Ensemble Goes MMO

Ensemble Talks MMO Plans on Next Generation concludes their whirlwind tour of Dallas by talking with Ensemble Studios, learning from executive producer Patrick Hudson that the developer is investigating expansion into the massively multiplayer marketplace, though nothing is certain at this point:
The idea was proposed to Ensemble right after Ultima Online came out. 'Why don't we do an MMO?' At the time, Ensemble was in no position to be thinking about it. But Fischer persisted ever since.

"After we shipped Age III," Hudson says, "We started diving up the studio to do more games than we've ever done, and get beyond Age of Empires." A small team was put around Fischer to start working on a prototype.

"And that's where those guys still are." Hudson says. "A pretty small group, just noodling away on ideas, a long way away from anything substantive and shipping anything, that's for sure. But it's fun to explore."

"It's always been a risky kind of market to look at." Hudson admits. "And then you see WoW come out, and turn the industry on its head, and you start to reevaluate. 'Wait a minute, there's a true business case out for a game like this.'"

"Maybe it's not crazy to go spend thirty or forty million bucks to actually make one of these things." Hudson points out, "At some point, they'll get tired of WoW and want to play something else."

"We haven't settled on anything," Hudson cautions. "It's safe to say we won't be chasing the fantasy genre. It seems like there are so many coming out. [We're] still pretty far out from even thinking of taking that prototype to a greenlight phase."

As for monthly subscription fees: "Yeah, I think that's the business model we mostly believe in," Hudson says. "There could be things that come along and change our mind, but there's a lot of people trying different things... If anything, WoW is charging too little, not too much."
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Why does everyone think the industry suddenly went ape over mmo's because of Wow? They went ape over them when EQ came out and Wow was just another me to game that hit the right vein. I guess Wow did show that done right they can turn over some cash, but It seems to me there's only been a small spike of mmo announcements after Wow and still less than before. Short memory spans, jeez.

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