So much speculation…

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


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.


The week ended (is ending) very well…


As CSE’s time in crunch winds down and we bid a fond farewell to long days and occasional Saturdays, take-out/delivery food and lots and lots of items in Mantis, this week is ending on some very positive notes.  Last week were able to begin talking about Formation Crafting™ (albeit in its most basic form) and at the end of this week, our punch lists are looking rather small and puny. As development winded down we had a couple of rather common issues come up, the ever-popular slow memory leak and overall performance degradation. On Thursday, just as we thought we had looked down every back alleyway in the code, the team crited their perception roll and found a hidden passage that got us over those humps (and did so in style). While MoO on the PC runs at a fabulous frame-rate, the iPad versions have been steadily losing FPS as we’ve added more features, textures, effects, etc. to the game. With all the changes we made over the last few weeks our frame-rate is getting back to where it needs to be on the iPad.  The team has also been working diligently to decrease the overall memory footprint of the game as well as the download size and we’ve made a ton of headway (we’ve cut the downloaded size by more than 1/3).  Additionally, based on the end of the week testing by the team, we’ve squashed the one stability issue that was still bugging (sorry) us and now instead of being able to play through 95%-99% of the game (at one seating) without crashing, you can now play 100% without a hiccup.   So, it was a very good week and if all continues to go well over this weekend and early next week we will be submitting MoO to the App Store by week’s end.

As always, I am thrilled to be working with a small, independent team of very dedicated and hard-working guys and gals, many of whom had never worked in the games industry before. Even during crunch, everybody has stepped up and done what was asked of them, time and time again. No politics, no prima-donnas but just a bunch of people making a game of which they are very proud. And as proud of the game I am myself, I feel an even greater sense of pride in the team that we have built here and the effort that they have made on MoO.


The March On Oz™ Begins!



Finally, after 3 long years of both forced and self-imposed silence, I can begin talking about my studio’s first game, March On Oz ™.  City State Entertainment was formed in March of 2011 and early last summer we began working on the first of what we hope will be a series of games based on the Worlds of Oz ™ the aforementioned March on Oz.  For a new and mostly young team (I really throw the curve off, sorry kids), this game represents a major undertaking. We weren’t content with doing “JAICG” (Just Another iOs Clone Game) but set out to accomplish two rather significant goals. The first was to begin a re-imagining of L. Frank Baum’s Oz and create enough unique IP that, as I and the team at Mythic did with Camelot and DAoC, create enough non-cannon IP that we can protect it while at the same time making it more relevant to today’s audience. The second goal is to create a game that we can be proud of upon its release and that is worthy of the talent and effort than is going into the game. While I know that we can accomplished the first goal, I won’t know if that is true until after the game is released and you, the players, tell us what you think. No matter what happens though, I am proud of the effort that the entire CSE team has made on this game and I expect even better results from us as we mature as a studio.

March is also the first in a planned series of what we are calling Road Defense ™ RTS-style games. These games are, at their core, RTS-style but they also include elements of RPG-style gaming as well as other types of games. March On Oz doesn’t represent the end of the road for CSE’s journey through the Worlds of Oz rather it is just the beginning and as we all know, every journey begins with a single step and today we took our first public step on what we all hope will be a long and fascinating road. I hope that we will have a long journey together walking down this and other roads together.


Baby it’s cold outside

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As we continue our march towards our game’s official announcement, here’s a rather cool customer.

Once again, with feeling

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More teaser goodness from all of us at CSE. This time a look at the environment of our first game with a few interesting tidbits added to the original screenshot. 🙂  More good stuff coming in the next few days…

Gosh, it feels like 1995 all over again!



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.


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.

Almost there!

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We’re putting the finishing touches on the teaser now and have the 2nd and 3rd almost ready to go as well for next week as well. As per my earlier post, the next few things we will release are truly teasers but we’ll have a lot more to show as we get closer to our release date.

It’s so great to not only be making games again but also, to do so while being part of a team consisting of hard-working, dedicated and talented folks. Hmm, maybe I should go into more detail about that at some point. 🙂


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