Sims Online and VP and executive producer at Sony Online Entertainment on Star Wars: Galaxies. Walton then went on to become the Co-studio GM at BioWare Austin, on Star Wars: The Old Republic and was most recently the VP and executive producer at Disney Playdom. Walton has personally developed more than 35 games and overseen the development of more than 200 games.
If you head to the teaser site: www.play2crush.com, you'll find a bit more hint at what they're building, with a simple email opt-in beta sign-up. What do you think of their motto? The game, still unannounced, but with a timer counting down to 63 days from now will be an epic fantasy MMORPG. We'll be waiting and watching with the rest of you.
WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?
There was a time when our industry took CHANCES.
Our games didn’t have to appeal to everyone, and we didn’t judge ourselves solely on mass market success.
With amusement park games, it’s impossible to lose. With sandbox games, it’s impossible to win.
If you can’t win and you can’t lose, then
WHAT'S THE POINT OF PLAYING?
I don’t want to kill more rats, fill another experience point bar or collect another meaningless badge.
I want to play a GAME, against PLAYERS where my actions, my decisions and my SKILL will determine if I win or lose.
Allies. Enemies. Alliances. Betrayal. Risk. Conquest. To compete with THOUSANDS of other players for a chance to claim the THRONE.
Even if I lose, the experience won’t feel hollow. I don’t want another worthless trophy.
I WANT TO PLAY TO CRUSH.