Perpetual Entertainment has laid off between 30-40 people and reassigned several more, as they restructure the development team in advance of their new early 2008 target release date.
“We’ve never set an official launch date for Gods and Heroes,” Co-Founder Chris McKibbin told us. “Driving to the fall, that’s been our goal.”
For the last several weeks, Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising had been in Closed Beta testing. While it is, according to Perpetual, content complete, they felt it needed more polish before it goes to market. “Our feeling was driving hard to make a fall launch would lead to less than high quality results and we’ve seen that in other launches,” he said. “We’ve made the decision to give the game more time. What we really want to do is to deliver a polished and high-quality game.”
The moves were born out of their desire to switch focus to a less specialized development team that he believes will be able to act with more agility on the feedback of the player base. The current marketplace demands high-quality, huge MMOGs and to achieve that they required many specialists who performed very specific functions. That kind of set-up is not perfectly suited to MMOGs in this phase of development.
“Your focus during that time is almost entirely reactive to what players want,” McKibbin said of the late beta and post-launch period. There, it’s about fixing things and adding things players request.
We asked why other MMOG companies do not often make such large changes just prior to launch. “I honestly think it represents where the industry is going,” he said. “MMOs are just getting bigger and bigger, and the quality bar is getting higher and higher. So the team needed at certain points in that processes is also getting bigger and more specialized. So I think it requires a different team operating through the beta and into launch.”
McKibbin added that Perpetual will provide dedicated placement help to ensure that all of those who leave the company receive dedicated placement help to ensure that they get good new jobs in a timely manner.
He explained that they need a team that can look at the game as a whole and not just those specific parts.
“This does not change the drive to quality and focus, [the changes are] part and parcel of getting there.”