With a career spanning almost two decades, David Perry has experienced and dealt with the intricacies of game production across several platforms. He has developed 35 games, working as lead programmer on 24 of them, that include popular titles like the Earthworm Jim series, MDK, Messiah and two based on the The Matrix movies. In 2002, Perry sold the development studio which he founded in 1994, Shiny Entertainment, to Atari. When Atari announced its intent to sell Shiny in early 2006, Perry resigned as the company's president and went out on his own by starting an one-man consultancy.
Today, Perry is embarking on a new venture, an MMO game called 2Moons for the revitalized Acclaim. It is the first time he has developed for this genre, and he is doing so in collaboration with a Korean developer, GameHi. The company that now bears the Acclaim name intends to build its business around charging gamers nothing in order to play 2Moons. Acclaim is banking on making money with an in-game advertising model.
Will it work? Perry thinks so and explained why to Gamasutra. He also reflected on the differences between how Korean and North American gamers play, pitched why we should care about 2Moons in an already crowded MMO scene, and why it is that game developers, not publishers, who may be to blame for the current problems within the industry.
Gamasutra: Let's get right to the most obvious question: World of Warcraft. It's the current phenom in the MMO scene. Is Acclaim gunning for its audience, attempting to actually take on WoW, or will 2Moons focus on a different, under-served gamer?
David Perry: No way we're not gonna take on the 4,000 lb gorilla. 2Moons is not The Sims or Grand Theft Auto either! It's a completely different direction. I'm kinda hoping that if anything it gives WoW players something to do for a break. The game costs nothing; they can install it, have a go, and see if they have fun. For people that have never played an MMO before, it's a great introduction to the concepts [of the genre]. And for people that don't want to spend a bunch of time collecting flowers or cooking, but prefer to draw blood, then this is the quickest way to get there.
I'm a fan of all kinds of movies. I've been the same way though my game development career, doing every kind of game I can think of -- R/C helicopters, evil/satanic, worms, arcade games, Disney, Terminator, etc.. Recently, I've been watching far too many Lions Gate movies, like Hostel and Saw, so I'm inspired to make a violent MMO.
I can promise you the next game I make will be completely different again, and I'll be challenged all over again. That's what keeps me enjoying this industry so much, even 20+ years later.
GS: The market is getting flooded with MMOs, and, frankly, they're starting to mush together, and the setting of 2Moons is also fantasy-based. How will you set it apart from the pack? Tell us, why should we want to desperately play it?
DP: I'm predicting there's a bunch of players out there that just want to kick ass, and join up with friends to take down some beasts. People that maybe have never even played an MMO before. Everyone at work can log in and play for free without having to enter any serial codes, or buy the game to install. No credit cards for subscription even. Just install and go. We also are being super clear that this is an MMO with profanity and violence. So there's no phone calls from the ESRB later on down the road. Why am I working on it? Simply because if someone else offered this game for free, and the guys in the office were giving it a try, I know I'd play it!
GS: Could you describe how your collaboration with GameHi works? Which party came up with the intellectual property (you, GameHi, Acclaim)?
DP: GameHi made a successful MMORPG called Dekaron, and they continue to keep upgrading it, adding new classes, worlds, weapons, etcetera. The problem is they never released it in the USA. Then I showed up -- I suggested they consider making significant changes, and went as far as providing a long list, and flew out to Korea. So now they're trying to work out how some of the stuff I asked for could be possible in an MMO.
That's what I do: I challenge programmers and get great joy in seeing beads of sweat on their foreheads. If they say "no problem," then I've failed.
Whatever they pull off, we will test on our closed beta testers and get their feedback.