A Massively interview with Cryptic's Bill Roper and Jack Emmert

Kyle Horner
K. Horner|03.31.10

Sponsored Links

A Massively interview with Cryptic's Bill Roper and Jack Emmert
As promised after yesterday's Cryptic Studios news, today we have an interview with the developer's new Chief Operations Officer Jack Emmert and Chief Creative Officer Bill Roper. If you're wondering exactly what these new titles mean and what Jack and Bill have planned for the future of both Champions Online and Star Trek Online, you'll definitely want to check this one out.

Massively: When did the move to Chief Creative Officer occur and what's your overall job like now compared to your previous position as Executive Producer?

Bill Roper: When Jack took on more COO responsibilities, he wanted someone who could spend more specialized, day-to-day time with the teams. For the past month I've been working with the Executive Producers and various leads within those teams to provide design, support, and guidance as requested. I'm also a liaison between the teams and the executives supporting and helping represent their individual game visions. I assist in coordinating systems and content concepts and technologies between the teams while being involved in their top-level design. Shifting from the very focused day-to-day duties on Champions Online to a broader role is a rejuvenating new challenge, and the teams have really welcomed me on. I'm not coming in with "the word from above" that must be followed. I'm here to support the vision keepers and creators of each game – to be a sounding board for ideas and a source of creative energy they can tap into.

"Revelation shows a huge step in the right direction, and it's only the beginning of what you'll see from all of our games in the future."

What are the challenges of looking after multiple projects instead of just one?

Bill Roper: Cryptic is evolving as a company, and that is good news to our teams and our players. Our games haven't been perfect, and we've taken strides to own our issues and have made a true call-to-action to address them. We have new development processes, new design principles, and a revitalized and renewed dedication to staying in very direct contact with our players. Both Jack and I take a lot of heat when the games don't meet the expectations of our community. We're both driven to make Cryptic a respected studio with a real focus on game quality and community interaction. I've said it time and again, but it bears repeating – the teams here at Cryptic are amongst the best I've worked with and their ability to create content is second to none. We're now making real changes on how we approach quality and scope to maximize their amazing efforts. Revelation shows a huge step in the right direction, and it's only the beginning of what you'll see from all of our games in the future. I'm excited to work with all of the teams to do whatever I can to keep us on the right track.

As a videogame fan and CCO, what deficiencies do you see in the greater MMO industry that could be improved upon?

Bill Roper: To be perfectly blunt, we need to stop trying to make World of Warcraft in 25% of the time with 10% of the budget. There are very, *very* few companies that can even attempt to match the resources that were poured into WoW before launch, and if you then add on the 5 years of development since that time, it's an impossible task. And as a player, I do my best to look at each game as a single entity, to stand or fall on its own merits. As developers, we've seen some big budget MMOs with long development cycles come out and then drop off the radar frighteningly fast. Unless a company has the intestinal and fiscal fortitude to spend 5+ years and 75+ million dollars, you're not going to stack up against what has unfortunately become the baseline expectation for MMOs as opposed to the acknowledged curve buster.

I want to be clear about one thing – this isn't me crying, "Oh, poor us! We can't compete with big bad Blizzard." It's the need for our industry to realize that we can and should be broadening our horizons in terms of making online games. Re-evaluating our goals and mission statements and take into account to what we can each realistically accomplish. Focusing on quality as opposed to completing checklists because the other guy has this or that in his game. We're at a cross-roads where the old ideals and rules don't apply and it's up to us to change and adapt and make new experiences for our players.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Popular on Engadget