|MacSoft Talks Age of Mythology|
August 4, 2003 | Tuncer Deniz
MacSoft is on a roll. After having successfully shipped Unreal Tournament and Neverwinter Nights, the company today announced Age of Mythology for the Mac. IMG recently caught up with MacSoft's Al Schilling to talk about their latest title, and to get updates on Halo, NWN, and more.
IMG: MacSoft just announced Age of Mythology for the Macintosh. This is from the same group that created Age of Empires II. Can you tell us a bit more about the game? What's cool about it?
Al Schilling: I think Age of Mythology is going to be a huge hit with Mac users. The powers of Greek, Norse, and Roman gods-Cyclopes, minotaurs and other mythological creatures; an incredible single-player campaign; great multi-player. To all that, add a game engine that allows for incredible graphics in an RTS. The PC developer, Ensemble Studios, is already very well known for Age of Empires and Age of Kings. After 2 years, Age of Kings is still a top-10 selling Mac game. This says a lot for the quality of work that Ensemble does. Age of Mythology takes the RTS to
the next level.
IMG: Age of Mythology is scheduled to ship in October. Do you think you'll be able to make the ship date? And will there be a demo?
Al Schilling: We're very confident with the October ship date. Westlake has been working on this title for some time and its looking very good. Odds are good for a demo.
IMG: MacSoft just shipped Neverwinter Nights for the Macintosh. How do you feel about the release of NWN?
Al Schilling: Ecstatic and relieved. Neverwinter Nights is an incredible game and we're really happy that we've finally been able to get it into the hands of Mac users. As most of your readers are aware, while NWN was in development, MacSoft was going through some big changes. Thankfully, the team at Bioware really stuck with us throughout, and the development of NWN continued unabated while MacSoft was changing hands. Although the approval process caused me to lose a great deal of hair, I get a warm fuzzy feeling looking at the NWN Mac box now sitting on my desk. NWN is the greatest D&D experience ever available on the Mac platform. I think people are really going to fall in love with this game.
IMG: Recently MacSoft released two tech demos: Unreal Tournament 2003 and Neverwinter Nights. How has that worked out for MacSoft? Did users send in a lot of feedback? Will this be a continuing trend for MacSoft?
Al Schilling: We didn't get as much feedback as we expected. However, I think this is due in large part to the quality of the demos. Even though we referred to them as "tech demos", they had undergone a lot of testing and we were very confident in their quality. Given that both of these titles (especially UT03) push the Apple hardware pretty hard, we were happy to give potential buyers the ability to actually run the engines on their machines and determine whether, or not, the gameplay is acceptable to them. Whether we do this with future titles will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
IMG: Ever since Destineer bought MacSoft from Infogrammes, MacSoft has released a steady stream of AAA titles and has really made an impressive comeback as one of the premier Macintosh gaming publishers. Having been through the ups and downs at MacSoft, how has it been for you?
Al Schilling: After a very frustrating year, it sure feels good to be fighting without one hand tied behind my back. Having been with MacSoft while we went from being a tiny little publisher to becoming the largest Macintosh consumer software publisher in the world, it really pained me to watch our production drop off as dramatically as it did in 2002. However, even when things seemed bleak, I was confident that we'd find a way to come back. With Peter Tamte back at the helm, we're once again able to operate in the aggressive and dynamic manner that brought us all of our success. Although my work hours have about doubled recently, I couldn't be happier about where MacSoft is today and where we're heading tomorrow.