Warhammer Online Interview: Josh Drescher

Written by Joe Martin

May 9, 2008 | 11:47

Tags: #40k #dark-age-of-camelot #dawn-of-war #interview #joe-martin #mmorpg #soulstorm

Companies: #electronic-arts

BT: Now, I may as well come out and confess right now that I’m not a huge tabletop gamer.

JD: That’s fine, you don’t need that knowledge to play the game.

BT: How closely does the game resemble the tabletop origins then?

JD: In terms of rule sets? Almost not at all. The best way to look at it is that Warhammer is Batman. It’s an idea, not any specific iteration of that idea. If you think of the Batman character then you’ve got Adam West in the 1960s as the funny Batman, Christian Bale as the new grim and angry Batman and you’ve got all the different toys, comic books, movies and stories.

So, each one is very different, but each one has the same kind of stuff in it. Guy sees his parents get killed, wears a cape, fights crime, has a butler, and has a car.

BT: I always preferred the X-men over Batman.

Warhammer Online Interview: Josh Drescher The Effects of Piracy

JD: Well, either way you always have this core kind of sensibility for the franchise, but different implementations and iterations every time. So, while we do draw inspiration from the tabletop, we also look at what other people have done in other areas.

We’re not just making a tabletop MMO here. I mean, yes, it will be familiar to players who love the tabletop, but it won’t be identical. We drew from the original game, but also from the graphic novels and the Warhammer books and a load of the other PC Warhammer games. Plus a whole load of completely unrelated places.

BT: So, speaking of other Warhammer games, did you know about Iron Lore shutting down? Their last game was the Warhammer 40K Dawn of War: Soulstorm expansion and the company said that piracy played a big part in their closure.

JD: Yeah, well if I’m honest then piracy is the number one concern for a PC gaming developer.

BT: You think it’s putting off a lot of PC developers and driving them to consoles?

Warhammer Online Interview: Josh Drescher The Effects of Piracy

JD: I think that in other genres, yes. Luckily, as an MMO we’re largely insulated from all that because of our model. It’s impossible for a player to pirate our game and, even if they did, then it’d be them alone in their basement. For our game to make sense you need thousands of players all playing together on a massive architecture.

As a result, we’re very attracted to Asian markets along with Russia and China – places where piracy is everywhere. Piracy is just a pandemic there. So, while we’re very worried about it, it doesn’t really affect us as much.

Obviously, I can’t speak for other developers like Iron Lore. But, y’know I had friends who worked there and we tried to bring a load of them over to us when they closed. If they say piracy was a problem for them then I absolutely believe them. Piracy is why we see so many samey shooters.
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