FASA Founder: Microsoft 'Destroyed' Dev Culture at Former MechWarrior Studio

By Nick Breckon, Aug 26, 2009 7:02pm PDT Jordan Weisman, founder of defunct MechWarrior developer FASA Interactive, now says that the studio's culture was "destroyed" following Microsoft's acquisition of FASA in 1999.

"I don't think the studio ever really had a chance," said Weisman to GamesIndustry. "It was destroyed right in the beginning."

"The two reasons they bought us was, one, they wanted the catalogue of intellectual properties and, two, they felt that we had developed a really good development culture," he said. "And the reality is that, pretty much from the day we moved to Redmond, that development culture was destroyed."

Wiesman says that he was instrumental in making sure Bungie's unique culture was maintained after Microsoft acquired the Halo developer in 2000:

When we were acquiring Bungie, they wanted me to sit down with the owners of Bungie and tell them how well the transition went," he explained. "And it was like - 'what planet are you guys on?' This transition did not go well. And actually I became the lead vocal pain in the ass to get things done very different for Bungie.

I tried to convince them to leave Bungie in Chicago, but not winning that I did succeed in getting them to put them in a walled off room, which didn't follow any of the other Microsoft stuff. We were much better able to defend Bungie's culture than we were FASA's culture.

FASA was shut down in 2007. Weisman is now licensing his properties back from Microsoft through his new company Smith & Tinker, including the MechWarrior franchise. Piranha Games is set to develop a new MechWarrior sequel--provided a publisher deal can be established.

"We're operating under some pretty tight restrictions of the license that make publishing the games kind of challenging," said Weisman of MechWarrior.

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