When you first started
with 3DO back in 1998, did you ever believe that MMO games would grow
into what they’ve become today, with World of Warcraft
holding over 9 million subscriptions?

style="font-weight: bold;">Brian:
Well, ignoring the fact that it’s easy to say
now after all these years. *smiles*  But, by the time I was
working at 3DO we were already in the middle of the dot-com
It was obvious that the World Wide Web was here to stay, and there were
a number of games on the horizon that were looking promising.

I have
predicted WoW growing to 2 million North American subscribers as it did
recently?  Probably not, but few other people had predicted
either; so I do not feel too bad. *smiles*

href=""> src=""
alt="Fighting Skeletons" title="Fighting Skeletons"
name="photo_j" border="0" height="113" width="150">
A screenshot of the refurbished graphics in the current
version of Meridian 59.

Speaking of WoW, what is your opinion on what a game of this magnitude
has done to the industry – both good and bad?

style="font-weight: bold;">Brian:
Well, the good things are easy to point out.  First of all
it’s given us a fun game to play. *winks*  But,
also done so well that it has gained a lot of attention for online
games.  Given its success, it’s hard to write it off
as just
some marginal geek pursuit as people tried to do in the past. 
also showed that you can make a good game which appeals to a wider
market than we were focusing on previously.

On the negative side, it’s encouraged one of the
worst aspects
of computer game development: the focus on cloning successful
games.  Unfortunately, people look at WoW and see a successful
game they want to duplicate.  So, unfortunately, many
are just trying to duplicate the game when we already have enough of
that type of game.  There are many other types of online games
that could be made, but people are focusing on this one type because of
the astounding success of WoW.  I would really like to see
types of games!

Everyone in MMO
development, both big and small, seems keyed in on this idea of
developing “niche” games…mostly to
battle the
800-pound gorilla that is WoW. In all honesty, what does this mean? Are
we only going to be seeing unique settings or should the gameplay be
“niche” as well? Define niche for us, if you could.

style="font-weight: bold;">Brian:
Well, most developers say they are not making a clone because most of
them know that making a clone is a pretty silly thing to do. 
think that most of them try to use the excuse that they are making a
“niche” game because most games will not be able to
larger than WoW has.

means finding a small but dedicated group of people and making a game
to suit their desires directly.  Meridian 59 is a niche game
because we are focusing on hard-core PvP fans, particularly those that
like “old school” type gameplay.  There
are a group of
people out there that enjoy the game tremendously and are still willing
to pay for it.  Most of them feel that the game can offer them
something that no other game can.

is the
opposite of what most of the larger game developers try to do: they try
to make game as acceptable as possible to a wide variety of
people.  Anything that could frighten off potential players is
eliminated in order to gain as wide an audience as possible. 
is not “wrong” or “right”, but
it is a
different strategy.

problem is
that in order to properly take advantage of a niche audience, you
can’t do the same thing as the larger games.  The
way the
larger games make money is to appeal to a large audience and charge a
small amount of money to each person.  A niche game has to do
something different to make more money and stay in business.

Make sure you check out the second part of our interview with Brian "Psychochild" Green!

Do you think the future of
MMOs is in smaller, niche games? Voice your opinion on the forums!

Ten Ton Hammer is your
source for industry
interviews and discussions

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Meridian 59 Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016