38 Studios: The New ION Storm?

Okay, this is nothing but pure speculation and whimsy, but it’s been floating around in my head and I want to get it out there.

I’m starting to get the feeling that 38 Studios, Curt Schilling and the super-duper top secret Copernicus MMO is taking the route of John Romero and ION Storm.  It’s not a perfect analogy, but every time I see people gushing over the possibilities and potential for this project, it’s always to do with the people associated with the game — a cult of personality, per se.  Romero proved that you could assemble a wealth of talent, have the backing of the Monopoly Uncle Moneybags’ deep pockets, and turn out a dud after years of hyping things up.

I just feel no excitement about 38 Studios at all.  They haven’t proved anything at this point, or really shown anything.  I think that some people are reluctant to look at them with a critical eye because, hey, TALENT!  MONEY!  A famous PITCHER!

I kind of don’t get why everyone’s falling over their feet for a game that hasn’t been shown, talked about or proven in any way — and I’m a little concerned it might evaporate the same way that ION Storm did.

14 thoughts on “38 Studios: The New ION Storm?

  1. I tend to agree. It was interesting at first, but they have released no information at all. Hopefully they bring something to market, but it isn’t looking promising so far.

  2. Sometimes it’s better to know nothing at all than face an ugly truth. I was pretty pumped for WH40K and then I saw the video, which actually wasn’t half bad, except, you know, the game is set to release in THREE YEARS!!!

    They’re making a game that’s using 2008 technology and mechanics and releasing it about 5 years too late imho…

    With no release date set in stone, it’s probably better for 38 Studios to keep a lid on it imho.

  3. Its because of RA Salvatore and Todd McFarlane. Don’t you like Spawn and Drizzt Do’Urden?

  4. I agree. Sure, I’m interested, but mostly because of Salvatore. Everything else is purely speculation, and I’m getting really tired of the hype machines. 38 Studios has taken this a bit too far – hyping not a game, but their studio.

    Get with it, show us a product, and then I’ll start to get excited.

    As soon as I see *anything* stating that Schilling wants to make me his…anything…I’m running, fast.

  5. This is true of Ion Storm’s Dallas office. They were a total train wreck.

    Luckily, their Austin studio was able to put out some great games – Deus Ex and Thief: Deadly Shadows.

  6. I’m not falling for it. I do get excited about the EQ2 talent on board, but when it comes down to it, EQ2 wasn’t a huge hit. I wasn’t a big RA Salvatore fan, nor a Todd McFarlane fan, and I don’t follow baseball (sorry) (and where I live, it’s safest to root for the Yankees, anyway).

    But… right now… and I’d love to be proven wrong… this is looking like a Vanguard.

  7. You do realize Ion Storm gave us two of the greatest PC games, Deus Ex & Thief. Then one pretty good game, Anachronox. One horrible game, Daikatana.

    So maybe you’re actually trying to say you think Copernicus = Daikatana? Because being ION Storm wouldn’t be so bad otherwise.

  8. I have similar concerns. I was thinking about their Copernicus just a few days ago, wondering if it’s vaporware at this point or if they are just *really* tight lipped.

    The whole “we have Salvatore to write” angle doesn’t do nearly as much for me in the “buzz” department as all the cool *game design* goodness we see from the Guild Wars 2 team. Sure, I’d like to pat those devs on the back, but ultimately, it’s all about the *game* for me, not the dudes making it.

  9. I think any gushing about any unreleased MMO amounts to hype. How many companies in MMO-space have proven themselves capable of making great MMO’s? Blizzard, and maybe CCP. How about good MMO’s? Turbine, Mythic, SOE, and whoever makes guild wars.

    Unbridled hope about any MMO produced by any company not listed above is hype. That certainly includes 38 studios, but it also includes BioWare, Funcom, and Square-Enix.

  10. Ion Storm’s problems were not really over-hyped games. Ion Storm’s problems were spending huge gobs of money on things like penthouse offices and robotic arms to track the sun (to reduce monitor glare from the big windows in said offices). Not to mention holding parties at any excuse.

    John Romero is a decent guy and a good game designer who let the rock star image go to his head. He got used to the Ferrari + rocketship rewards at ID Software and then thought he could do that with advances from publishers. Counting chickens before they hatch and all that.

    People just love to see someone fall, so his reputation went into the dust.

    38 Studios may come up with nada, but if it does they’ll have their own reasons for failure.

  11. We’ll see. I’ve read that 38 Studios had some problems in the beginning because Schilling was trying to negotiate hard in business deals when the company really didn’t have the position to negotiate so hard. I remember reading that they did come to an agreement with EA to publish a console RPG. I suspect that they hope to use money from that deal to fund the MMO.

    As a developer, I sympathize with their situation. It’s a careful balance between engaging in too much hype and getting ignored. Hyping the company makes some sense; this is one thing that Bioware discusses they did in the past, and it helped them get known more than just their names. A lot of times publishers will be stingy with giving developers credit, so Bioware spent some of their money marketing their company. Generating interest usually makes it easier to make business deals. If you’re a relative nobody (Curt Schilling has no reputation for making games) with an unannounced game, nobody is going to want to give you a deal.

    We’ll see. Perhaps they did hype too early, but all can be forgiven if they deliver a kick-ass game. 🙂

  12. I can see where you’re coming from but the big difference is that Ion Storm proved to be a flop yet 38 Studios haven’t even released anything yet. In fact, they’re also being modest and wise by keeping it under wraps so they don’t get everything over hyped.

    For me the proof will be when the game actually comes out 🙂

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