EA confirms Warhammer Online studio given new “BioWare Mythic” name; no Mario creator tells investors the coming year could see his first original creation in nearly a decade; next Pikmin to be finished soon.
Last year gaming giant Electronic Arts began to tweak its organization and lumped fan favourite BioWare and Mythic Entertainment into a newly formed MMORPG game group. The move caused longtime Mythic boss and cofounder Mark Jacobs departed the company and put BioWare, creators of Dragon Age Mass Effect and the fan favorite KOTOR series, heads Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk atop the pyramid. It was released on July first that EA has confirmed that Mythic Entertainment has been renamed BioWare Mythic.
Mystic is most well known for its big-budget MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, a game that one time was thought to be the World of Warcraft killer but peaked at 750,000 registered users three weeks at launch. Five month later the number dwindled to just 300 000.
Mystic has been struggling a great deal to gain traction in the WOW dominated field that in March of 2009 it announced that it would be taking 63 of the game’s servers offline in an effort to consolidate the evaporating player base. Mythic was also reported to have been heavily affected by EA’s substantial headcount reduction at the end of 2009. According to unconfirmed reports, more than one-third of the studio was laid off.
Mythic’s new status as a BioWare studio makes it the second MMORPG-focused outfit within the Edmonton, Canada-based developer’s structure. The other studio, BioWare Austin, is currently at work on the next hyped MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic. EA did not indicate whether Mythic’s role within the company would change or whether, the rebranding would affect Warhammer Online.
Shigeru Miyamoto is often referred to as the Godfather of gaming, a title that has come after creating some of the biggest characters in gaming, including Mario, Donkey Kong, and Link. In a Nintendo’s general shareholders meeting this week, the designer told investors he is looking to add another name to his roster.
Miyamoto was asked to share details on new projects. He replied that he hasn’t had much time to slow down and think about new projects with 3DS development ramping up. However, he has found that deadlines sometimes cause new ideas to “glitter,” so conditions might be right at the moment for something new.
“It’s been nearly 10 years since the creation of Pikmin,” Miyamoto said. “I think this coming year, it’s about time a new character be created.”
Pikmin featured a diminutive alien stranded on earth, marshalling the forces of sentient plants to help him repair his spaceship. It was famously inspired by Miyamoto’s gardening hobby at the time. Perhaps giving some clue as to his next effort, the developer said at the shareholder’s meeting that his current hobby is swimming, and it has him very active working with youth in the community.
—A new instalment in the Pikmin was talked about at a 2008 Nintendo roundtable event. At the 2010 E3 roundtable it was reported that development on the project is proceeding well, but he added he needs to finish it soon. Another unconfirmed source reported a Mid-2011 release.
Pikmin are tiny, humanoid, brightly-colored, and semi-intelligent creatures. A stalk protrudes from their head, topped by a symbol of rank: a leaf, bud, or a flower. The hero of the games, Captain Olimar commands the Pikmin to collect item and battle against the larger creatures of the planet. The advantage of Pikmin comes in numbers, as a single Pikmin can easily be defeated by a larger foe but many become unstoppable.
The original was released in December 2001 and was followed by a sequel in August 2004