Interview on Firing Squad with David Perry

Had an interview with Firing Squad.

Check it out - HERE

On Tuesday it was revealed that Dave Perry, the famed founder of Shiny Entertainment, was getting back into game development after leaving the dev studio he created back in March. The new title is something new to Perry, a free-to-play MMORPG called 2Moons that's an adaptation of a Korean title that will be published in this country by the new version of Acclaim. FiringSquad got a chance to ask both Perry and Acclaim CEO Howard Marks about 2Moons as well as other topics:

FiringSquad: First, we have to ask how does it feel to get back into game development again?

Dave Perry: Every year I get invited to some really cool events for game designers. Despite being the President of a Game Development Company for 12 years, I never completely turned to the "dark side", so the great news is that I still (today) get invited to these cool events and gatherings, not just investor meetings and executive summits. That said, people don't really know what I am... Am I a business guy? Am I a producer? Am I a designer? Heck back in the Earthworm Jim days I was a programmer too! So you can never really predict what I'll do next, unless you know me. People that know me, know I will always take on a challenge, especially if it's big and difficult. The easy path for me would have been to hire some guys, and start another small development team in the USA. That normally is the "goal", but I've done that, so now I want to try something new. Flying to the other side of the world, meeting after meeting after meeting (in a foreign language), trying to get sneak peeks at the most secret developments... I could never know what I would see next. I ended up seeing a whole new area of "game development" that in 25 years I've not yet experienced, so I feel really lucky to not just be back in development, but to also be doing something completely fresh for me.

FiringSquad: How did your idea for 2Moons come about?

Dave Perry: Ok kill me now, but I'm one of these people that just want to fire up a game and have fun. If I'm required to know the back history of 5 clans, or watch 20 minutes of cinematics, or read a website before I can have fun, it just bugs me. So I've been toying with the idea of making an MMO that's easy to get into, easy to understand, possibly funny at points, but that makes you feel bad-ass. Not wanting to wait 3 years to find out how it went, I looked for games/engines that could be a match. The closest I could find was a game called Dekaron made by GameHi in Korea. So now I had to convince the creator of that game to let me make any changes (not small ones, big ones, like "Erm... Would you mind if we changed the entire story?") They agreed! So being on a roll I made a list of "difficult requests" and flew to Korea again to explain those in person. Again, they were very receptive and are working on those. So it is true, we have a partnership, with common goals, but you won't need to wait three years for this game. With all hands on deck, we think we are about 6 months out at this point.

FiringSquad: The inital news story said that this game would be the most violent MMO on the market. Can you go into more detail on that aspect of the game?

Dave Perry: One thing that drew me to Dekaron was the almost 'arcade-style' fighting. You get big colorful numbers coming off enemies when you lay into them for example. I also (being a developer) was given a teleport system so I could visit all the lands and see the creatures. I was floored by how many creatures kept coming up, more and more aggressive. So I put my console hat on and thought if this was a console game, how could we improve the fighting beyond what is in current MMO games. I wrote down some ideas and those are now on the team's desk in Korea. (With luck they will succeed, if they do, they will break new ground in MMO fighting.)

FiringSquad: What will the fictional backstory of the game be like?

Dave Perry: To cut it really short, the story is focused on a giant Door that when opened, beasts are unleashed into the lands of Haran and kill almost everyone. Two cities remain and once you step outside, you're in ever-increasing danger. It's up to you what you do, we don't lead you. You can be a wimp and sit around town all day, or go fishing, or you can gather up some friends and just see how far you can penetrate into the unknown. You will have no idea what's coming next and you can bet it's dangerous. You and people like you must try to survive until the two moons cross, only then will Trieste - the white lady, be re-incarnated and can once more seal the gate closed with her own blood.

FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the kinds of characters you will be able to play in 2Moons?

Dave Perry: We have six classes... Warriors, Knights, Summoners, Magicians, Hunters & Healers. These characters have very different skill trees, I like the Knights, my friends are playing as Summoners (to control pets) and Hunters (for the ranged weapons).

FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the gameplay in the game? Is it action-based or quest based on something different?

Dave Perry: It's action based... You definitely spend more time fighting than exploring. There's hundreds of quests so if you're a quest junkie, then go for it.

FiringSquad: What other aspects of 2Moons will make it different than the normal MMORPG?

Dave Perry: I think one of the key things is the new model we have for paying for the game. It's completely (no nonsense) FREE. This is only possible by getting creative with some concepts. Advertising is one. Advertising in a game does not make it a FREE game, it's an Advertising game. (Like seeing commercials on TV, that's not FREE TV, you are paying by watching the adverts.) So I am going to be introducing the idea of being able to just turn off the adverts! Meaning if you HATE advertising, just turn them off! If you don't mind advertising, then just leave it on and we will reward you. (Yes, you get the game free and we reward you for leaving it on.) What more can I do? Being a Korean developer, the game also has virtual item sales, but you can sell your items also, and you can't buy anything that will hurt the balance of the game. (So if you want big devil wings, no problem.) To be clear however you don't need to buy anything to play the game. So it's going to be truly FREE.

