In a surprise move that may cause folks around here who viciously hate free to play to straight up overdose on schadenfreude, EA announced this afternoon that they're closing Mythic Entertainment. (Or, I guess, "EA Mythic" as they were known recently.) Most recently known for the incredibly poorly received Dungeon Keeper [Free], Mythic used to make totally awesome games like Dark Age of Camelot which was an incredibly groundbreaking MMORPG when it was first released in late 2001. The followup, Imperator Online never really got off the ground, but following that they released another MMORPG, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. It was online from late 2008 to late 2013.

Kotaku received the following statement from EA on the studio closing:

We are closing the EA Mythic location in Fairfax, Virginia, as we concentrate mobile development in our other studio locations. We are working with all impacted employees to provide assistance in finding new opportunities, either within EA or with other companies via an upcoming job fair.

I hate seeing folks in the gaming industry lose their jobs, and it especially sucks when it's an entire studio closing its doors. We didn't like Dungeon Keeper, but, man, I loved Dark Age of Camelot and still have great friends I met playing that game. Hopefully the talent behind DAoC and other Mythic titles all find cooler opportunities than working for EA.

  • IMHO

    Slap one too many "imps" in the face with your nickel and dime IAP trash and this is what happens. Thank God for devs who make premium games like Battleheart Leagacy with out exploiting their consumer base.

    • Dethedrus

      Sadly for every Mika Mobile there are WAY too many EAs and their ilk just out for suckers with an itchy trigger finger for IAPs

      • Maude St. Nubbins

        No, sadly for most studios that grow beyond five people, there are way too many cheap, entitled gamers who won't even pay a dollar for a quality experience. It's a vicious cycle and the fault lies on BOTH sides, not just studios.

        Even studios respected by "true" gamers (god I hate that term) are going bankrupt because supply far outstrips demand. To blatantly butcher a Douglas Adams quote:

        "It is known that there are an infinite number of games in the AppStore, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them costs money. Therefore, there must be a finite number of premium titles competing for players' attentions. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average value of all the games in the AppStore can be said to be zero." :-D

      • Bliquid

        Kudos for the Douglas quote, and also for the interestingly fitting logic.
        Regarding the first part, the videogame market is becoming a bubble business, so i'd say that the earning expectations on developers/pubblishers side are now overgrown.
        The much slower rate of AAA titles ( term that didn't exist before PS3/360,btw) on every platform indicates they everyone more or less realized that you can't spend a movie budget on a game and expect consistent revenue.
        Unless you make CoD or GTA, that is.
        The rise of the indie scene, with low budget games made by less than 10 ppl is just a going back to before videogames became mainstream.
        And i kinda like this, tbh.

      • gmattergames

        No, it's not sad it all. It is by far, the best time, in the history of electronic entertainment, to be a gamer (true-gamer or not.)

      • http://www.nafna.com/ nadav bar kama

        nice, very nice. but, thank god the game industry and any other human made social-cultural-economical structure dont follow a theoretical logic and mathematical layout.

  • the_rebel14

    That's really unfortunate that those people lost their jobs. I agree with you, Eli. The game may have been crap but not the people or their jobs.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I feel like people always lose sight of this when news of studios closing hits. Folks get so angry at the abstract concept of EA, and treat these studios closing as some kind of weird personal victory.

      • thiagovscoelho

        it's weird when EA buys things. everyone loved PopCap, and everyone loved Maxis, and everyone who played these MMOs probably liked these Mythic guys, too.

      • B30

        These companies (e.g. EA) are like migratory locusts, they eat everything up, and then they move on.

      • thiagovscoelho

        then again, Maxis would have died without EA. it's a weird matter.

  • torosama

    I beta tested their Ultima game and gave them tons of feedback about how it was a horrible cash grab and what they needed to do to fix it. They replied by making it MORE expensive and then when it released to horrible reviews exactly like I warned them about, they spent months trying to backtrack.

    Then I tested dungeon keeper for them and actually had some fun (had never played the pc games) and felt indifferent about it, but ultimately it was the same. You can't release a free to play game that has an in game currency, provide an option in game to make said currency and then make all the items you purchase with the currency unable to be obtained ever because you can never accumulate enough. I played Dungeon Keeper 6 months and never spent any in game currency and couldn't get past 4 imps. It was never going to happen and I wasn't going to drop $50 on a game with less content than crappiest console game.

    I don't know who is to blame, someone at Mythic or at EA for being overly greedy and ruining these games.

    • TrencH

      I know one thing about this sort of Iap that is constantly in your face is that nobody wins. Players get crappy games with multiple Iap gates and the rest of them get their reputation damaged and it becomes harder to convince anyone to buy any of their new games so they sell less. Nobody wins when greed is the driving factor. Not pointing fingers at anyone specific.

    • Morgan01

      EA. has been at the forefront of pushing the Freemium boundaries to even beyond what people will tolerate. Mystic was doing what they were directed to do.EA buys these companies, exploits them for all they can, then disband them.

    • Shaun Vavra

      You can blame EA for that. The PC version of Dungeon Keeper was so much fun. They could have released a new version of it and made a killing in revenue, but the dim witted Execs and EA let it go.

