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Mythic's Paul Barnett on believers and heretics

James Egan

Paul Barnett, the Creative Director at Mythic Entertainment, is not a man who minces his words, particularly when it comes to Warhammer Online. We covered how Barnett envisions Warhammer Online being free of the 'corruptive' influences of World of Warcraft. Gamasutra expanded on Barnett's talk at the Develop Conference and Expo in Brighton, distilling other aspects of the speech down to his top lessons learned. Barnett emphasized the importance of simplicity in game design, citing other titles that became mired in complexity. "People like the illusion of choice... they like a long menu at a restaurant despite the fact they will always order from the same three things," he said.

On the topic of having a singular vision, given the time and cost involved, he stressed that game developers tend to fall into two camps: heretics and believers. Mythic hasn't "got time for people who have no morale or don't think we're going to succeed, and mess around in palace intrigue. Heretics must be burned publicly. It doesn't matter how talented they are. If they're a heretic, they go, because cancer spreads." Conversely, he stated his preference to hire less-talented 'believers' with intense drive over those talented 'heretics' whose skills come with limitations. Have a look at the Gamasutra piece for more of Barnett's views on game design and a little more of what we can expect from Warhammer Online. Some of his ideas are bold and intended to stir up controversy, but the man definitely has some memorable lines.

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