The End of an Era

mythiclogo

As of this morning, the first studio I worked for – Mythic Entertainment – has been closed.   There will be plenty of poorly-informed theorizing about “what happened” in comment threads and snarky forums elsewhere, so I’m going to ignore that side of things myself and just reminisce a bit.

I was hired by Mythic in 2001, shortly before the launch of Dark Age of Camelot.  I lived in Baltimore at the time (and didn’t want to abandon my roommate), but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to “break in” to the game industry.  So I was happy to commute 100 miles a day through some of the worst traffic imaginable to make it happen.  It was sooooo worth it.

Over the years, I had the honor to work on a number of amazing games in various capacities, from the most junior gigs to leadership roles.  And it didn’t matter where you were in the company hierarchy, Mythic treated you well.  RIDICULOUSLY well.  I was amazingly lucky to get my start there and will always be thankful for the doors Mythic opened for me over the years.

A handful of small moments that stand out:

– Moving from my first “office” (a hallway alcove) to my second “office” (the broom closet where we kept the phone switch).

– Losing connectivity in the CS office if a truck parked between us and the developer office.

– Scott Jennings putting weird images on the main screen for our CS tools. Probably to entertain us, but POSSIBLY to scare us.

– The studio sending nearly the entire team to E3 every year to “work”.  By “work” they meant “stay in a fancy hotel, eat fancy food, drink fancy booze, do a single two-hour shift at the booth some time that week”.

– Related to the previous, it was like that for everyone except Sanya.  Sanya worked 48 hours a day the entire week of E3 every year.

– E3 2005 bowling shirts – the ugliest, most wonderful uniforms imaginable.

– The E3 2005 “Imperator” trailer, filled with stupid easter eggs.

– NO POPCORN ALLOWED.

– Getting to work with the Warhammer IP – a childhood dream come true.

– Traveling the world to promote Warhammer: Age of Reckoning.

– Podcasts.  SOOOO many podcasts.

– And podcast bloopers, of course.

– Almost getting killed in multiple foreign lands in the process.  And sometimes getting stuck in hedge mazes in Paris at night, trying to clean poo from your shoe.

– Speaking of almost getting killed, watching Brad Derrick compose and living to tell the tale.

Salty language.

The Hamtouchers

– Meeting fans.  Thousands and thousands of them.  Very few people – in this industry or any other – get to actively interact with the people who use and enjoy the things they make professionally.  Mythic gave me my first chance to do that and it was amazingly awesome.

The Squig cake

– Blurting out an inappropriate joke on-stage with your boss’s boss while trying to kill time during an A/V problem.

The Age of Rockening

Hobopolis Prime

Somewhere in there, we also launched a game or two and some expansions.   But Mythic, for me, was more than a collection of software products we released.  It was a mad collection of lives – developers and fans alike – experiencing ups and downs together and building great things in the process.  It was experiences shared, adventures survived and lives intermingled in a way that – I feel I can safely say – changed us all for the better.

I left Mythic years ago, but it always felt like “home”.  I will be immeasurably sad to see it go.

 

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