In a flurry of press activity, a new MMO studio was unveiled today by ex-Blizzard, ex-ArenaNet MMO-guru Jeff Strain. Undead Labs is set to be a very focused developer. Focused on what, you say? Zombies. Consoles. MMO. Jeff believes he can help lead an MMO studio with a very tight game-making culture. This won’t be a “behemoth” company churning out franchise MMOs. This is going to be a company that carves an MMO from those three simple words for those three simple words. (Well not for zombies; though, after a 6-hour raid… nevermind.) There are a bunch of good interviews linked from the Undead Labs’ news page, but the best is found on the site covering rude questions that interviewers might ask. For instance, Jeff Strain departs from his old view on MMO subscriptions:
Q: Will the game carry a subscription model like WoW, or will it be more like Guild Wars?
A: The game will almost certainly be subscription based. I’ve always said that a game should be designed around its business model, and Guild Wars is certainly designed to be a free-to-play online game. In fact, there are hundreds of free-to-play online games on the market today, but some publishers are increasingly relying on micro-transactions, in-game advertising, “premium” accounts, or, at worst, lead-gen scams to generate more profit. I don’t like this nickel-and-dime approach, because it leads to design decisions that are based on something other than what’s most fun for the players. We want to focus on making an MMOZ that is, first and foremost, fun to play. Not a Skinner Box. Not a teaser for more stuff you can buy from us. Not an advertisement for stuff you can buy from someone else. Our singular design focus will be to create a game that is fun to play, and every month we’ll either earn you respect and your money, or we won’t.
i don’t hate vests