Looks like we've got a new studio to watch out for. Molten Games has been founded by industry veterans Paul Della Bitta, previously Blizzard's Senior Director of Global Community Development and eSports, and Blaine Smith, Lead Designer of several projects at Sony Online Entertainment and Relic Entertainment. Together, they've acquired millions of dollars in funding from NCsoft to make a AAA, free-to-play online game. Wait, what?
Yes, Molten Games, a brand new and unproven company pitched a AAA, free-to-play online game to NCsoft and acquired a multi-million dollar publishing deal. On top of that, they've also managed to maintain ownership of their IP going forward. Who are these guys? They dominated the system, it sounds like.
Yet selling to a publisher and selling to a consumer are two different things. Terms like AAA and free-to-play are as much frightening these days are they are promising. Della Bitta has something to say on that matter, however:
"AAA to us is really an identifier for quality. With the advent of mobile and social games, some gamers are starting to associate free-to-play with games that don't have the depth or overall quality level that was expected of a PC or console title of the past. This is a game that you would have happily paid $60 for at retail. We're just trying to take advantage of the free-to-play model, but we want people to have the same expectation of quality they would if they went and bought a $60 console game at the store."
Della Bitta says that Molten aspires to be as Blizzard and Valve were in their early days, focusing on making great games for gamers. He says they've hired gamers to make those games and that's why NCsoft believes in them. Heck, if that's true then I believe in them.
Now all Molten has to do is make the game. I think it's worth being excited to see what they'll be working on.