  • deviladv

    The problem here is that the people in charge are the ones who should have lost their jobs. Find the person or people who said making dungeon keeper an IAP game was a good idea.

    The problem is the ONLY the dungeon keeper coders lost their jobs. Dungeon keeper itself is still on the app store, and still making money for the parent corporation. No schadenfreude, just plain anger that people who were told to make a crappy game were canned and not the executives who thought it was a good idea.

    • Jake7905

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss....

      • Atomos

        YEEEEEEEAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

    • rewind

      Wait, so I assume that the game won't be receiving new content?

      The whole thing sucks because the coders (and probably the whole studio) did nothing wrong, as you said. EA has no respect for their studios.

  • Ubisububi

    EA has moved beyond killing beloved game franchises, and is now killing entire game studios. They should have fired their lawyers and marketing teams, and left Mythic alone to make games the way they like.

    • Maude St. Nubbins

      Where have you been? That's been their MO for years-- RIP Maxis (which was absorbed by EA Redwood Shores years ago), Westwood, Origin, Pandemic, Bullfrog, Mythic, etc. etc.

      • Ubisububi

        EA wasn't turning classic games into freemium krapware back then. Those studios crashed on their own by failing to stay relevant.

      • cassus

        Those studios did absolutely not fail from not staying relevant. Hell, BioWare is basically dead, and they've been relevant for some time... (Dead because EVERYTHING EA does these days is labeled BioWare. Going to take a couple of more years unless Dragon Age 3 flops, in which case EA will gut the remainder of BioWare and make f2p titles out of all of BioWare's IPs.

        The Bioware Doctors (the two who started BioWare) left the company a year ago or so. Wonder why... Might it be because EA used the mass effect 3 debackle to get their hands on the creative process of dragon age 3? Who knows.. That would be enough for me to leave the company, that's for sure.

  • Boris Nguetie

    closing isn't enough they should consider burning it!

  • iValerio1990

    Liberty 1 freemium 0 ...
    And im sorry for Mythic

  • Jake7905

    This story isn't a reason to celebrate: EA is still open for business, they haven't rethought their business approach, and they won't stop acquiring (ruining) smaller studio's. This story is a consequence of EA's approach to gaming, and losses suffered by real people are the result. It's certainly no reason to celebrate.

  • JJE McManus

    Sorry for the devs but you can't lie with dogs and not expect fleas.

  • Dueler

    Well that's what happens when you can't deny/meet EA's demands of being an IAP whore. Either way they were all happy to take a pay check and release utter poison into the market so couldn't care less about em.

  • Morphzeus

    Not the Game is bad, the to much IAP's suckz extremly. EA as Publisher is the problem, not the Dev's! I dont unterstand this bullshit from EA. But I was boycotting EA for a while and probably still a long time more. Just like a Gameloft, Com2uS / Gamevil, and anyway all freemium Dev's.

  • Revengercm

    Screw your greedy game.

  • Themostunclean

    I really hate all the EA bashing, it's a waste of time and energy. Most of the larger studios under their umbrella still have enough sway to release good games anyway.

    That said, EA subscribes to that destructive business model of infinite growth which is completely delusional and destructive.

    • Stormourner

      I'm with ya because I don't waste my simplest time with anti-EA bashing. if peter molyneux took the Dungeon Keeper IPs with him then F2P Dungeon Keeper won't happen

  • Nick Smith

    I'm always one of the first to praise premium and demonize F2P on the forums(nodoctors), and even I find no reason to celebrate in this situation. These people lost their jobs, most likely taking orders directly from EA to create this god awful abuse of a franchise, but EA gets to stay, continuing to make money off of that app, and those people don't even have a chance to prove themselves with a real project. I'll celebrate if this means EA is done with F2P, but we all know the reality of this situation. Nobody wins, F2P is still here to stay, and those people are out of jobs. What a celebration.

  • Mac Ish

    its always sad to see a studio being closed especially if the blame for the bad reviews of the title is hardly the developers fault.
    Its no like EA is pushing their studios forcefully to implement the tyriads of iap sinkholes. It was for sure not the teams descision to go overboard on iap prices and ridiculous mechanics. Thoose are usualy the handywork of the "monetization specialists" who knock on your door send by ea, with a grin on their face, dollar signs in their eyes and a dead kitten in their briefcase.

    Most devs want to make good games, are gamers at heart and if it would be their call would not try such bs on their customers. But its rarely their call to make. Bigger independant studios are a rare thing nowerdays and if you are not independant some "manager" will tell you what todo.

    my sympathy to all who lost their job and i hope they find another one in a more friendly enviroment where they can actually unleash their creativity and are not pushed down by management.

    good luck out there!

  • Marvin

    I'll always remember DAoC as my first real MMORPG. I'll always remember in the PVP battlegrounds where I went against a red and yellow warriors and another red rogue with my infiltrator all at once. I kited them so hard it was unbelievable and i very loudly cheered my victory. It may seem insignificant to some but doing something like that was a great moment in all the years of gaming I've experienced. This game have WoW a chance to become what it has.

