Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Veteran designer returns to online games with Camelot Unchained (interview)

Mark Jacobs is returning to something he loves very dearly: massively multiplayer online role-playing games. The veteran game designer at City State Entertainment is getting ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the studio’s first MMORPG, Camelot Unchained (working title), in early March.

“Can I do that Al Pacino thing? ‘Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!’” Jacobs told GamesBeat with a laugh.

Jacobs has been away from the MMO space for a long time. He co-founded Mythic Entertainment in the mid ’90s, where he helped create the popular Dark Age of Camelot and later — after publisher Electronic Arts acquired Mythic in 2006 — Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. He served as general manager up until 2009, when he left after the merger of BioWare and Mythic (citing creative differences as a reason for his departure).

Two years later, he co-founded City State Entertainment in Fairfax, Va., a studio dedicated to making mobile and social games. Its first title, the iPad-only March on Oz, came out late last year. And while it’s not abandoning those original goals, the developer is obviously eager to work on something much bigger.

 It’s not a successor to Dark Age of Camelot

What we know so far is that Camelot Unchained is a realm-versus-realm (RvR) MMO where players can pledge their allegiance to one of three competing factions: Arthurian, Tuatha Dé Danann, or Viking. The realms are fighting each other to assert control over the game’s persistent world and will feature player housing, crafting, and a “true player-owned economy.”

“It is truly an MMO that’s about RvR and RvR only,” said Jacobs. “There’s no [player-versus-environment] in it, no theme-park-ness. It’s solely geared to one part of the market — and that’s the guy and gals who want to go out and beat the heck out of each other.”

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