Funcom CEO discusses missteps and the future of the company’s games

It is a very unsettling time to be a fan of Funcom‘s titles with the news that the studio is actively looking for a buyer or investor. A recent interview with the company’s CEO, Rui Casais, discusses the company’s missteps in a frank tone. Casais discusses why LEGO Minifigures Online was not the financial windfall the company had hoped for as well as how the studio plans to move forward from this point:

We haven’t always made the right decisions and we haven’t always performed the best we should. We are all well aware of that. It means we need to make significant changes to how we do things, and that’s exactly what we are working on now. We’re turning a new leaf, we have fresh, new ideas in terms of how we can become a viable, profitable business, and we have a strong desire to see them realized.

The interview also includes statements that even the loss of Funcom itself would hopefully not impact the ultimate fate of titles like The Secret World and Age of Conan, as those games are turning a profit. Whilst it may not be an uplifting or optimistic interview, it does provide solid insight about the state of the studio, and fans of the studio’s games or those interested in the fate of a longtime MMO developer should read the whole thing.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz; thanks to Jason for the tip!
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SkyyDragonn
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SkyyDragonn

All they had to do was look at the previously failed Lego MMO to understand that their target demographic isn’t exactly known for being financial affluent (8-10 yr olds don’t usually have funds for cash shops) Its a great IP for toys NOT for MMO’s

SkyyDragonn
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SkyyDragonn

Wait..so your two major brands are both “turning a profit” yet your in danger of closing up shop for financial reasons?!
/boggle how about we stop trying to make these shitty Lego mmo’s

poordevil
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poordevil

The biggest misstep for Age of Conan was launching the game in an incomplete state. The game never really recovered from it, even though the game today is light years ahead of what it was at launch.
I wasn’t playing back then, but came on board shortly after the Godslayer expansion. For me it was always a vibrant game, and any issues about the content falling into the abyss after the starting area had vanished before I ever played it.
All three games are posting a profit, but the problem is they are showing a profit only because the development team and everything else that keeps the games alive have been cut back to the absolute bare bones minimum. Yea the Games are showing a profit, but they are only able to support a skeleton crew. There is no money for proper expansions, or attention to planned tweaks like the Conan crafting revamp. All three games are in the doldrums, or shuffling along on 3 cylinders.
So speaking for Conan I can see the game struggling along, posting a profit, surviving on the content that it already has, because it does have massive amounts of quality content. But the game in my opinion is a great MMO and it is worthy of much more than continuing on in survivor mode.
I would love to hear that some experienced gaming company with a little cash and a vision for these three unique Funcom MMOS has picked them up.

etilheptanoat
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etilheptanoat

imo all mmo are shitty
but shitty all we have now

etilheptanoat
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etilheptanoat

nope. the one with seasonal dance-bag

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

Syco_at_Twitch Cyroselle groo the wanderer Yeah, the one with the outfits that rarely got updated. I’d actually spend good coin for more outfits.

Syco_at_Twitch
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Syco_at_Twitch

Honestly if i was working at Funcom i’de already have my resume set and out there

Syco_at_Twitch
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Syco_at_Twitch

DrowNoble McSleaz a game being craptastic is a matter of opinion so  tsw and aoc are both shitty imo

Syco_at_Twitch
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Syco_at_Twitch

Cyroselle groo the wanderer You mean that shitty cash shop that has litteraly nothing enticing sides dlc?

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

groo the wanderer I think most of TSW’s profits are in the cash shop rather than the optional sub. Still, I wonder how many of the general playing audience know about Funcom being up for sale? Enough to hurt cash shop sales?

Zariarn
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Zariarn

Ceder Zariarn Quit trolling, lol  :)

Serrenity
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Serrenity

Obzedat Serrenity You should stop with the ageism bullshit.  it just gives your ego a little boost because you can feel like you are better than someone else.  It’s dumb, and pointless.  
I didn’t play in AO alpha, but I played AO for years, it was my first MMO–it is the game that got me hooked on MMOs to begin with.  
I agree with Bre – you need to chill and let it go.

Vunak
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Vunak

Armsbend ArtemisiaWS
Loved the way FFXI did their mobs. Even things that were Easy Prey could get dangerous if you weren’t careful.

