Jagex CEO Phil Mansell is making the press rounds this week, unloading interesting quotes on GIbiz, including the admission that Jagex felt it had neglected RuneScape when it was focusing on other projects that didn’t materialize. The good news is that the studio has turned it all around.
“A few weeks ago we had our highest peak concurrent user level for eight years,” he tells GIbiz. “In terms of subscription levels, it’s the highest for seven and a half years. Those games are going through a real renaissance, and not just as a one off. We’ve had four years of consistent growth now.”
That isn’t to say the company is giving up on other games, however. Mansell says Jagex is actually working on other stuff. One of them will ideally become a “mid-budget online title,” but the other? The other is a “next generation MMO” – a “living game” that “capitalizes” on what Jagex has learned from 17 years of RuneScape.
“Games have never been more multiplayer or online, but people don’t talk about MMOs very much anymore. That is actually a good thing, as it makes these games more accessible and less intimidating. That’s where we want to go as well. […] I think quite highly of what the shared world games have done. They’ve been offering a massive multiplayer experience with far fewer complications. In the early days of RuneScape, it was a phenomenally accessible game. It was pretty much the first big free-to-play game in the West. We used a lot of simple design language for its interactions, but it was deep underneath. Those are some of the principles we are going to go back to with our next MMO.”
In other RuneScape news, Jagex’s RuneScape fanstravaganza RuneFest is happening once again, this year on October 5th and 6th. The studio this week released an FAQ designed to explain why it’s been moved out of London to Farnborough. The answer is a good one for the game: It’s because way too many people want to attend, so it simply outgrew the London venue. Bonus? You can drive to it and park there, instead of dealing with the London snarl.
US fans, take heart: While Jagex can’t logistically move the event out of the UK, it does say it is “working on plans to bring community events to the USA (and other countries outside of the UK) in the future.”