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Sections: Mythica Interview
with Hal Milton


Mythica is the Norse themed MMO Game in development by Microsoft. Interrupting Hal Milton during crunch time, he took time out of his extremely hectic and busy schedule to talk with us about the game many of us have been looking forward to.

Interview: Hal Milton from Mythica - Div Devlin (09-18-03)

We appreciate the time you are taking out of the games development schedule to talk with us, for the one or two folks who do not know who you are, could you introduce yourself to everyone, and what it is you do within Mythica?

I'm a game designer on the project. Up until our recent addition of the amazingly talented™ Ben Hogue I was also acting as the lead audio designer. I've been working on a number of system designs, story design and a whole lot of in-between.

Metal or Grunge? Favorite Band?

As a musician, I can't really pick a genre or band. A cop out? Yes. But if you ever sat in my office as I worked you'd probably hear what I mean. From Don Caballero, to De La Soul, to Medeski, Martin & Wood to Radiohead, to Tool, to Michael Hedges, to the Roots, to ISP, to Django, to the Fading Collection…aww who cares what I listen to anyway? I'm a game developer; my opinion on any aspect of non-nerd style should be highly suspect…

Maybe if Mythica was a Dancing Game I'd have more on this. ;-)

What kind of ride? VW Bug or Porsche?

A pimpin' 1990 Toyota Corolla. The rusting sez, “Quality!”.

Six degrees of separation... We hear that saying often enough in daily life. It was such a popular idea at one time that it gave rise to the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. If you consider that Raph Koster is in some circles considered to be the granddaddy of MMOG's, how would you tie back to him with the lowest number of degrees of separation?

1 - I worked with Raph on a couple of projects. However, I'm certain he'd take exception to being called a granddaddy, he'd probably prefer that gentrifying term be applied to Mr. Bartle. :-)

What would the primary focus within Mythica be based upon, individual player's, tribes or player starting villages, or clans and guilds?

An interesting question…Mythica is focused on delivering a game play experience with tight story, action, adventure, and other components within the context of our Private and Public realms. Our private realms are where we are putting the most energy. These spaces will allow folks to adventure in areas that feel and act as deep as a traditional single or limited multiplayer RPGs.

That being said, Mythica is further focused on delivering deep group PVE play within these spaces while still maintaining hooks for those of us who prefer to solo our way through the world.

Players will march down the long road to achieving their Godhood, experiencing story and unique content along the way. They'll gather followers who will increase their power, provide goods and services, and give a different perspective on the world story as well as a host of other elements we'll reveal over time.

Cooperation, collaborative skills, energy sharing, and perception sharing…I'm not really allowed to speak about any more of our plans until the AutoMuzzle 3000 comes off.

What role or how important is social interaction within Mythica? Will solo and casual gamers be able to enjoy the game and will it be playable if they run alone?

We're nesting an individual player story arc throughout our worlds that should make the MMP lone wolves out there happy. However, as with all things, life is easier with help. Not to say you can't go it alone, and we're making sure there's always something for the casual and solo player to do (you can to come in for thirty minutes, accomplish something, then log out)…just don't expect to rocket through all our content as quickly by yourself.

As godlike beings, will players be required to have their avatars to "rest" to recuperate after combat?

Being an immortal doesn't mean you're invincible. It's difficult to sustain the energies that make our immortals manifest on the mortal planes. Expending that energy with skills, in combat, etc. takes a lot out of you.

All gods need worshippers. As a player progresses in levels, will they gain worshippers and increase their spheres of influence as divine beings, so that if they aspire to it, they could in effect replace old one-eye?

I think Odin would punch you in the neck until you were powder if you ever tried to replace him.

However, gathering mortal followers is critical to our Immortals. Followers provide power, abilities, and other assets our immortals care about deeply.

We have some other plans for ranks, titles, and other fun we'll be streaming out to everyone over time.

How immersive will the back-story be, and are there plans to have ongoing storylines or feature events to drive the game forward in that require a player to keep in the 'Norse mindset'?

We are revving a quite ambitious story that will hopefully keep the players engaged in a number of ways. Ongoing stories and intrigues should keep things interesting with other events filling in the gaps.

The back story that we're slowly unveiling will cover the three thousand years that passed before the player entered the world.

As gods, will they be able to craft or will there be any type of crafting system in place, so that they can further player developed storylines?

Yes and Yes. Immortal Crafting is less about you hitting a rock for eight hours and more about collecting the Human, Alfar, and Dvergar followers who can provide the raw, refined, and finished resources you craft into something beyond their collective abilities (well, maybe not greater than some of the elder Dvergar). Of course, some resources are only attainable by powerful immortals willing to face unspeakable horrors in regions no mortal can tread…so, dedicated crafters not keen on a bit of the old ultra-violence will need to forge relationships with others to get their hands on the goodies.

What would be the main inspiration behind the development of the games overall theme?

Mythica is a game that seeks to eventually connect the various mythologies from around the world into a celestial playground of epic proportions.

Beginning our drive towards this ambitious goal with the Norse made the most sense. This allowed us to introduce our universe in the most familiar way possible. A majority of fantasy lore has been stolen/mutated from the rich imagination found in the Norse mythos and sagas.

Besides, few mythologies have the raw energy, spirit, and immediacy of the Norse. It's why it has resonated with so many for so long.

We know that developers like to make the development cycle last long because they are having too much fun enjoying the games to themselves, selfishness is wrong. How does everyone get into beta? now!?

Well, I find that a large offer of untraceable precious metals assists greatly in loosening the beta restrictions.

I'd recommend that, if folks haven't already, they should sign up for our newsletter to stay as up to date as possible.

Care to cover anything we missed?

Just a reminder that over the coming months we're going to be unveiling a wealth of information regarding our worlds, the Gods you can serve, the mechanics you can enjoy, the story you'll be a part of, and the mortal followers whose prayers you'll answer.

Where can folks learn more about Mythica and when can we run to the store and get our copy?

Well, hopefully they're learning more about Mythica here! J

Of course, our website is up and is being updated routinely with new stuff at www.mythica.com , and there are a number of fansites cropping up as well (MythicaHQ and MythicaRealms being the early adopters of the group, but more are showing up all the time). As far as running to the store to pick it up…

Look for Mythica sometime in 2004!
This automatically generated ship date message brought to you by the AutoMuzzle 3000.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!

No problem…now, back I go to the grindstone.

A thanks to Hal Milton from Mythica for talking with us, be sure to check out the official website to learn more about Mythica!

Discuss: I am not a fallen gawd!

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