I’m interviewing Flagship Studio’s Ex-Blizzard-ite Bill Roper tomorrow for a magazine, so have been doing a little research into what sort of things the man’s been saying recently. Some interesting stuff out there. Hellgate: London is a game which I’ve been, while not ignoring, I’ve been more waiting to actually actively have a chance to play the bally thing than following the hype. So, while this is a couple of weeks old, it’s new to me. Newsweek’s always excellent N’Gai Croal chatted to Bill Roper in two separate interviews this year, which he serialised in four parts. He’s now lumped it together in one mega-interview which annoys me by asking all the sensible questions I’d have gone for, forcing me to actually apply my brain a bit harder than normal. Damn N’Gai Croal.
Anyway, here’s Bill on what sort of game Hellgate is. Is it a turn-based strategy game set during the Punic Wars?
“No, it’s an MMO. I mean, MMO means “massively multiplayer online.” We’re gonna be connecting hundreds of thousands to millions of players online. You know, Diablo 2 is an MMO, but in people’s heads when they think MMO they think the EverQuest model so that gives them all these parameters of what an MMO is. And then—I don’t know if this gets driven by marketing groups or by sales or fans, I don’t know–people really seem to need, have that need to be able to strictly define things. Like I know that Raph Koster at one point referred to Guild Wars as a hub-and-instance MMO, trying to narrow down what kind of MMO it was. It’s an MMO. You go online and you’re playing with, you know, thousands of other people in your community. That’s what Hellgate is. It’s an MMO. But to me the more quote-unquote “confusing part” is that its both a single-player game and an MMO. I was thinking of it as trying to be kind of like the Swiss Army Knife of games or the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of games. You’ve got your single-player MMO or whatever, or it kind of has these different arms that it reaches out to, these different people that want to play it. But we talk about it as being a massively multiplayer online game in the fact that we’re gonna be putting a massive amount of people together to play a game.”
Good to get that sorted. Every topic imaginable – from pricing decisions to randomised content to Guitar Hero – is dealt with herein. Go read.