Mark Jacobs Resurfaces, Pretty Fly For An Old White Guy


Mark Jacobs, Mythic founder, former CEO and person whose picture appears in the dictionary next to the word “irrepressible”, is interviewed by Forbes about his new game company, City State Nation Continent Entertainment.

“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.”

In fact, Jacobs said that three of the people on his staff have never played a game before they were hired at City State. “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.”

You might ask what sort of game City State of the Invincible Overlord Entertainment is making, and Mark (via his website) might tell you.

What kind of games do you make?

None; we just started.

Or not. Hey, I bet the press release might say!

City State Entertainment is a brand-focused studio creating intellectual property for the mobile, tablet and social networking spaces.

At any rate, expect many more jokes about the name, because really.

  • I certainly hope he’s not crazy enough to try and launch a new MMO in this market…

  • Polynices

    “City State of the Invincible Overlord” is a really wonderful old school reference. Scott is awesome (almost called you Lum).

  • River

    Can I have a job?

  • Celestian

    Judges Guild name? “City State of the Invincible Overlord”

  • Xaldin

    Meh another tablet “MMO” making company. I can go down the list of apps and find a hundred such games. Having 101 won’t really matter.

  • MissFruitypie

    Eagerly awaiting the launch of Eyeball Collector Social!

  • “City State of the Invincible Overlord!”  Way to trigger the “I remember that!” reflex!  I remember that!  It occupies a spot in memory right next to The Arduin Gimore and Snit’s Revenge for reasons to obscure to go into.

    Meanwhile, how many references is Mr. Jacobs trying to squeeze into a single avatar there?

  • OMG Ardiun Grimoire! Now THAT is oldschool!

  • Jeremy Thornhill


    “I’m making Yet Another Farmville Clone, so why would I bother paying real salaries to people with real experience making videogames?”

  • Seems that his new company’s main corporate objective is not to hire another Paul Barnett.

  • gx1080

    As much as the “hardcore” gamers don’t want to hear it, social games are actually viable, unlike pissing away money trying to clone WoW.

    I much prefer this (and the F2P rebirths) to the 2008-2010 run. Which was, you know, gruesome.

    • Jeremy Thornhill

      So, do you think that the key to making a social game that doesn’t suck is to hire people who don’t know anything about videogames? No stock in the whole “those who do not understand the past are doomed to repeat it” thing, etc?

      “Social games” as a whole have potential, but the way this press release reads I have zero reason to expect anything interesting from Mr. Jacobs, who appears to simply be the latest “real developer” to catch onto the low-budget high volume shovelware craze. I mean, our shining example of success in this genre has to be CivWorld, which is maybe 25% of the way towards being a good videogame.

      Hey, maybe Glitch is better. It seems as if I don’t need facebook to play it, so there’s that to its credit at least.

      At this point, it seems like “Clone Farmville” is just a cheaper version of “Clone WoW” that can be done with fewer, less qualified people. If Jacobs proves otherwise, I’ll happily eat my words, but um, he hasn’t done much to inspire confidence lately.

      • gx1080

        A social game isn’t geared to the people who “know about videogames” (read: “hardcore” gamers).

        Deal with it.

        • A Man In Black

          Are you seriously suggesting that having experience in making video games means that you’re incapable of making games for anyone but “hardcore gamers”?

        • Jeremy Thornhill

          Oh gx1080, I have an episode of the Simpsons for you!


    • JuJutsu

      I don’t care if they’re viable. I’m not interested in playing them and, as a consequence, not really interested in news about them. I’d be just as interested in Marc Jacobs starting a pickle factory.

  • Couldn’t agree more. While its depressing how crappy most social games are, the potential there is still amazing. Having talented developers steadily entering the space is a good sign I think.

  • Naladini

    So far, sounds like Prestige Worldwide….

  • Vetarnias

    I went through the archives of this site, to recover a comment I remembered writing last year on Lum’s entry about Farmville and Raph Koster’s embrace of social gaming:

    “So developers all had the epiphany that if they couldn’t convince more
    existing gamers to pick up their game, they would have to turn everyone
    into gamers, the proverbial “casuals”. But they understood why
    “casuals” did not become gamers, and thought these casuals needed to be
    lured with ease of access, so these games were made ultra-accessible,
    unchallenging, and cutesy.”

    Now we get the natural conclusion of the trend: hiring people who wouldn’t fit in the gamer demographic, not in the manner of Bobby “I-don’t-care-for-games-but-I-know-how-to-make-money” Kotick, but in the manner of hiring the first person off the street (with the appropriate CV) and telling them to design a game.  It might work, and they might avoid including the same mistakes that go unquestioned because they’re the norm; but it might also be like asking Homer Simpson to design your car.

  • If Mark does open a pickle factory I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

    • Whatev

      If he does, and you do, please specify if it is spectral, or just regular-type.

  • dartwick

    Focusing on hiring minorities and then adding a few non-gamers sounds a sure fire route to success.

  • Moxcamel

    “City State of the Invincible Overlord”: Worst. Porn. Name. Evar.

  • John Smith

    It seems we have to rely on the koreans to once again revitalize the mmorpg industry. 

  • Vetarnias

    @8cd8ec031435b2af025ced854e22de13:disqus I’d be more tempted to look to Europe.  Korean MMOs are entrenched in their old ways and won’t change, especially not at the behest of American customers.

  • Watcher

    What is ‘brand-focused studio’ supposed to mean?

    • Worldy

      The same thing as all the innumerable “mission statements” and their buzzwords: absolutely nothing, while looking impressive to … well, to someone.

  • Vetarnias

    That everything is in the name.  Like Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, or Richard Garriott.

  • Guy

    Hopefully the people he hired who don’t play games, aren’t involved in the game design (but perhaps coding the game). Although if it’s a social game, maybe there’ll barely be a game there at all.

  • Hiring people with no experience in gaming, to make a game, is an act of egotistical elitism.   The inexpereienced employees with either be dead weight or screw up their jobs or be massive investment in training. 

    The most interesting aspect is the “company” is completely ignoring the current economy and going for it.  It’s a doomed effort but kudos for trying, Mark.

    • Fraeg

      Hello there, I work for a very large research organization.  Many key people we hire are not in fact scientists, we would be fucked without them.  We hire them because they know their shit, whatever that poo might be. They are not dead weight, they just don’t happen to be biologists, hydrologist, or chemists.  Again, we would be fucked without them.

      • Whatev

        Do you hire people who have never read a book?  Because hiring who’s never played a game is more like that than hiring someone who isn’t a scientist for research.

      • John Smith

         You may hire non-scientists, but you don’t hire those non-scientists to do SCIENCE, now do you? No doubt, every large company needs it’s mail room staff, janitors, secretaries, and other forms of low-paid, under appreciated labor, but when you need science done… you go to your the scientists.

        I do see the point in why a company would bring in some non-gamers in order to make games. It is good to have an outside perspective occasionally. But a non-gamer shouldn’t be part of the core driving force for game creation.  I certainly don’t see why someone would advertise to other gamers that they are specifically staffing their department with the inexperienced and uninitiated.

        It’s kinda like saying “we are putting together the best medical team ever. Everyone is fresh out of law school so it goes without saying that they have no idea what they are doing but they are really smart people and we have a great vision. As lawyers they bring an interesting prospective to this whole medical mumbo jumbo that you old floomzies stuck in your ways might come to appreciate.” But what do I know, if a southern strip miner can convince millions that he is actually the champion of saving the environment, perhaps this could work as well.

      • Worldy

        One hopes, however, that you’re not hiring them to be biologists, hydrologists, or chemists.

  • /facepalm