Irod
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Irod

Obzedat Armsbend why so butthurt ? so one of the first mmos launched in ’01 had issues. wauw. (note I said one of the first). Online games still have issues at launch to these day and even from huge companies like Blizzard, do you remember D3’s launch? you couldn’t login for days either and it was launched 3 f*** years ago not 15. And lets not talk about all the experience they had already with their previously wow expansions launch. You sure seem affected by AO’s launch quite a bit to this day for some reason. I pitty you…

Nordavind
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Nordavind

Oleg Chebeneev I’ve been thinking about having episodic stories, like TellTale does them, as an expansion of the TSW universe for some time noe. One for each of the survivors in KM, between fog and the arrival of the character. Would have been wonderful, I think.

Nordavind
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Nordavind

BrotherMaynard ArtemisiaWS Chaz_Lawler Long ones.

Nordavind
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Nordavind

Obzedat Any feedback? Not one thing? Nothing? That is a rather strange statement. Personally I have several things in TSW where I can go “I suggested that! I got that changed! I was part of the testers who made that not make it to live!”

Is your issue that they never have taken any suggestion *you* have made?

My hobby: calling out hyperboles.

Ceder
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Ceder

Zariarn As long as its not Trion….

JakeDunnegan
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JakeDunnegan

Dreema ArtemisiaWS Armsbend It’s entirely possible that there are more reasons than that one that could bring a company to ruin. Hell, maybe it’s their propensity to feed their employees three meals a day. Or that Lego IP thing.
No, I have no idea if they feed or even clothe their employees. Who knows? But Funcom going out of business doesn’t have  to be because there’s no respec in TSW. Kind of a flimsy way to prove your point.

JakeDunnegan
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JakeDunnegan

SteinarB Armsbend Greaterdivinity I was wondering how long that thread would go before someone would point out that Legos are made in Denmark and Funcom…not so much.

Thanks.

groo the wanderer
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groo the wanderer

I have quite a negative view of Funcom after what they did to TSW with the Enhanced Player Experience . I guess they were desperate to attract more players and thought dumbing down was the way to go . I guess at the end of the day whatever they did really didn’t matter because in all likely hood both Funcom and TSW wont exist for much longer . I know a few people who are still playing and most of them have cancelled their subscriptions in the view that they may not have much time left to spend the points they already have , I imagine they wont be alone so TSWs profits are going to nosedive pretty quickly now .

DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

McSleaz Which ones are “craptastic” according to you?

Obviously not TSW or AoC, since they are turning a profit still.  I enjoy both games and have supported both since launch.  I still sub to AoC and am a lifer for TSW.

Dixa
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Dixa

Obzedat Serrenity AOC has some of the best raiding in the industry. It was jarring for many to go from fully voiced tortage to the rest of the game at 20 immersion wise, but the journey to 80 now is well worth it. 

And that bear shaman – still nothing quite like it anywhere else.

Zariarn
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Zariarn

I hope they find new investors soon.

Zariarn
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Zariarn

McSleaz And I’m sure your games are not worthy of the craptastic title, huh?

SomewhatEclectic
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SomewhatEclectic

bauhau5 Well, as of last quarterly financial statement TSW was still making money from its issues and events above and beyond the cost of their development. It seems like it’d be silly to stop doing one of the things that’s actually making them money. Heck, the article itself says, “We strongly believe that no matter the outcome of the process, at an
absolute minimum, our live games will continue running either by us or
someone else as they are generating profit.”  
But then again I’m no business analyst.

SomewhatEclectic
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SomewhatEclectic

Obzedat To be fair, they said they were redoing the animations, ‘fixed’ the jumping animation, got hit with a massive round of laoffs, and then said they couldn’t afford to rework all the animations anymore. Sure it’s the same end-result but one is a lot less of an issue about ignoring your playerbase.

McSleaz
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McSleaz

lolfuncom. I  predict their future is to make more craptastic games.

Armsbend
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Armsbend

SteinarB I’m bad at european geography and facts.

Kaaz
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Kaaz

paragonlostinspace dellis78741 Tandor Shadewalker Koshelkin TSW’s at least can be fully moved and resized

BrotherMaynard
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BrotherMaynard

Oleg Chebeneev If they get an investor to make a proper deep, rich, original single player game, that would be something. Since TSW and AoC are in the positive, they would cover their costs during the development and in the end, Funcom could have a life safer. They should just focus on their strengths and not necessarily force everything into MMOs.

