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GB: Have you been following the development of the sequel by Hardsuit Labs? Any sage advice you’d like to impart to your successors?
CM: I was very excited to hear that Bloodlines was getting a sequel, and have been following the progress of the game with a lot of interest. My only advice? Follow the canon – it will never steer you wrong.
GB: Between Arcanum and Bloodlines, you worked on both isometric and 3D action-RPGs. Which way of doing things do you prefer? Why?
CM: 3D ARPGs are definitely my favorite of the two genres. Personally, I like the more immersive experience that a first-person game provides, coupled with skill-based action-mechanics that you can enhance and progress through role-playing systems. There’s an immediacy to that kind of experience that I really enjoy. I’ve always felt that Bloodlines was ahead of its time in this respect – a truly deep and immersive story-driven RPG blended with a fun and engaging action game. In many ways it’s become the template for what many consider the modern RPG.
GB: Later in your career, you were the lead narrative designer and creative director on WildStar, Carbine Studios’ MMORPG that launched back in 2014 and then was shut down in 2018. What exactly went wrong there, in your opinion?
CM: That’s a pretty long and complicated story. Let me start by saying that I had a really great time working on WildStar. That dev team had some of most talented and creative people I have ever worked with, and we created something that was truly unique - both in its design and its personality. That being said, my personal opinion is that the game struggled to find its design vision, which resulted in difficulties attracting a large enough core audience to sustain itself. It’s unfortunate that it’s not around anymore – but there’s still a tight-knit community that keeps the game’s memory alive.
GB: While developing WildStar you were reunited with your Troika colleague - Tim Cain, who then left Carbine for Obsidian. And I’ve heard rumors that his departure was not the most amicable one. Can you share anything about working with Tim on WildStar and his subsequent departure?
CM: Tim and I worked for a number of years together on an earlier incarnation of WildStar – which I very much enjoyed as Tim is a chocolate connoisseur who often shares his goods with people who sit near him. In terms of his departure: WildStar was a game that was more than seven years in production, and a lot of folks came and went during that time. What I can say with the utmost certainty is that I’m very happy that he found a great home at Obsidian – along with being excited for both he and Leonard on their recent success with The Outer Worlds.
GB: Over the course of your career, you went from working with small dedicated teams to directing an MMO. What was that like?
CM: The trajectory of my career has been pretty unique, and I’ve seen the industry undergo extraordinary changes - but the one thing that I’ve learned in my twenty-five years of game development is this: when you get a passionate team of any size working together on a shared core vision then fantastic things can and will happen. I feel very lucky to have been a part of creating games that continue to inspire players across the world – and I’m looking forward to making more of them with Brian, Jason, and the rest my new family at inXile.
GB: Thank you for your time and good luck with your future endeavors.
CM: Thank you!
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