So much speculation…

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Folks,

Hmm, this post was supposed to be added two years ago. Since I’m back here now, I might as well put it up…

Mark

From 2013———————————————–

And that is a good thing of course. Kind of the whole point of putting up a series of teasers. Lots more info to come in the next few weeks…

In the meantime, a few quick hits for a lazy Saturday afternoon:

1) Thanks to everyone who has expressed an interest in our next project. Speaking for everyone at CSE, we really appreciate it and hope that your interest and support will grow as we release more information.

2) To those who have asked if I’m willing to “spill the beans on EA/Mythic/etc.”, no. I still prefer to take the high road as I have always tried to do when it comes to other developers/publishers. My time as CEO at Mythic and then GM at EA wasn’t perfect and while 2006-2009 were the worst three years of my life, I can’t and won’t blame EA for all that unhappiness even if it would garner me some support. Readers here know that those years included my mom’s diagnosis and death from cancer and that, to be frank, didn’t help matters one little bit. Over the years at Mythic I made some mistakes and I’m more than willing to stand up and admit that. Fortunately though I can say that I never did anything for personal gain at the expense of other people (quite the opposite as *everyone* who was part of the EA/Mythic negotiations knows). While I have never knowingly lied to the community and never will; I still won’t spill the beans other than to say the same thing that I said a few years ago and that in the end, what it really boiled down to is that EA & I split because we disagreed on the best way to move forward with Mythic/BioWare/EA/etc. While there is a lot more to the story, those details would involve me doing what I detest and unless I’m given a reason, I’ll keep those details to myself. As per above, it still boiled down to the same thing, I was unhappy at EA/Mythic and the direction EA/BioWare/Mythic were going, in my opinion, was wrong on so many levels and I made no secret about it.

3) As part of (2), a number of people have speculated/asked (in the past & currently) about whether EA & I split over what EA thought WAR was going to do in terms of sub numbers. That one makes me chuckle a little since prior to the acquisition by EA (which is why I can talk about this), Mythic’s internal projections for WAR were in the 300K per month range. That, was a number I told them several times (as readers here know EA & Mythic went back and forth on a M&A for about 5 years) to which one senior EA executive said “You’re sandbagging aren’t you?” I laughed and said a little bit but not much but I said if EA will really support us, 400K is doable. It was my belief then and now that RvR-centric MMORPGs could not attract the same numbers as PvE-centric MMORPGs and that WoW’s numbers were untouchable and back in 2005, we were making a RvR-centic MMORPG. Nothing I’ve seen since then has changed my opinion on that.

4) For those who are wondering about whether this new game is another tablet/mobile game, I’ll simply say that I’m a big believer in how tablet and mobile games have changed the game industry but I’m a also a bigger believer that PC gaming is not on the brink of death (which makes me odd man out in some circles).

That’s it for now.

Mark

Happy Holidays!

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Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year all!

BTW, have a teaser on us. Tasty linkage here.

Mark

We are now for sale from the US to the EU to Russia in the App Store!

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What a year+ it has been for our studio.  When we first started work on March on Oza year ago, we were a collection of individuals, most of who had never worked together before. Additionally, many of those folks had no experience making games professionally. Now we are a team and one that can proudly point at MoO and say “I worked on that!” MoO is not an earth shattering, OMG revolutionary, “One game to rule them all” game but what it is a fun, gorgeous, lovingly crafted and humorous iPad game that will continue to evolve over time. As of late yesterday night, gamers from across North America, the EU, and many other fine places that I still have not had a chance to visit, could buy the game from Apple’s App Store.

Launching a game, whether MoO or even an MMO, is only the beginning of the process. Over the next few months, MoO will see more units, more mini-games, and most importantly more difficulty levels. These new units and settings move the gameplay more toward the “action-reaction” kind of games and less like the “build it and watch the fun/frolic” kind of game. Moreover, once you have seen “Ski-jumper N.O.M.E.” in action, you will smile, a lot. That’s one of our goals with MoO, to create a game that can be played by casual players as well as gamers who want a lot more A/R in their games, especially for our PC version (coming down the road a bit, we hope, on Steam!). In the meantime, if you have an iPad2 or newer version, please check out our game and if you enjoyed the game, please do not hesitate to review/rank us on the App Store!

My thanks to everyone at City State Entertainment and especially to my co-founder Andrew Meggs, for bringing MoO to life. It has been a great journey so far and I know it is going to get even better.

Mark

Submitted!

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As of 3:30PM, EST today, City State Entertainment has submitted its first game to the App Store for review. We are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy!

Congrats and thanks to all the guys and gals at CSE who made this possible.

Being out of crunch also feels sooooo good.

 

A game changer?

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Over the years,decades,eons (it feels that way sometimes) that I’ve been making games, I’ve always tried to come up with interesting bits that are unique to every game that I or my studio, have created. Usually these elements are evolutionary changes, sometimes, albeit more rarely, they are revolutionary (I hate the overuse of that word by so many people so I rarely use it myself). I’ve been fortunate over that time to have been able to both incorporate a lot of my ideas and those of my co-workers into games such as Dragon’s Gate, Aliens Online, DAoC and WAR. Once again, I believe our studio has come up with a feature that is both figuratively and literally a game changer. We call it Formation Craftingand its use in March On Ozis, in our opinion, quite a nifty feature to add to not only this type of game but other games we hope to create as well. And for me, one of the best parts is that someone other than me birthed the idea (in this case it was Scott, one of our artists) and that makes me smile. It is confirmation of one of the values that is core to this studio that, great game design ideas can and should come from any member of the team, whether it is a programmer, artist, human resources, PR, finance and yes, even a old warhorse of a game designer on occasion. Formation Crafting in MoO is just the first step, we have lots of ideas on how to take it to the next level and we look forward to bringing those to life as well a little further down the road.

