Earlier this week, the Ashes of Creation team sparked a wildfire of concern when it announced that it’ll partner with My.com to publish the game in Europe and former Soviet states. In fact, consternation over My.com’s record as publisher of games (including Allods Online, Skyforge, and Revelation Online) even prompted Intrepid’s Steven Sharif to issue a follow-up press blast yesterday afternoon, reminding players that his development team will “remain in full creative control of the game” – including control over its anti-pay-to-win stance.
Sharif further addressed publishing yesterday in a Discord chat, the transcript of which has been posted to the game’s community wiki.
“I do want to say that the processing and exploring out opportunities with Ashes of Creation and publishing in both EU and CIS and Russia we had a very very long search,” he said. “We chatted with pretty much every possible partner that was available to bring the project to those regions. And you know, for us really the focus was being able to have a simultaneous launch globally, and in order to do that with the pace that we are moving at and hitting a target before 2020, it really was not an option for us to publish ourselves. So we knew that finding a partner would require that they not only shared our vision from a anti-pay-to-win standpoint and from a quality of service standpoint but that they were willing to make Ashes of Creation their number-one priority from a published game.”
He acknowledges the community backlash but isn’t concerned about My.com’s performance because, he says, “We have stipulated very particular performance benchmarks in order to publish Ashes of Creation in EU and in Russia and those will be adhered to. We have that in ink. So regardless of the history that may exist and the perception in eyes of our community or in the broader MMORPG community I would ask that… I would ask a bit of leeway and understanding and trust from you guys as a community in the fact that I understand the reputation and history of many publishers, I have run a very large guild.”
Sharif does note that Intrepid will publish the game itself in North America; there’s no definitive answer on whether there will be a region-lock between regions; content rollouts will occur on Intrepid’s own schedule; plans for Oceania and SE Asia aren’t decided yet; Intrepid isn’t concerned about possible Russian sanctions; and My.com will handle billing in its regions.
As for localization, it’s still not crystal clear who exactly is localizating which version of the game, but Sharif does indicate that the game’s been developed with specific tools to make localization easy for other publishers, which hints that localization will be delegated to the publishers themselves.
Finally, several times during the chat, Sharif stresses how big a project Ashes has become, hence the need for a serious business overseas publisher.
“[T]his is no small project for Mail.ru and My.com. Ashes of Creation is a very large MMORPG even at this point without being released yet. With the size of our community, with the daily hits on our web, without having not even done marketing yet, we are in a very interesting position from any other MMORPG that’s released, especially for being a brand new IP. This is almost unheard of the level of following and community size that we’ve been able to achieve with still this amount of time yet to launch.”