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Mytheon First Impressions from GDC 2011

Updated Fri, Mar 11, 2011 by Ethec

A 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 Mytheon 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.

mytheon

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.

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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 shrines.

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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.

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Mytheon_22111_1
A 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 Mytheon 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.
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