Dark Millennium Online: Former THQ boss Bilson on ill-fated Warhammer 40K MMO

Dark Millennium Online

By on March 18, 2014 at 8:24 am

The lovely-looking Warhammer 40K MMO Dark Millennium Online kind of went pear-shaped in 2012, first being announced as cancelled, then not cancelled, then turned into a multiplayer game maybe, then cancelled again (maybe)… and then THQ caught fire and exploded, and that was the end of that.

Well now, in a bit of a tell-all interview with Brenna “I Used To Work At GON” Hillier at VG247, THQ’s former boss Danny Bilson has explained that DMO‘s flop was ultimately just a matter of it being too big a gamble in a time of terrible cashflow for the company.

“I wanted to see what was happening with MMOs, because it was taking years to make and I was kind of anxiously waiting to see what would happen with the Star Wars MMO at EA, to see if the subscription model is over, or whether it would still work,” said Bilson. But apparently when SWTOR wasn’t an obvious and powerful success, they decided to pull out.

“We knew that weren’t going to be able to go subscription, and then we lost a ton of cash that year. There was no way we could gamble on the big bet like an MMO,” he said.

The game changed shape a lot over the next 12 months, with Bilson explaining that the final form (at the time of THQ’s collapse) was something closer to a Borderlands 2-style multiplayer experience, which they were calling Inquisitor.

“It was a four-player co-op jump-in jump out, go on these missions with your friends. I was really excited about that. With the commitment of that year we felt we could finish that game and ship it within that year, which would have been summer of 2013. It would have been last summer,” he said.

“I remember some things that I really loved, like each player would have their own capital ship and your friends could have quarters on it. You collected all your stuff from your adventures on your ship, and you could customise it.”

Sad times. Read the full interview over here.

19 comments (Leave your own)

So is this game being worked on whatsoever or is it over?

If so then don’t be greedy and release it to the public! The masses will mod it and turn the game into something very special. In fact, multiple very special games :)

 

So basically, his favourite thing about a Warhammer 40k game was a barbie dress up function for your marine and space ship. Not the grueling visceral combat, the dark world, the (What it should be) squad based combat, the never ending war between all the different factions and alliances, the wars to claim planets or purge them.

No the top of his list is “OOOooo my marines looks, like, totally badass and stuff. and Look at my wall mount of a tyranid head on my instanced space ship.”

Kinda glad this game failed.

 

Well to be fair Kel there is an entire industry around the painting of said figurines and making them look badass and it must rake in a crapload of money at the prices they charge as well.

If they put a focus on more paint customisation of units and had a solid game experience under there it would of potentially grabbed both the figurine collectors crowd (particularly those who don’t play the computer games) and the game players crowd might of been turned on to checking out the debt incurring figure range. Also as far as MMO’s go they don’t last particularly long if there is no personal touch you can make to your characters.

 

Sorry Meji but that’s bullshit, MMO longlevity has nothing to do with being able to play dressup. When you make that a primary feature to the detriment of ANYTHING else you get the steaming sack of shit that is guild wars 2.

If you think the best part of the 40k universe is painting things then i dont even know what to say… it’s fun but nobody buys a game to paint things.

 

nekosan:
Sorry Meji but that’s bullshit, MMO longlevity has nothing to do with being able to play dressup. When you make that a primary feature to the detriment of ANYTHING else you get the steaming sack of shit that is guild wars 2.

Yeah, that’s kind of why I said as long as it had a solid gameplay experience under there. A personal touch to your characters doesn’t have to be to the detriment of gameplay, nor does it have to be the extreme that it can be taken. Given that Warhammer games all originate from miniatures it would be rather lacking not to have a painting/cosmetic feature (small personal things outside regular chapter colours etc.., little war medallions or what not to display PvP prowess, length of duty etc.

 

Where does he say it was his favourite thing? Where does he say it was the focus of the game?

it was something he loved, I don’t see why he couldn’t love more than one thing. With how popular the idea of player housing is in MMOs, is it really a shock that someone loved the idea of it in a Warhammer game?

