With a current subscriber base of about 300,000 as of EA's last accounting in May, Mythic Entertainment's massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer Online has put up respectable numbers. However, they pale in comparison to Activision-owned World of Warcraft's 11.5 million subscribers. EA took bold action at the end of June to shake up Warhammer Online's trajectory, parting ways with studio cofounder Mark Jacobs as part of a studio consolidation with EA's crown jewel, BioWare.
BioWare VP and creative officer Greg Zeschuk spoke with UK-based gaming site Eurogamer about the newly formed MMO/RPG group in an interview posted today. In it, he said that the consolidation hasn't materially impacted the way the two studios operate.
"I think because we had been already working side by side within EA, we had already been sharing stuff back and forth, so there wasn't any, 'Oh no, now we're forced to share things, how terrible,'" he said. "We'll just continue what we're doing, which is actually sharing technology ideas."
Zeschuk went on to note that it would be a mischaracterization to refer to the consolidation as a merger. Instead, he compared Mythic's autonomy as tantamount to that enjoyed by BioWare's Austin studio, which is crafting the developer's own MMOG, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
"Austin is one of the BioWare studios, but they're very independent," he said. "They manage the internal processes, they run it like a BioWare studio, but in the Austin vision. They've got stuff they're working on, Mythic's got stuff they're working on, and it's going to be a great team there. We've known the people there for quite a while, so in general, they've got their agenda, we've got our goals, they've got their goals."
The BioWare exec went on to note that Mythic will "without a doubt" impart its lessons learned to the Star Wars: TOR team. "We can probably bring perspectives to the table that will be new and perhaps helpful to the guys from Mythic in the same way from an online perspective they can certainly share with us," he said.
In addition to the aforementioned Star Wars MMOG, BioWare is also at work on Dragon Age: Origins, which is expected to ship for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on October 20. BioWare is also prepping the second installment in its sci-fi space opera, Mass Effect 2, for release on Microsoft's platforms in early 2010.