An Interview with ZeniMax Online's Matt Firor

Questions by Garrett Fuller

Questions by Garrett Fuller

As gaming companies go, few are as well-known for producing
quality products as the team at Bethesda Softworks. Continuing to
produce additions to the massively popular Elder Scrolls series along
with the upcoming Fallout 3, Bethesda has a following that will
continue to purchase their games well into the future. When it was
announced that ZeniMax Media, Bethesda's parent company, had started a
online gaming studio, many Elder Scrolls fans shouted with joy. If ever
there was an opportunity for an online iteration of the Elder Scrolls
series, the arrival of this online studio, dubbed ZeniMax Online, certainly marked it. 

On top of all that, ZeniMax also announced that they had hired
a big name in the MMOG industry, Matt Firor, to head up the new studio.
Firor originally made his name in the MMOG industry as one of the
founders of Mythic Entertainment, the developers of Dark Age of
Camelot, and as a general MMOG expert. Since the Ten Ton Hammer
staffers are equally fans of the Elder Scrolls series and Dark Age of
Camelot, we had Garrett Fuller write up a series of questions for Matt
Firor to answer to sate our curiosity concerning ZeniMax Online.

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Matt Firor,
Co-Founder of Mythic and current  head of ZeniMax Online

Ten Ton Hammer: Matt, you
have a long history in the MMOG business with Mythic, what is it like
to now be working at ZeniMax?

Matt Firor:
It's a great time for me. There are only so many occasions in your
career where you get to do a project like this from the ground up, and
this is probably the most fun, most exciting time in the entire
project. Everything is possible! Seriously, we have a lot of great
ideas and are looking for the perfect team members. We can't wait to
get started with development.

Ten Ton Hammer: How has the
relationship been with ZeniMax’s parent company Bethesda?
What is it like working with such a strong game studio?

Actually it's the other way around – I know this is
confusing, so I'll spell it out. ZeniMax Media, Inc. owns Bethesda
Softworks, and it has started ZeniMax Online Studios. So think of
Bethesda and ZeniMax Online as sister companies, both under the ZeniMax
Media umbrella. Of course in terms of accomplishment, Bethesda is miles
ahead of where ZeniMax Online is right now – they have a
great track record and a very solid team – with my group I
only hope to emulate their success.

And, as I'm getting Zenimax Online off the ground, the
Bethesda guys have been fantastic – they have a lot of great
tools and procedures that I'll probably take from them, and their
leadership has been extraordinarily helpful in accepting the idea of an
MMOG studio and helping me settle in.

Ten Ton Hammer: Can you tell
us a little about the direction that ZeniMax plans to take in regards
to an MMOG? Are there any game concepts in the works already?

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ZeniMax Online
Studios Logo

I've only been on the job a little while, so we're putting our strategy
together right now. We've kicked around some concepts and ideas, but
nothing concrete yet. We'll announce those when the time is right.

Ten Ton Hammer: MMOGs
continue to rise in the gaming landscape, how do you see the industry
changing over the next few years? Where does ZeniMax fit into that

Instead of trying to “game” the market by figuring
where everything will be in a few years and develop a product that will
fit in an unused niche, we're just going to try to make the best MMOG

Ten Ton Hammer: Starting up
a new studio can take a lot of work, where are you in that process and
what goals have you set for the next few months?

I'm still going to the ZeniMax/Bethesda corporate headquarters in
Rockville, Md., every day right now, which is about an hour from my
house. Soon we'll move up to Hunt Valley, Md., where the studio will be
permanently located. We have some key staff that I've already hired,
and we're looking to build up a core team over the next few months.
That alone will be enough to keep me busy for the rest of the year.

Ten Ton Hammer is your
unofficial source of ZeniMax Online news and features!

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