MS: I completely agree! The old model of $50 boxes, huge development teams, huge budgets, and long development schedules has resulted in market stagnation, a lack of innovation, no risk-taking, and has really been an anchor on the PC game industry as a whole. The only rational response is a new approach to the market, and real innovation usually comes from the indie community. Having a small, tight Mythos development team has been a great experience for all of us.
GR: The RPG formula seems to be in a state of flux at the moment. We still have the traditional MMOs and Japanese-style single-player epics, but genre boundaries seem to be starting to blur. Shooters like Bioshock and Huxley are taking on RPG-like elements, GTA IV could almost be construed as an action RPG in a lot of ways and Fallout 3 is looking like a very interesting hybrid indeed. Do you see this trend continuing until the genre becomes much less definable, or will it always stand apart as a game style all of its own?
MS: I think the RPG umbrella should be considered broad and expansive. One of the reasons we made Diablo back in the day was the feeling that RPGs were too narrowly defined, and they began to appeal to a smaller and smaller niche of hardcore, stat-obsessed RPG orthodoxy. We just wanted to whack skeletons with clubs and find cool loot.
The internet has turned all gaming into a more social experience, and people are able to create and grow online personas for everything from WoW type games to golf games. We think this is great – terms like RPG are just labels used for easy categorization. We should think of RPGs as a full continuum of possibilities, not isolated archetypes to which each game must adhere.
GR: How healthy do you think the RPG scene is these days? Is anything within it particularly promising or worrying to you?
MS: I think RPG gaming is here to stay. Right now there’s a lull in the PC market as a whole, which is, I believe due to the stagnant, onerous business models used commonly in the US/EU. In Asia, PC gaming is booming, and they’ve adjusted much better to the demands of the market. While the quality of the product created in the US/EU is still the best in the world, we have a lot to learn about how to quickly and efficiently deliver this product to customers.
GR: Mythos is a game that's taken a very interesting route into a very competitive market. What do you see it having achieved in a few years time?
MS: Our greatest satisfaction comes from people playing and enjoying our games. If we have a large, happy gaming community, that’s literally all we can ask for. The risks we’re taking, we feel, only increase our chances of accomplishing that goal.