38 Studios disappoints at NYCC

For the past two years, we gamers have been very excited about Copernicus, 38 Studio’s mystical masterpiece, which the company is claiming will be the best MMO since World of Warcraft. At last year’s Comic Con, 38 spoke about the vision of the company and the various individuals involved. Since then, not one detail of the game has been released, but 38 has insisted that what it’s building is going to redefine the MMO genre. So, yesterday at the NYCC, we were careful to sit in on the company’s panel in order to hear any and all information 38 would be willing to release about its creation. Naturally, hype like this had over 100 people lined up for the panel an hour before the doors opened.

Was all that waiting worth it? Did 38 Studios drop the bombshell everyone was hoping for? Did we learn even one scrap of information about the game that was worth printing?

I sat there for 45 minutes while Director of Art Thom Ang, Lead Content Designer Steve Danuser, Senior UI Designer Irena Pereira, and Executive Producer Gavian Whishaw all spoke about the brilliant leadership of Curt Schilling and the progressive managerial techniques they supported. Meaning 38 Studios set up a panel after two years of development on their self-proclaimed masterpiece to describe to us a business model. Thom Ang repeated again and again how his teams of artists peer review each other’s work, while Steve Danuser insisted that the whole of Copernicus would be greater than the sum of its parts, and Pereira complained about how cold Maynard, MA is in the winter.

The only actual information offered was a series of four pictures of concept art that looked like a mix of Fable 2 and Disney’s animated version of Peter Pan. We learned nothing about the story, the gameplay, or what Copernicus is about. It all sounded like a bad IBM commercial, in which a team of artists and developers had spent 2 years “ideating” instead of producing any tangible work.

The company is saying that they don’t want to reveal details because it does not want the press to distract them from their progress. Danuser insisted a couple of times that he wanted his team to “keep their heads down” and work. To an extent, I understand not wanting to spend too much time handling PR, but after two years, they should have more than concept art, and my guess is that 38 Studios would not have been invaded by thousands of reporters had we been shown a screenshot or two.

Look, we here at TVGB want quality developers to invest years of work into a project and make it the best they can, and we are really excited to see what 38 Studios has in store for us and the MMO world. However, we didn’t come to Comic Con to hear a business model. We showed up in hopes that we would find out something about this game that is supposed to change gaming. I really hope that in the end Curt Schilling succeeds in fulfilling his dream, but for as long as they can only offer platitudes, count me as a skeptic.