Hyboreal Games Q&A

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Hyboreal Games is one of the latest studios to spring up from former Blizzard developers. Its members come from Blizzard North, and are known for their work on the Diablo series, games that took up far too much of my time. Hyboreal is currently working on an untitled action/RPG for PC. Though the game previously had a working title, company president Eric Sexton was quick to note that the game's name has yet to be determined. I asked Eric a few questions about the company's plans and its first project.

Shack: Hyboreal Games is largely made up of former Blizzard North developers. When and why did you decide to take the plunge into the world of independent development?

Eric Sexton: While this decision was made easier by recent events, it has been something that has always been at the back of my mind.

Shack: Is there any particular reason there have been so many recent departures from Blizzard?

Eric Sexton: Not at all. Blizzard Entertainment made the industry's best games. Blizzard is known for having some of the best talents in the industry so I am not surprised that so many of us have started our own companies.

Shack: Have you been in talks with any publishers or other sources of capital, and are you concerned about the financial challenges of this endeavor?

Eric Sexton: We have just started talking with publishers about our current project. Starting your own business is always challenging, but the team is confident in our project and our experience as game developers.

Shack: What are your opinions on the general state of the industry, in particular with respect to the PC market since that is your company's stated focus?

Eric Sexton: The game industry is currently focused on the Next Gen Consoles or Cutting Edge technology. While this is nice, only targets a small proportion of the potential audience. Most people don't own expensive video cards to run the latest high-end graphics. We want to focus our attention on the low-end PC machines and laptop computers.

Shack: Your website notes that you plan to make your game accessible to those with lower-end machines, something Blizzard has also traditionally done. Do you think this is important to PC gaming?

Eric Sexton: We have always tried to make it easy as possible for the player to get right into our PC games. One of the ways to provide this straightforward experience is too ensure it runs on wide range of systems. And we will continue to design our games that way.

Shack: What can you tell us about your first title?

Eric Sexton: Our current project is a 3D, Science-Fiction, Action RPG. It's Halo meets Diablo with all the fast visceral game play of third person shooter merged with the character advancement and item collection of a role playing game. You can explore the planets of the galaxy, customize your space ship and choose the path of your character while deciding the fate of the galaxy.

Shack: The few pieces of concept art available for your project suggest a perhaps more colorful or vibrant aesthetic than that of the Diablo series, where most of the team's roots lie. Is this indicative of the direction of the game?

Eric Sexton: We do want to go with a slightly lighter look. The art we have up on our page is a preliminary direction, but we are still exploring the "look" of the game universe.

Shack: Your press release specified that Hyboreal is "creating an original game franchise from conception to completion." Are you already considering future games or other avenues to pursue with the property?

Eric Sexton: Yes. The team is highly creative, and we have several unique ideas that we would love to pursue in our game universe, both in and out of the game industry.

Shack Would you care to comment on your decision to use FlipSide for outsourcing on your game and on the role and viability of outsourcing in game development? Does it allow for more flexibility?

Eric Sexton: The simple answer is, yes it does. It also allows a small company like ours to be more competitive. Our decision to work with Flipside games comes from our previous relationship with Ex-Blizzard Programmer Jon Morin. Jon left Blizzard a while back to go start his outsourcing company in the Philippines.

Shack: Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers regarding your project or Hyboreal?

Eric Sexton: We are grateful to all of our fans that supported us over the years while we were at Blizzard. We hope to meet their expectations with our future projects now that we have started Hyboreal Games.

Shack: Thanks for your time!

Eric Sexton: Thank you for talking to us, we will look forward to talking with you in the future.

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