Check out something cool here

Thoughts for a hot saturday in a very warm office

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Crunch time fun & frolic continues as we approach the finish line for our first game and it’s time to take a quick break from being level/legal guy  today (as always, I hate reading pages and pages of contracts) and write-up a quick post.

1) Our first game has turned out a bit more ambitious than originally intended. It wasn’t as much feature creep but quality creep. Andrew put it very succinctly the other day in commenting that we are taking a “AAA” approach to our first iPad game.  Pretty much sums it up. When I originally conceived the game I thought it would be about a 9 month project but we are coming in at a year. Not horrible, especially for a new team and the game’s quality reflects that extra time so that’s not so bad.

2) We’ve been in crunch for a while now and I am inordinately proud of our team. The guys and gals here have worked their tails off whether it is extended evenings and/or weekends without complaint. While the usual consequences of too much crunchy goodness are here, everyone is doing what it takes to get the game out the door. Reminds me of another young team from a decade ago and I hope to be able to share the same kind of financial success with them as I did with the Mythic team, as a thank you for their efforts. If I can do that in a few years, well, it will be a nice time to call it a career. In the meantime, I still have a bunch of games I would like to do, including another MMO.

3) The news out of Rhode Island about 38 Studios was and is very depressing. While Curt and I won’t be attending NYY/Sox games as best buds, the guy definitely had/has a passion for making games. We have too many people in the industry who don’t have that kind of passion (and his willingness to put his money/time where is mouth is) and I hope that things work out for him and the team at 38 as well as the taxpayers of Rhode Island. The MMO industry is really back on its heels now and if 38S ends badly, it won’t help things one bit and for the team itself, it would be a disaster. Hopefully things will work out for all concerned.

4) GW2 is looking like the most interesting MMORPGs to come down the pike in many years. I refuse to get excited about any game until after launch but from what I’ve read about the game, it seems like they are doing a lot of things right. It is definitely the game that most of us are talking about in the office (other than our game and possible future games of course). 🙂

5) The NHL playoffs have been amazing. As a big hockey buff, it’s almost everything I could ask for. Now, if the Rangers can win the Cup, well, that would remove the almost.

Okay, time to get back to work. Sorry if the post is even less proofread/grammatically correct than usual, I have figure out why one of our creations is acting up.

Mark

 

Gosh, it feels like 1995 all over again!

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Folks,

There’s an old saying that you can’t go home again.  While I still believe that to be mostly true, the last few months have had an eerily familiar feeling to them.  As to why, well, here’s a look at some of the stuff that has happened in CSE during the Fall/Winter:

a) While CSE was desperately looking for a first-rate modeler to join our team, he appeared.  Eerily like when Mythic needed another artist ASAP and the talented Lance Robertson simply walked our door and asked for a job. Since joining our team, Mike has frankly, kicked serious ass;

b) I  drafted and executed a Term Sheet with another company and then wrote a first draft, hog-choker of a contract with said company.  We have a fine attorney, as we did then, but saving some significant money by me doing the grunt work is always a good idea;

c) Worked on a “Vision Document” and presentation  for two new games to show to our partner.  We were always “presenting” things to partners or potential partners back in the day.  The difference is this time, we don’t need to, as I used to say, “put on the Presidential kneepads” and beg for funding, now its to talk about JVs or distribution;

d) Got to work and hang out with an outstanding bunch of guys and gals, a team composed of a mix of industry veterans and less experienced folks who, working together, are focused on building a new studio and who are all excited about all the interesting opportunities in a growing gaming space;

e) Me, smiling broadly as the entire team contributes to our game both from within their work discipline and outside of it.  Our last two major design ideas came from our artists. That’s one of the many things that make CSE different from many (not all) other studios.  Everybody is part of the design, incubation and development process whether they are a programmer, artist, finance, HR, etc.  Lucas, one of our industry vets, confirmed that this was the first place he has worked at where everyone truly has a voice in the process;

f) The studio hired what should be our last major team member for a while, we now have everyone we need to be successful, now we just have to deliver.  It was the same back at old Mythic, we had a small team and we simply had to go out and make games that were fun to play;

g) Nerf guns firing within the office as people bring their kids and pets (including one very cool Bearded Dragon) to our space and bad jokes, puns and other assorted witticisms flow like water from the Nile (during its flood stage of course);

<<<drum roll please>>>

h) Back hurts again, not as bad as when I was walking around various E3s with a walker/cane/crutch but painful enough.

So, while this is not exactly the same as 1995, it is pretty damn good and I’m one happy camper.  As a matter of fact, I’m happier than I’ve been since the middle of last decade (way before the EA acquisition). And that alone makes it all worthwhile.  All in all, I consider myself truly blessed.

Mark

P.S. I’ll have a follow-up post that will focus on the guys and gals of CSE and why I think we have a real shot at success.  No guarantees as usual in this business but we are off to a great start.

P.S.S. More teaser goodness tomorrow.

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