On Monday Ubisoft let the world know the exciting news about AirMech coming to Xbox 360 as AirMech Arena. This has been a big secret for us for a long time, which is strange because we are always as open and transparent about what we are doing as possible. In this case, we deferred to the wishes of Ubisoft, as they have a bit more experience in marketing and promotion than we do.
No, nothing like that. As we've said many times, we are in this for the long game, and have a very specific plan for what we want to be able to do with AirMech to keep it the game that we want. We had publisher interest from the first day we showed AirMech to the world, but time after time it would come down to some condition we could not accept, some exclusivity or control over the game that we couldn't agree with. With Ubisoft it is more of a partnership--Carbon is developing the game, crafting the Xbox 360 version ourselves, and Ubisoft is handling all the stuff they are experts at--marketing, promotion, everything we need so we can focus on the game itself.
No, it's definitely not a spin-off. The "Arena" is just there to indicate that it is the console version and is a different playerbase, different servers, etc. You can see the pattern of adding a post-title to various other games that are on multiple platforms, and this is just an example of that. The whole game is there, only some of the UI interfaces are different. It is not a port, it really is the full game.
And that means ongoing support of AirMech Arena. While the PC version remains the lead platform, Arena gets all the improvements, fixes, balance tweaks, and new content from the PC version without having to port all the content over. We have structured this in a way that makes it easier to keep AirMech up to date on all platforms. Again, we're thinking of the long plan all the time.
Good question, since there's a lot of publishers we could have gone with. Several of us have worked for Ubisoft in the past and we understand their values and feel this was a good move for everyone. I (James) worked in many of their studios around the world as a bit of a game dev mercenary, and had a direct line to their executive team in Paris and I respect them a lot. Many years ago I recall reminiscing about Herzog Zwei with some of them, so perhaps it's not so surprising we've come full circle and are working with them on AirMech.
Ubisoft has been great to work with so far. They have not tried to impose their view on the game or what it should be. They see the passionate players, and were really impressed with what we had achieved on our own. So when they asked to help us take the game to consoles--something we had trouble negotiating as F2P on our own--we felt it made the most sense.
Now a bunch of burning questions are probably jumping into your head, and unfortunately I probably can't answer them here. This comes back to where Ubisoft is the expert--they have their own plans for when to say what about the game, and what questions to answer when. Trust me they are better than we are at picking dates and sticking to them--they have had a lot of practice here.
I'll be at PAX East in a few days at the Ubisoft booth showing off the Xbox 360 version of the game. If you're a player or the press, feel free to stop by and say hi! If you need to reserve some one on one time and you are with the media, please contact Kimberly Kaspar (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve a slot.
We'll answer whatever questions we can in the forums, but I think that covers the meat of it. This is a very good thing for AirMech, and puts us on our path of having the game on every possible platform, the way Carbon intended.<< Back