For combat he says “The combat system was really fun; it was fast, it was exciting.”, sounds like he was pretty into that too.

Don’t let me get in the way of the hate train though.

 

I never said it was his focus for the game, nor what the game was based around, I was just baffled and a little distraught that playing dress up was his favourite thing.

Out of allllllll of the different things that represent WH40K .. to me thats kinda at the lower end. IMO of course. It concerns me that this chap was at the decision making level and that was his most enjoyable feature. Not to say that’s how the game was focused, and I apologise if I jumped to conclusions here, but if he’s making the decisions then one couldn’t help but wonder what the primary focus was going to be.

Hence my last statement.

 

kinkykel,

You didn’t say anything about it being the focus, you claimed he said it was his favorite thing. Nekosan seemed to be implying it was a focus.

Again, you’ve just made a really similar claim, that it was “his most enjoyable feature”, and I ask again, where did he say that? He said it was a feature he loved, there’s nothing at all in that that says he didn’t love the other features just as much. As I quoted him above, he says the combat was really fun and exciting.

Where is this extra information that it was his “favourite thing” or “most enjoyable feature” coming from?

 

This could be me taking this out of context and it could be a perspective thing, but if someone says they “Love” something I instantly see that as that being at the top of their list. Love isn’t a term I throw around, so it could honestly be me seeing things wrong, hence the potential misunderstanding.

 

kinkykel:
This could be me taking this out of context and it could be a perspective thing, but if someone says they “Love” something I instantly see that as that being at the top of their list. Love isn’t a term I throw around, so it could honestly be me seeing things wrong, hence the potential misunderstanding.

An obvious counter to that is I love my Mum, that doesn’t cause me to not Love my Dad even if I don’t implicitly say it at the same time.

 

but they’d both be at the top of your list and more important to you than other things in your life yes? A focus if you will?

 

kinkykel:
but they’d both be at the top of your list and more important to you than other things in your life yes? A focus if you will?

Yes, but if you only heard “I love my mum”, in your view that means she’s the focus of my life at the expense of anything else I haven’t implicitly stated. You’re deciding she’s 100% my focus before also hearing I love my dad.

We have 1 bit of information, you’re drawing a conclusion from that that I don’t think you can draw, he didn’t say he didn’t love other parts of the game.

 

But he didn’t say he loved other parts either? He said the combat was fun and exciting, be he never mentioned anything about loving it.

Like I said, it all comes down to the way I perceive the word Love compared to you I think. It’s why I drew my conclusion and you drew a different one.

 

Yes, but he never said he didn’t love it, he didn’t mention huge parts of the game, why assume he doesn’t love any of those? It was a wide ranging interview, warhammer was a small part of it.

Feel free to assume the negative though, that’s your choice.

 

Hang on a second, you’ve assumed the negative about my response from the get go.

So we’re both in the same boat of assumption.

 

You said you were “kinda glad this game failed”, if that’s not a negative outlook because he loved a feature you don’t agree with, I don’t know what is.

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to take that as a positive outlook. So yes I took your comment as a negative.

 

Would have been nice to have seen the game released even if it was terrible (though this was looking reasonably good). WH40K has shown itself to be quite resilient to terrible games.

 

I’m glad this game failed as it was almost guaranteed to be shit. 40k is near and dear to me, and there’s literally nothing out there that even remotely does it justice. The recent Space Hulk wasn’t bad – but it was still a low budget, severely lacking on the polish front offering.

It’d be nice to see a developer take the damned license serious for once – another Relic with the Dawn of War series or somesuch.

There’s what – some shitbag looking tower defence game – an up and coming card game – meh. The only thing looking vaguely interesting is Deathwatch – and god knows how that’s going to turn out.

This MMO was always doomed to fail IMO. You could tell from the early footage that they’d bitten off far more than they could chew, and by the time anything was nearing release they’d have been way behind the 8ball.

 

All I’ve EVER wanted was for this game to be brutal and gothic and fucking awesome. Ahhhh well.

 
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