BrotherMaynard
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BrotherMaynard

ArtemisiaWS Chaz_Lawler …and journeys

robertc64
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robertc64

PurpleCopper Mini-figures Online is not the one where you can create a penis, you’re thinking of Lego Worlds.

Lord Zorvan
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Lord Zorvan

Damonvile JayBezzOfficial Honestly? Yes.

Dreema
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Dreema

ArtemisiaWS Dreema Armsbend Clearly I must be the only person who found that aspect of the game annoying…

Or maybe not considering as the game itself, and the company running it, are in serious trouble.

ArtemisiaWS
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ArtemisiaWS

SteinarB Armsbend Greaterdivinity Norwegians and Danes getting mixed up together, I think none of them would be happy of it at all.

SteinarB
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SteinarB

Armsbend Greaterdivinity Actually, Lego and Funcom do not hail from the same country.  Funcom is a Norwegian company and Lego is a Danish creation.  I’m pretty sure the Danes would dig up their swords and helmets and start raiding the rest of the world again if someone else claimed to have created Lego.  They’re quite proud of it.

ArtemisiaWS
Guest
ArtemisiaWS

Dreema Armsbend You call it grinding zombies, or you could just you know..play the game normally. Playing the game to get more points seems nothing weird to me.

Dreema
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Dreema

Armsbend Dreema Which is precisely my point: grinding a load of zombies just to be able to put points somewhere else isn’t a whole lot of fun.

Gibbins
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Gibbins

PurpleCopper You can make LEGO dicks in this thing, why the hell didn’t anyone tell me….

Tizmah1
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Tizmah1

PurpleCopper Maybe if people didn’t go apeshit about seeing a normal part of a human’s body people wouldn’t care about making dicks as much.  But even so…who cares.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

JayBezzOfficial What are you really expecting them to say..”wow I just suck at this” and then kill himself ? He pretty clearly says they’ve made bad choices and mistakes

Armsbend
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Armsbend

PurpleCopper I’m pretty sure every child in Western Civilization owns Minecraft now and Mojang doesn’t seem to be sweating the dicks too much.  Same with the parents.

ProfessionalNoob
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ProfessionalNoob

DeviateFish ProfessionalNoob yeah im old. a lifetime sub would cut into my Ensure drink budget.

I’ll just go month to month :D

breetoplay
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breetoplay

Obzedat Serrenity I’m old enough to have alpha’d Anarchy Online when alpha still meant something and I still agree with Serrenity. Yeah, Funcom screwed up the launch. Worst MMO launch of all time even today. And you know what? They gave the game away free for months while they fixed it. They… listened to their playerbase.
You’re conflating “forced to launch stuff incomplete because money” with “bad development and failure to listen to feedback.”

luxundae
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luxundae

I’m glad that they’re committed to trying to keep their live games running.  I really hope it works out for them…it would be a darker world without TSW (ironically), and less colorful one without AO and AoC.

bauhau5
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bauhau5

ArtemisiaWS bauhau5 True, there were some pretty good quests, especially the one in the Japanese Sex House, however the thing that really lost it for me was how prominent the Orochi are in Tokyo. I understand why they are prominent but I just wish they didn’t go down that route. Compared to the uniqueness and originality that Kingsmouth was, Orochi just seem like another big bad corporate entity that we have to combat. 

It all feels like the ending of Cabin in the Woods but without all the gore and creatures.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

The first thing that comes to people’s mind about a LEGO MMO is…. LEGO dicks.

Seriously, how did Funcom not forsee that people will be making LEGO dicks everywhere?

They’d have to review and approve every single player LEGO creation,  which pretty much kills the purpose of a LEGO MMO.

The mind fucking boggles how Funcom could fuck up so badly.

These guys suck at their jobs.

Fenryr
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Fenryr

JayBezzOfficial most likely because there is not only “one” job at such a company. There are the managers, administrative employees, programmers, designers…. etc! I for my part do like their games and many others do as well, but obviously things are going south right now there, so it might as well be a lack of good management and leadership. We really don’t know and simplify it down to a one-liner is far to easy.

luxundae
Guest
luxundae

Armsbend ArtemisiaWS When I first arrived in Tokyo, it was a complete death trap for me.  It’s still much more dangerous than the prior zones, though I feel a great sense of accomplishment in having geared up enough and modified my build enough to survive average encounters there.

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