Scott Jennings of Broken Toys (whom I still call Lum in my head) posted last week about the upcoming slate of 2011 MMOs. It’s a good post, and if you read this blog I expect that you have already read it.
The bit that really caught my eye, though, was his discussion of the impact of BioWare’s SWTOR (which I still call KOTORO in my head, accompanied by a mental imago of Goro).
Allow me to quote two small pieces:
But all the same, I hope The Old Republic is a massive hit, with millions of subscribers, enough to make back its development costs and then some. [...] Because Austin needs studio that has a successful MMO shipped within the past decade. Because a lot of my friends work there and I’m pulling for them. [...]
And because in 2012, the Old Republic development team may get some sleep.
(I’ve clipped the bits that deserve another, rather longer post.)
If it succeeds, it will show that the “big iron” still works – throw as much meat as you can at the machine, and crank out a huge project, and spend your way to greatness. [...] And everyone will breath a sigh of relief. The old gods still listen to our prayers, now shut up and find more virgins, we have to get the sacrifices ready for the next expansion pack.
I know where Scott is coming from when he hopes that SWTOR is a massive hit. I have friends in Austin and at BioWare as well. I don’t want to see them unemployed or have their last four years of blood and effort go down the drain.
But I also don’t want to see another decade of $50+ million meat-grinder projects. I want my friends to be able to sleep more than once every four years. I want MMOs to improve through a better understanding of target audience and design*, not through luck and blood sacrifice to the old gods.
And one day, I want to be able to consider getting back into the corporate side of the MMO industry again. I miss my teams. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to sacrifice my health and sanity for someone else’s minuscule chance of profit.
* You think SWTOR will succeed because BioWare does have a better understanding of target audience and game design? It’s possible … but right now I’m not seeing it. Let’s talk more when I’ve actually seen the game.