Blacksmiths of Intellectual Property: The Rise of Originality in MMOs

Updated Mon, Jun 15, 2009 by Cody Bye

Over the last half decade, gamers have been forced to wander through familiar worlds and universes. Studios have been licensing IPs left and right, grabbing everything from the Wheel of Time to Star Trek. Originality seemed to be a lost art, and although these worlds were fun to adventure in, many didn't hold the same sort of magical spell that original titles like EverQuest or Dark Age of Camelot once enjoyed.

But change is coming. Blizzard Entertainment unveiled that their next MMO would be an original IP, and this year's E3 lineup featured more brand new games than titles derived from existing worlds. So why the sudden shift?

To answer that question, Ten Ton Hammer's Cody "Micajah" Bye sent a number of questions to original IP development teams across the world. The Ten Ton Hammer staff also took the time to ask you - the MMO gamer - what your thoughts were on original IPs, and what they would mean for your gaming experience.

Nathan Knaack, a writer for Hi-Rez Studios' upcoming shooter-MMO Global Agenda, hit this point squarely on the head. "From the very beginning, Hi-Rez Studios knew it would be creating and developing its own intellectual property from scratch,” he said. “Our Lead Designer, Erez Goren, a big fan of MMOs, funded the studio because he saw an opportunity to introduce a different type of online experience and this vision included the creation of an original world. Purchasing an existing IP would have significantly inhibited our creative process."

Ten Ton Hammer Premium Members get first crack at the article, but the public will be allowed to view it on Monday, June 8th. If you can't wait, make sure you sign up to be a Premium Member today!

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