'You can't be the Beatles. If you try and be the Beatles, you'll end up as the Monkees.'
Eurogamer.net has provided details of Warhammer Online creative director Paul Barnett's words at the Develop Online conference, which took place recently in Brighton, England. Poking self-depracating fun at the rather slippery launch date for Warhammer Online - 'God help us, the fifth time we schedule it it's going to work' - Barnett also stressed how unlike WoW the project is, and how developers were actively discouraged from playing it so as to keep them from being influenced.
Barnett refers to WoW as a 'corrupting' influence upon original design, citing his own experiences in which he had to persuade fellow designers away from a quest structure that was too much like that in the other game. The designers had become trapped in a tried and tested structure that 'worked', and had to be talked out of it. Barnett's candid observations culminate in a wry comparison between the gaming industry and the music industry. Trying to emulate the market leader, he suggests, is a mistake; a mistake summed up perfectly by the opening quote.
While this will no doubt raise hackles among those who believe WoW is some sort of Platonic ideal among MMOs to which all other MMOs aspire, it's a breath of fresh air for those who are looking forward to something mouldbreaking.