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"Firefly" Online Game - Corey Bridges Fireflymmo.com Interview

Sunday 17 December 2006, by Webmaster

Firefly MMO News recently had the opportunity to ask Corey Bridges a few questions about the game. Corey’s title is “Multiverse Co-Founder and Executive Producer”, so as you can imagine, he’s pretty close to the heart of things.

Did Multiverse approach Fox about the license, or did Fox approach Multiverse?

James Cameron, director of Titanic, the first two Terminator movies, Aliens, and so on, is on the Multiverse board of advisors, along with his producer Jon Landau. They have a great relationship with Twentieth Century Fox, so they introduced Fox and Multiverse. In the first meeting, we were talking with the Fox Licensing and Merchandising folks about virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games. They said, “Here’s a list of some of our properties. Which of these do you think would make a great MMO?” I didn’t really look at the list, and said, “Is Firefly on the list? Firefly would be perfect!” Happily, the Fox folks were fans. They were really enthusiastic about the idea, and of course Multiverse is chock-full o’ Browncoats. So from that meeting onward, it was all about making this game happen. That’s what drove this partnership forward-everyone really wants to live in the Firefly universe.

Are connections with the original writers, cast and crew spelled out in the license? If they are, can you tell us something about them, and if not, what are you hoping for in that area?

Those relationships aren’t covered by the license. In fact, we didn’t think it was a good idea to start discussions with Joss or Nathan or anyone until we closed the deal with Fox. We just finalized that deal last week, right before the news went public. And the very first call I made after that was to Joss’s agent. And then I got the chance to talk to a couple BDH’s and composer Greg Edmonson at Flan B. They were really supportive. We haven’t hired the game-design team yet, and obviously the game design is what has to drive these choices. But that said, we would absolutely love to work with the writers, cast, and crew. It could only make the game more true to the show.

What kind of development team are you looking for - professionals, amateurs with experience, a group brought together for the purpose, or a whole company picking up the contract? Who’s going to be paying the developers’ salaries?

It’s going to come down to a combination of whoever has the best vision and ability to execute. We’re most interested in hiring a professional team, but we’re not going to rule anyone out until we make the official choice. We’re also open to different structures - if we get the perfect designer, and she doesn’t have a whole team around her, we can help assemble that team. But most folks have some amount of team with them. And we’d also certainly talk with folks who come from fully funded and fully staffed game studios.

We’re speaking to different investors right now about financing and company structure. Nothing’s finalized there. One really gratifying result of this announcement is that lots of investors have asked to participate in this opportunity. We’re in good shape on that front, but we’re always happy to talk to people with money!

Where in the timeline will the game happen? And connected to that, does the license cover the events in Serenity, or just those in Firefly?

The license is through Fox, so it doesn’t cover events in Serenity. I can’t tell you how many people came up to me at Flan B and told me how psyched they were that they get to play in a universe where Wash and Book were still alive! And don’t forget that the ‘verse is large. The TV show introduced us to some fascinating planets, but there are even more that we haven’t seen. That’s why Firefly is actually perfect for a massively multiplayer online game-it revealed glimpses the overall structure of a fantastically interesting ‘verse, but actually didn’t fill in very many details at all. There’s all sorts of interesting stuff-big and little-that could be going on in the timeframe of the show-stuff that happened off-camera, as it were. The actual timeframe hasn’t been chosen. The most predictable thing would be for us to set it during the TV show, but some fans have expressed an interest in seeing us explore the time of the Unification War.

Does the Multiverse engine lend itself to “sharded” style play, with multiple worlds like EverQuest or World of Warcraft, or a single world like EVE Online? Or are there other models in mind? If it can go both ways, what way do you envisage the Firefly MMO going?

The Multiverse Platform lets you build whatever kind of world you want-whether sharded, seamless, instanced et cetera. Nothing decided yet on which way the Firefly MMO will go. There are different reasons to use each approach. If there’s a lot of pre-generated content-quests, interesting locations, and so forth-then replicating the world with multiple shards or servers is generally a good way to let lots of people experience that content without feeling overly crowded. But if the gameplay depends more on what the actual community of players does, then the single big world can be more useful.

We’ve already seen Multiverse posters on the forums asking for suggestions; how much influence do you see the fan community having on the development of the game as it proceeds?

Without the Browncoats, we wouldn’t even have the incredible opportunity to make this game. So not only do we owe them for that, but they are the experts-not just in trivia, but in the feel of the Firefly ‘verse. And that’s a critical part of the game. If it doesn’t feel like Firefly, then why the hell did we make it? And the Browncoats are the only ones who are qualified to judge that.