chance meeting with Petroglyph Co-Founder Mike Legg made me feel a
lot better about liking what I saw of Mytheon
at GDC 2011. More than any other developer I’ve ever met,
Mike personifies absolute, unwavering enthusiasm – like some
happy marriage between a first-rate development mind, a smiley face,
and an espresso bean.
That’s part of the reason we were, subjectively speaking, so
entirely galled when True
Games Interactive sued Petroglyph
to regain development rights to Mytheon
just weeks before release. Since I’d played
months before the ugliness and found it (to my admittedly
para-professional eye) far more stable and bug-free than most other
games in a similar state of development, it appeared to me that this
was publisher villainy of the ugliest kind… like corporate
thieves using a loose contract as a tommy gun and threatened legal
action as the getaway car.
Whether this was the case or not, we’ll probably never know.
Both UTV and Petroglyph are anxious to leave all the drama in their
rear-view mirror. I thought I could catch Mike off-guard with news of Mytheon’s
launch filling the airwaves, but I was wrong. “We have a lot
of love for that game,” he said, not missing a beat.
“I really, really hope they do well with it.” No
matter who makes money from Mytheon
if it was developed with that kind of fellow-feeling for gamers, maybe
it can’t go far wrong.
We liked Mytheon
when we played last year and, thankfully, virtually all of
Petroglyph’s work has been preserved. Producer Keren
Kang led us through the basics – the Greco-Roman mythology,
the instance-based maps centered on the player city of Argos that
require no overland travel, and the powerstones that cast spells or
summon temporary minions.
Players assemble a set of these powerstones, with more slots becoming
available as players level up (to a maximum 4 rows of stones at level
30). Crafting is a big part of the game as well, as well as showdowns
with the gods. Karen showed us a bit of the boss fight with Hephaestus
who, as armorer of the gods, uses some of the other gods’
weapons against us.
But several Mytheon
features at launch went beyond our beta-based understanding of the game
from last fall. First, Karen noted that Mytheon
would encompass not only Classical mythology, but also that of Egypt,
the Norse countries, even Chinese and Korean myth and many more
countries. This all fits into UTV’s global plans for the
game. To underscore Mytheon’s
reach, Karen hinted at Zeus and Ra teaming up in one of the final
scenes of the game.
Another change: the game’s 200+ stones now have a vanity cam
that allows players to have an up-close look at their stone-based
creatures and character effects. It’s a nice way to cement
the investment you made in your stones, since stone bundles, gear, and
potions are available with Mytheon
coins purchased in the RMT store. Unfortunately, the game is still
fairly vampirical when it comes to potions- health and mana
won’t automagically regen except at special limited-use
That said, several rule changes went into effect that favor players.
First, every map will have a stone customization area where players can
freely customize their stone battle set. Second, players can reshuffle
their 6-stone sets up to three times per map. As a result, players no
longer have to waste stones, wait, and then draw new ones at random
when, on approaching a boss, you find your current stone set inadequate.
Finally, Karen explained that stones now have set bonuses. If a player
should have all four minotaurs in his or her stone set, for example,
and have the extreme luck to draw them all at once, then the Minotaurs
will assemble themselves into a sort-of Minotaur Voltron. Stone set
bonuses add another interesting dimension to the CCG-esque fun that is
stone set construction.
Unlike other every other title we previewed at GDC 2011, Mytheon
is ready to play today. Head to http://www.mytheongame.com
and download the game for free if you’re interested, and
thanks to Karen Kang for casting the first stones for us at GDC 2011.