Earlier this week, NCSoft announced that they would cease operation of Auto Assault on August 31st, 2007 and we then spoke to David Swofford about the announcement. Now, in an exclusive interview with NetDevil CEO Scott Brown we learn that the developer has no plans to purchase the game back from its publisher, which effectively spells an end to Auto Assault.

Auto Assault Closure: NetDevil Reacts
Based on interview with Scott Brown (CEO, NetDevil)
Article by Dana Massey

NetDevil has no plans to salvage their automobile MMORPG Auto Assault, according to CEO Scott Brown. Publisher NCSoft announced early this week that after an inglorious year and four months of commercial service they will close the doors on August 31st of this year.

“We talked about it and sort of left it where it is,” Brown told WarCry in a phone interview late Thursday. “We just couldn’t come to an agreement.”

NCSoft owns the intellectual property that is Auto Assault. This means they own the name, the story, the idea, the art and anything that directly relates to the game. The code-base and engine that power the game remain the property of NetDevil.

“We are certainly looking at other ways we can use what we do own,” Brown added.

Brown added that no jobs would be lost as a result of NCSoft’s decision. NetDevil still has Jumpgate in active service and development continues on an update. They’re also working on LEGO Universe and Warmonger. Nonetheless, the Colorado based developer put a lot of time into the project.

“We poured our life into that thing,” Brown admitted. “We thought it was a cool idea… for whatever reason it didn’t take.”

The experience did provide them with a wealth of lessons that Brown believes can only help its future projects.

“[Good development] is focusing on a few things and getting them until [they’re] great,” he told us. He admitted that with Auto Assault they tried to do a lot of systems and then improved them slowly over time. In future projects, they’re going to focus in on each system and make it hum before they move on. For him, this is the key to development, especially on the scale of MMOs.

He also mentioned that the company bares no ill-will towards their former publisher NCSoft. There simply wasn’t a market for the project and if the chance arose, NetDevil would work with NCSoft again.

However, another lesson NetDevil took from Auto Assault is how to better work that kind of relationship. In future developer-publisher agreements they’ll ensure that both parties have the proper incentives that make the project work.

Brown’s comments appear to dash any last hope that Auto Assault could be saved. It will close its doors permanently at the end of August.

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