FiringSquad: You are working with Acclaim on this title but a Korean developer is actually working on the game itself. How has it been working with Acclaim and the development team on a title, espcially one that's due for release in six months?

Dave Perry: I'm close friends with Howard Marks. He was one of the guys that brought Activision back from the dead and look at it today! Now he's back, buying the Acclaim name and URL and choosing a business model that is either extremely crazy, or extremely visionary. Acclaim is 100% dedicated to these online titles and is willing to pioneer new business models for games that regular publishers can't touch or the retailers would torture them. All I know is that FREE is hard to argue with. If you don't like a game you don't need to complain about the $60 Bucks you just spent, or have to sit on the phone for an hour trying to cancel a subscription. To be able to download a game immediately, play for as long as you like and un-install when you like, to me is the perfect business model for games. I want to be a part of helping our industry compete even harder with Television and FREE high quality games are another step in the right direction.

FiringSquad: What will the visual style of 2Moons be like and how do the graphics compare to others in the MMORPG genre?

Dave Perry: Quite a few MMORPG engines tend to be designed for minimum spec machines. This game reaches quite high, by allowing you to turn on effects like 'light blooming' by reflecting it off your armor. I'm excited by this engine as it runs amazingly on my laptop and even at 2560x1600 resolution on my desktop.

FiringSquad: The game will be free but will have in-game ads. How overt will the ads be in the game and what benefits will there be for the player if he or she chooses to turn them off?

Dave Perry: We have some innovation there also, by allowing you to scale your interest in adverts. "NONE", "OK, A FEW HERE AND THERE" and "I'M COOL WITH THEM IF I'M BEING SERIOUSLY REWARDED". So how in-your-face are we planning, like will everyone be dressed in logos? Heck no, not at all. Currently the "worst case" is a small rectangle still image in the corner of your gameplay screen. The others are built into the interface outside the game screen (like the installer.)

FiringSquad: How will directing the development of this game affect your new Gameconsultants.com job?

Dave Perry: I'm using the consultants to help, and they have already been a FANTASTIC help (thanks guys I really appreciate your help - and the Acclaim guys too!!!) On the other hand, I'm growing GAMECONSULTANTS.COM into something much bigger and I'm looking for a President to help me with that (someone extremely connected.) That should give me some more time to really focus on being allowed to wear a "developer" hat. I have more games I want to do, so time is my biggest enemy. Thanks to GAMECONSULTANTS.COM I have a virtual team of about 1,000 people I can reach for if I get stuck!

FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about 2Moons and your return to game development?

Dave Perry: I got bored waiting to see if Atari would let Shiny go, so I've moved on, rolled up my sleeves and I'm back to work! - Feel free to sign up at www.acclaim.com so you can track when our beta access becomes available. (You can help me make the game good!) And also at www.dperry.com I will try to keep my Blog updated so people can see how this process is going.

FiringSquad: Mr. Marks, how has it been working with Dave Perry on this new game?

Howard Marks: David is a true industry legend, he has written games for 25 years and sold over $1B at retail. He is also a visionary and has embraced the MMORPG culture right away. He will be bringing to the gamers a different vision for fun MMORPGs that is truly his own style. Working with him is a great opportunity that most wonâ??t have so we are really looking forward to see his creation.

FiringSquad: 2Moons is being described by Dave as the most violent MMORPG ever made. How do you feel about a game that's using that kind of content?

Howard Marks: I think that for fantasy games, violence is perceived differently than violence on humans in games. We decided to push the envelope and not fall in the trap of offering something but enough. With 2Moons we are going to make it the most violent and please gamers who have been looking for this kind of game.

FiringSquad: How hard is it getting the game ramped up for a released within six months?

Howard Marks: It is always hard to get a game out. We are signing up closed beta testers right now and we will invite them to play the game in a couple of months.

FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about 2Moons?

Howard Marks: David Perryâ??s vision on how to integrate the advertising in this free game is simply incredible. This is going to redefine how things are done in the industry. He has been pushing hard to include a mode where players can turn off the advertising. Now that is really incredible. However, the tradeoff is the loss of some of the experience you gain while playing the game but you still have the same game. Some of the advertisement opportunities in 2Moons is for advertisers to give things to players as a reward, we call it Ad Rewards, and this is also an innovation that you will see the rest of industry take hold.


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