Was Mythic Closed Just As They Were Ramping Up Development on Ultima Forever…Or Its Sequel?
Gamespot has picked up the news about Mythic’s closure, and the sharp-eyed reporters there noticed something else that indicated that the closure was very suddenly — and unexpectedly — thrust upon the studio:
It would appear the decision to shut Mythic down was made quite recently; a job listing for a software engineer position at the studio was posted online less than two weeks ago. It mentions seeking someone interested in “re-defining the RPG Mobile space working on exciting, genre defining IP.”
The exact posting date for that job opportunity was May 16th; here’s a screenshot of its text (since it’s likely to disappear from the EA job bank soon):
And actually, this isn’t the only job posting for Mythic that was listed in the EA job bank, nor is it the only posting for Mythic to make mention of “the RPG mobile space”. There’s this Senior Producer listing dating back to November of last year:
There’s this Systems Engineer posting from February:
And there’s this Senior Designer posting from the beginning of May:
(I also noticed a Business Analyst job posting which was posted in March, but it doesn’t specifically call out the mobile RPG space anywhere.)
So here we see that Mythic was looking to bring on board some pretty key development staff to “help disrupt and redefine the RPG genre in the mobile space”, using an “exciting, genre defining IP” as the vehicle for that. There are, I submit, few RPGs more genre defining than Ultima, and while there are certainly RPG IPs in the EA portfolio, Mythic already had one Ultima game under its belt, and would thus have had the assets and the team mindset already in place to make additional content for that game. Or, for that matter, to make its sequel; Paul Barnett had always envisioned Ultima Forever as the first game in a series. Granted, they had only hinted at Blackthorn’s involvement in the day-to-day affairs of Britannia in the part of Ultima Forever’s story that had actually been released at the time of the studio’s closure, but it’s not like they could have added that content to the game even as they began to undertake development of…Ultima Fiveever (or whatever).
I’d ask “who knows?” at this point, but in truth there are people that do know. Once the dust settles on all this, I might even make some inquiries.
(Hat tip: Infinitron Dragon)