Mark Jacobs has announced that he has founded City State Entertainment. While he was formerly the boss of Mythic Entertainment, he will now work in the mobile, tablet and social networking space.
“I’m tired of strings and being told what to do by other people,” said Jacobs. “[At City State], we’re a very collaborative group where we talk about everything, and that’s what you need if you really want to be successful.”
“Social games are certainly a lot easier to develop than a traditional game, let alone an MMO,” he explained. “And because of the faster development cycle and the lower costs, we have a lot more freedom in what we want to do. We don’t have to worry if the hardcore gamers are going to get incredibly upset because we’re doing something a certain way. We don’t have to worry if our game is going to sell another 20 copies. We’re just looking to make fun, enjoyable games.”
Jacobs is running City State with his own money; he sold Mythic to Electronic Arts in 2006 for an unspecified amount of money. “At the end of the day, when you take other people’s money, you have to do what they tell you to do; I’ve done that before, and a lot of times it’s cost me,” Jacobs said, not talking about the details of his departure from EA and Mythic.
While Mythic veterans joined Jacobs at City State, he brought in a diverse set of personalities. “I didn’t want this studio to be the old boys’ club,” he said. “I was looking for, and continue to look for, a mix of people that represent a much more diverse segment of the gaming population — whether that’s women, young people, whoever — and, to be very blunt, not just ‘old white guys.’ I want people who can come in and bring in their different perspectives, and their ideas for new games and features.”
Three City State employees had never played a video game before coming onto the company. “They’ve never played an MMO, and they don’t know hardcore games, but what they do know are the platforms we’re going for,” he said. “They know what they like. They can give us opinions that are much more diverse, and that’s what I want. We have a great bunch of guys and gals who are willing to speak their minds. This is the kind of environment that we had at the beginning at old Mythic, and the kind of place that I always wanted Mythic to be. We have a very collaborative environment; we talk about everything. I’ve got a great mix of people here.”
Jacobs insists there’s more room for developers to exist. “The market hasn’t saturated yet because the number of devices hasn’t peaked,” he said. “There are a lot of games out there that are nothing more than clones, and that’s not good. It’s not good for Apple, it’s not good for the consumer, it’s not good for anyone. And that is what’s going to change. The mobile and social space hasn’t matured enough, where the developers have really hit their stride on these devices.”
“We’re hoping to carve our own niche,” Jacobs said, “but at the end of the day, what we really want to do is just make great, fun games for everyone.”
Look for City State’s first game in late 2011.