Things were looking rather bleak for Mythic back in the late 1990s.  We had lost the vast majority of our revenue stream when EA bought the AOL Games Channel and shut down almost all existing online games and our rainy day fund was quickly drying up.  While we were still making the rounds in our bi-annual beg-a-thons (presidential knee-pads on full, begging mode engaged Captain) we weren’t getting anywhere.  Rob and I were preparing to go into “turtle mode” which would have cut our salaries down to zero (not a very great fall from where we were anyway, we never even came within sniffing range of six-figures then) and impose drastic salary cuts to try to keep the company afloat.  We had also received some much-needed help from employees like Bob Sellers (as always man, thank you) but time was running out. We had turned down several offers for the company (more on this another day) and I continued to believe in our company’s future.  Fortunately, just before the bell tolled, I convinced a company in New York that we were worth investing in and that I had an idea and Mythic had a team and leadership (Rob Denton, Matt Firor and myself of course) that could deliver on it.  That idea of course was Dark Age of Camelot and the company was Abandon Entertainment.  Abandon was, and is, primarily a film and television production company founded by two people who I care about deeply (with financial support from other people I also care about) Karen (my sister) and Marcus Ticotin.  I had bugged them for years about doing a game together and either out of a desire to finally shut me up, filial responsibility or just good judgment they decided to make a deal with us.  We sold them about 1/3 of the company and in return received $2.5M to develop DAoC.  During the development process we also borrowed $660K to market the game.  Well, 18 months later we released DAoC and it went on to be the surprise PC hit of the year (I don’t think anyone could have been more pleasantly surprised than Vivendi Universal though) and one of the most successful MMOs of all time in terms of its Return On Investment (prior to the EA acquisition, DAoC had already earned over nine-figures for Mythic and its total revenue was a lot higher than that), longevity (almost 9 years) and its Metacritic (still one of the top all-time scores for all MMOs).  Needless to say, Abandon was very happy with the way things turned out.  We repaid the loan and maintained a great relationship with them for years afterward.  Besides repaying the loan, Abandon also fully participated in the TA investment and the EA acquisition and it is safe to say that they profited greatly from their investment in us whether directly as above or when they hit a rough patch or two and needed some help and we were there for them.  That’s the kind of relationship Mythic Entertainment (FYI, I mean no disrespect to Bioware Mythic, I just can’t speak for BM since I’m not there any longer, ‘natch) had with its partners whether they were Abandon, Centropolis and Dean Devlin, Numerical Design Ltd. (NetImmerse/Gamebryo guys now Emergent) and others.  I’ve never forgotten when a business partner was good to Mythic (or to myself) and I’ve always tried to repay them in kind and that is never going to change.

If it wasn’t for Abandon Entertainment, DAoC would have most likely never been born and Mythic would have gone out of business sometime in the early days of the new millennium.  So, thank you Karen, Marcus, Gary, William, etc. whose investment and support made all of this possible.

Mark

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