NC Soft’s Carbine Studios: Not New, Not News

Uh, okaaay. NC Soft announces Carbine Studios, and it is heralded in the press as a “new studio”, “acquisition”, “new team”, “unveiled”, etc. Someone has their wires crossed or NCSoft is trying to drum up some press to get past the tepid industry response to the Tabula Rasa open beta.

Carbine Studios “was founded in 2005 as a division of NCsoft North America by ten former members of Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft core development team.”

First, why wasn’t this news two years ago, and second, how the hell many people worked on World of Warcraft? Everytime I turn around, there is another new studio founded by former members of World of Warcraft (like Red5 for example). Even more curious, they all seem to be leading or key members of Blizzard’s dev team. Who the heck is left at Blizzard? Is this why Burning Crusade was more like “warm lint crusade” than something really hot? How is this an acquisition or a new studio?

[“This is a dev team made in heaven,” said Robert Garriott, CEO for NCsoft’s North American business. “This group is as experienced as they come in the area of computer role playing and multiplayer game design. Making successful games is second nature to them. They are a very welcome addition to the NCsoft family. The gaming community should be excited to see what great things come out of Carbine Studios in the coming years.”]

You have GOT to be kidding me. I mean honestly, I don’t mind a little hype in a press release, but “a dev team made in heaven” that is “as experienced as they come”? Then why is it, two years later, they need an “unveiling” and we still don’t know what they are working on?

[Details are scarce, but NCsoft said that Carbine is currently working on an unannounced project that “promises to break new ground in massively multiplayer gaming.”]

Ok, this line really makes me ill. Didn’t Garriot say this about Tabula Rasa (I have yet to rant on this, it is coming, I promise). There should be a law that says you can’t say something like this without qualifying it with some facts and examples. When someone like Garriot says stuff, people listen…he isn’t doing the industry any favors by fluffing up his own games or NCSoft “new” studios, particularly when there isn’t anything worth fluffing. Fine, say your game is great, awesome, or whatever, but don’t call it evolutionary (that’s my line by the way), “the most anticipated game ever”, or “ground-breaking”.

The bar must be getting really low these days…

7 thoughts on “NC Soft’s Carbine Studios: Not New, Not News”

  1. The studio has been referred to as “NCSoft Orange County” in the NCSoft earnings and investor reports before. So basically they have now been given an official name and that’s it.

    And all the dream team ya-da ya-da, isn’t that just some spin to wave the flag and say “we are hiring, come make a cool game with us”?

  2. Seriously, dude, this wasn’t worth getting annoyed about. PR flack speak has never been meant to impress anyone other than blank-as-a-slate pinhead venture capitalists.

    But yeah, this is two year old news, that they’ve been at work, though the Tim Cain connection had only been rumored and it wasn’t commonly known outside of NCSoft that Jeremy Gaffney had gone there.

  3. If you want real irony, google up the early history of Destination Games. Shortly after Garriot got his marching orders from EA, UO2 was shut down and a lot of personnel fired– which he then hired to work on the Next Big Thing. He ridiculed EA for handing him his “dream team.” A couple more years down the road, the first Tabula Rasa got thrown out and these same people got fired. I’ll bet Trip Hawkins is having a good time this month…

  4. “One of the key members of WoW’s development team” tends to translate to “Wrote a few quests/created some textures/designed a model or two/etc”

    Most of the [i]actual[/i] lead designers for WoW are still working for Blizzard, and most of them are still working on WoW.

  5. For at least the last year Blizzard has had around 80 devs on WoW, at a fair 5% attrition of those employee’s thats 4 leaving per year. Seems about right, and they’re just a stones throw from Blizzard’s HQ so its a easy move for those employees.

    Robert Garriot is just doing the same thing his brother did, carrying the company line and puffing up the company. (I believe IGN and a few other outlets mistakenly attributed the press release text/comment to Richard Garriot)

    I’ve been calling out Richard Garriot on DungeonRun for some time, the amount of hype he’s put out for TR when its been clear how far it missed the mark was unbelievable, even over 3 months ago.

    I don’t know, just seems like everyone in this market is so desperate for attention they’re willing to do or say whatever it takes to get some press or hype on their game if they can’t get it based on merit itself. We even starting to see the deluge on non-MMO games being marketed as MMO’s purely for the marketing cachet.

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