Mark Jacobs is the outspoken co-founder of Mythic Entertainment, and has been in the MMO space for quite some time. He worked on early MUDs such as Dragon’s Gate, and was previously president of Adventures Unlimited Software, an early pioneer in the field of MMOs.
Gamasutra conducted a full interview with Jacobs about Mythic’s recent acquisition by EA, potential connections to Ultima Online, the future of MMOs, and World of Warcraft’s influence on the world of online games.
Gamasutra: Do you think that EA bought you because they’ve had such little success so far in the online space?
Mark Jacobs: I think it was a combination of a few things. I think that certainly their lack of success with Ultima certainly played a role in it. I mean, EA has never been afraid of admitting that it has great success, but also that it hasn’t had great success. So I think of course that played a part. Another major part that played into their decision was the fact that they had already played Dark Age of Camelot, so the top executives here know and love our game. Another thing that factored in was that Warhammer is not only a great IP, but also that the game we were making was well on its way to being a hit game.
GS: How did you originally take over the Warhammer license? I know Climax was making a Warhammer game initially.
MJ: We didn’t take it over. What originally happened between Climax and Games Workshop was that they were working on the original Warhammer Online, and then Games Workshop cancelled the deal, and all the Warhammer fantasy rights reverted to GW.
GS: So what made you pick it up, did you come to them or did they come to you?
MJ: Well actually I’d known the guys at GW for a number of years, well before we began work on Warhammer. So even during the time that they were working on Warhammer Online, they came to visit us a couple of times to ask how we do things. So we shared that with them because of my friendship with those people, like Robin Dews who at the time was involved in Warhammer Online, Paul Barnett, who’s now working for us. You know, we’re friends, we like your IP. So they came and picked our brains for a bit. And then when the deal fell apart, we offered our condolences of course, and we both said hey – should we work together on a game?
One thing I said to them was that they should take a little time. Wait. Let’s not talk now, you guys need time to figure out what went wrong the first time. And once you’ve got everything sorted out at home, then give me a call and we’ll talk.