We're indebted to mtv.com for bringing us a lengthy interview with Mark Jacobs, who is VP of Mythic as well as being lead designer for Warhammer Online. Jacobs takes the opportunity to dismiss the figure of one billion dollars, the sum cited by Activision Blizzard CEO as the sum it would take for a competitor to take on World of Warcraft, as 'ridiculous numbers'.
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Jacobs reckons you could do it with one tenth of that amount: $100 million. 'When certain people throw out ridiculous numbers, you know they're throwing out ridiculous numbers because they want to scare off competition or they want to make themselves seem invincible and that sort of nonsense.' Jacobs claims the WAR development team are strong in two key areas, technology and experience, and as such don't need anything like the $1 billion figure to do what they aim to do.
Them's fighting words. So, too, is Jacobs' observation that in competing with WoW, they are competing with a game that's been out for some time, with all its expansions and additional features: '... it will get more and more difficult every year for somebody to come in and compete with whoever the leaders are.' This is an admission that the task is difficult, but it seems to us that it's also a wry observation: the leaders of the time have been taken on in the past, and beaten.
Jacobs wasn't about to let WoW subscriber numbers daunt him, either. WAR won't have to achieve anything like WoW's numbers to be considered a success in his eyes; it doesn't even have to be number one, but Jacobs won't be satisfied with anything less than second place.
The message is clear. WAR may not be about to topple the current reigning champion overnight, but it definitely fancies its chances, and casts a cynical eye at claims of invincibility.