Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Creative Director Paul Barnett says online games are "corrupting" and "cancerous," but he means it in the nicest way possible.
Speaking at the Develop Online conference, Barnett said he discouraged members of his development team from playing Blizzard's hugely successful World of Warcraft, which he described as "flawed genius," because it would have too much impact on the development process of their own MMOG.
"When you dismantle [other games] you can never be sure whether you get genius or flaw," he said. "The reason I don't play other online games is that they're corrupting, they are cancerous, they change the way you think."
Describing the effort it took to establish a quest structure in Warhammer Online that wasn't based on the World of Warcraft model, he said, "That one change took three months of meetings, because the people I was up against were corrupted by the gaming experiences they'd had. They weren't capable of thinking sideways because they knew the answer, and it worked, and resulted in a game that is very successful."
"You can't be the Beatles," he added. "If you try and be the Beatles, you'll end up as the Monkees."
Barnett also took pains to explain the numerous delays that have plagued the game, and offer assurances that the game is almost ready. "We're nearly there, God help us, the fifth time we schedule it, it's going to work," he said. "Lesson one: Don't trust your schedulers. Add more time."
And in a moment of unusual candor, he admitted, "When we launch these games, we can't schedule for shit."