  • Marvin

    Gave** Wow

    • Marvin

      Bah I'm an idiot lol

  • thiagovscoelho

    EA themselves slapped some imps — game implementors, that is

  • gamerpro2134

    How tragic? Not.

  • worldcitizen1919

    I think that it was the management that should have been sacked for making financial decisions in games that wrecked their appeal. Had EA made games that concentrated on fun people would have spent enough to make their studio very profitable and keep them in employ. This is ultimately what happens when greed takes hold. You lose not win.

  • g0omba

    Good. You ripped us off with our dumb IAP's and see w

  • Dueler

    Still don't get why people mourn the developers and shield them with some infallible defense of it's all EA's fault, like the devs finished the game and EA just came in and threw some iAP at it.
    There was obviously a development process wherein back and forths were had and your dev's agreed to build the game with a mega scum iAP model. Even if they didn't want to do it, they work for EA, they have been the scum of the industry for a long time now so they knew exactly who they were going to be working for and what they would have to produce.
    Don't kid yourself anyway, one fiscal projection from the EA suits and your devs were sold whole heatedly on the scum iAP. Don't defend them.

    • Sorwen

      Its because EA is know for pushing features on studios and suddenly cutting time to deadlines in spite of what is actually going on. They see even MMOs and consumables rather than investments. As to them knowing EA had just started to gain the rep they have now when Mythic had to sell to them. People forget that many of these compaines were snatched up within a relatively short time frame. It was the same devil deal that we would see again a little over a year later(16 months) with BioWare.

      EA was the publisher on Warhammer. WAR was an ambitions game that required a lot of capital and EA fronted them the additional they needed. Eventually they started pushing for the cutting/changing of features and deadlines while Mythic took the brunt of what that mean in development time and additional money. The point came when they couldn't keep up any more and EA made the move to buy them. After that they don't get a choice it is either file bankruptcy which means ruing peoples lives or make the best of a bad situation and take the offer.

      After that they work for EA and where before they had most of the creative control EA is known for allowing almost next to none. They are not known for their back and forth but dictating exactly what features they require of the game and the developers are only allowed what freedom they can fit within those requirements. If time/money doesn't warrant the additional features they wanted those go to the wayside first.

      BioWare just had it worse because they were stuck between a rock(EA) and a hard place(Lucas Arts).

  • jForsythe

    The studio got what it deserved it was just a matter of time.
    It is a shame about the ppl losing their jobs thou.

  • Morgan01

    It's a shame people lost their jobs. EA pulls the strings and any failure of one of their development teams is EA's own fault. The one pushing for the Freemium are the dogs on top. Mystic was a victim of upper management's bad decisions.

    • Morgan01

      Opps, meant "big dogs" on top....

  • cassus

    Crikey... Did not know Mythic was behind that awful game.. Used to play DAoC back in the day as well. Lovely game. Warhammer was flawed as all hell though.. Still sad to see EA mistreat the team like this.. First give them a bum project and then firing everyone....

    Doesn't say anything about free to play. This is all about EA being EA.

  • NinjaKitteh

    This actually is something to celebrate. A really good group of devs just got cut loose to actually work on good games again, now that they aren't stuck under EA's large thumb comprised entirely of money.

  • http://www.nafna.com/ nadav bar kama

    i wish the individuals and teams from Mythic that are in this industry for the love of the craft, find the strength and means to keep on doing what they love doing.

    the F2P and IAP debate is a waste of time, its a very pragmatic and good solution for un-legandry developers (not mentioning a 450,000 marketing budget!!!) to have a chance at some mass exposure, and for players to have a taste before spend.

    developers can implement IAP in vary forms; from total abusive and manipulative to what i consider my personal favorite: FREEMIUM2.0 .

    if you don't like a game, don't pay, don't play. but in the name of common sense; how can you dislike a theoretical business model.

    and if you do feel "schadenfreude", well, thats your problem, and it defiantly is a problem.

  • DARK-SPIRIT

    Great news.

    • http://gquiller.tumblr.com/ gquiller

      How is this good news for those out of a job???

  • Cookies

    Fortunately, this is a market where lone developers can actually do awesome stuff. Hopefully these guys will still have the opportunity to make good games outside of EA's grasp.

  • Shaun Vavra

    I've been a gamer for a long time and throughtout the years I have watched EA grow into what it is today. It is obvious to me that they care little for their customers or their employes. I stopped buying their games a longtime ago. When Mythic sold Dark Age of Camelot to EA is when I jumped ship. The folks running EA are clueless and that is sad for the industry, because they could produce some of the finest games in the industry. At this point, I will never buy an EA game. There is so much happening with independent developers now that the future looks bright and beautiful for gaming. I intend to spend my hard earned money with the Indy's. For over 30 years computer gaming has been my hobby and I hope I'll have another 30 years to see what they come up with next. To all the producers, programmers and artist out there that create these fantastic games, we love you. :)

    • Science Advisor

      EA was that 10 years ago, and they keep impressing with moves like this. Now Mythic is free to go to KS and get back to making real games. EA is dying, I say we let it.