View Full Forums : Big news for Asheron's Call


DemonMage
12-18-2003, 07:03 AM
Turbine is buying the Asheron's Call franchise back from Microsoft,and will have full control of it. Wonderful news for them and AC players. And to top it off, they are finnaly doing a second expansion pack for AC, which will include a graphical update.

Here are the various letters about it(ala insert LONG press babble, with some useful information for your viewing pleasure =-p)
-----------------

Micrsoft letter to Subscribers:

To the Asheron's Call community,

Microsoft has reached an agreement by which the "Asheron's Call" franchise will be sold back to the games' creator, Turbine Entertainment Software. This sale includes "Asheron's Call," "Asheron's Call: Dark Majesty," and "Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings."

As part of this agreement, Turbine will completely take over operations of the "Asheron's Call" franchise.

However this transition will take several months to complete. In the interim, Microsoft Game Studios and Turbine are working together to ensure a smooth transition for the player base. We will make it a point to communicate any changes or disruptions to the player base.

What does this mean to you the subscriber? Initially, there will be no visible changes at all. Microsoft will continue to own authentication and billing for the entire franchise for the foreseeable future.

We'd like to thank you for your continued support over the years in helping make the "Asheron's Call" franchise the success it is today.

Sincerely,

Microsoft Asheron's Call Team

-------------------------------

Microsoft Media Alert:

Microsoft Game Studios Agrees To Sell Asheron's Call Franchise To Turbine Entertainment Software
Microsoft® Game Studios today announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell the massively multiplayer online gaming franchise "Asheron's Call" back to the games' creator, Turbine Entertainment Software Corporation. The franchise transfer includes all "Asheron's Call" intellectual properties, including "Asheron's Call®," "Asheron's Call: Dark Majesty®" and "Asheron's Call 2©: Fallen Kings™."

"Asheron's Call" is a critically acclaimed massively multiplayer role-playing franchise that draws together thousands of players within a dynamic, evolving fantasy world. The original title launched in 1999 and has since spawned an expansion pack, "Asheron's Call Dark Majesty" and an award-winning sequel, "Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings." The "Asheron's Call" franchise is best known for its episodic updates, which provided new additional game features and storyline content every month.

"We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with Turbine. 'Asheron's Call' has been a strong contributor to the success of both companies and has enjoyed critical acclaim as a ground-breaking title in the evolution of the massively multiplayer online community," said Adam Waalkes, Microsoft Game Studios role-playing studio manager. "We are proud of our accomplishments with 'Asheron's Call,' and we wish Turbine success with the franchise in the future."

Microsoft and Turbine began their partnership in 1996, resulting in the successful launch and run of "Asheron's Call." During the change of ownership, Microsoft will provide transition services for a limited time, including testing and billing services. Specific details regarding on-going operations of the "Asheron's Call" franchise will be announced in the near future.

About Turbine Entertainment

Turbine Entertainment Software Corporation is a leading global provider of online subscription entertainment. Formed in 1994, Turbine is the largest and oldest online studio in New England. The company's proprietary Turbine Engine™ generates some of the most sophisticated 3D graphics in the world, producing such memorable projects as Asheron's Call,® Asheron's Call: Dark Majesty,® and Asheron's Call 2:® Fallen Kings.™ Turbine is currently developing The Lord of the Rings: Middle-Earth Online™ and Dungeons & Dragons Online.™ For more information, visit the company's web site at www.turbinegames.com.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for Windows®, Xbox® video game system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games/), including such franchises as Age of Empires®, Flight Simulator and Zoo Tycoon®; Xbox (http://www.xbox.com/), including such franchises as Halo®, Project Gotham Racing® and NFL Fever; and Zone.com (http://www.zone.com/), the official games channel for the MSN® network and home to such hits as Bejeweled and OutSmart(tm).


For more information, press only:
Stone Chin, Edelman, (206) 223-1606, stone.chin@edelman.com
Jason Wonacott, Turbine Entertainment Software, (781) 407-4153, jwonacott@turbinegames.com

----------------------------------------------

<a href="http://www.microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/return_faq.htm">Microsoft FAQ</a>

----------------------------------------------

Executive Producer of AC1 and AC2 letter:

Some regular players have been sending me PMs asking where I’ve been lately, since I haven’t been spending as much time on the boards as I normally do. If you haven’t seen the press release that Turbine is acquiring the Asheron’s Call franchise from Microsoft: Surprise! Now you know what I’ve been spending my time on.

All of us on the Live Team for both AC games consider this the best holiday gift that could happen. The AC world was born ten years ago as a dream by some university students to turn out great online worlds, Microsoft made it possible for the dream to come true and we’re grateful beyond belief to them, truly. Just the same, it feels good to have the games coming home.

No doubt there will be hundreds of questions you want answered. Over the next few weeks, we’ll answer as many as we can. Right now, I’ll anticipate a few of them by making several points:

This changing of the guard is going to take some time. The change-over from Microsoft running the in-game admins, testing, network operations, et al, to Turbine running them won’t happen overnight. In fact, it will take months. We’ll keep you up-to-date on what we’re doing as we go along.

In the meantime, we’re looking to hire some people, :D. If you ever wanted to get in the door at a shop that makes and publishes online games, this could be your chance. Check out the job listings on Turbine’s web site. You can check out the open positions, create a registered login and submit a resume. I hope you do; we’re looking for good people to help make this go.

Yes, we’re committed to developing expansion packs for the games. Again, this is going to take some time. We’ll be starting with AC1, since it has been two years since they’ve seen an expansion. When we get closer to having a schedule, we’ll announce it. I stress one more time: It will take some time to start putting all this together. Don’t expect definitive answers in the next few days.
During the transition, we’ll still be creating and delivering playable content. However, some game systems and other heavy-lifting items may be pushed out, as we’ll also be building some tools for Turbine’s Online Services Group, which will be handling tech support, in-game admin-ing and the like for Asheron’s Call. If any previously announced feature needs to get pushed out, we’ll let you know as soon as we know it.
This is a very exciting time for us and I hope you share that same sense of excitement. There is a lot to do. As we transition the services from Microsoft to Turbine, I ask for your patience while we make it happen.

Regards,
Jessica Mulligan
Executive Producer, Asheron’s Call 1 and 2

-------------------------------------------------------

Letter from the AC Live Team:

By now, you’ve seen the announcements and the press releases; Turbine is buying the Asheron’s Call franchise from Microsoft and taking over operation of the game. It’s true.

Now that you’ve had the chance to pick your jaw up off the floor, I’d like to take a moment to talk to you, our fans, on behalf of the team. We’re at the start of a very exciting and challenging time for AC1. Before I say anything else, I’d like to say thank you to all of you who play this game every month. It’s because of you, our loyal players, that we have this opportunity. So, to each and every one of you: Thanks. You rock.

You’ll notice that I described this time as both exciting and challenging. I’m not kidding. Don’t expect to see sweeping changes overnight; the transition period is going to take months. There is a whole customer service infrastructure to build out, new tools to be built, people to hire… it is going to take some doing. Right now, we don’t think all that is going to affect the monthly content greatly; the Content Team is going to continue working and delivering monthly updates during this period. Some months may be lighter in content than you’re used to, but we don’t think it will be extreme. If that has to change for any reason, we’ll let you know immediately.

I’m sure that as soon as you read this announcement, your first question was, “Will Turbine develop an expansion pack for AC1?”

Does Bobo like nanners?

Yes, we are going to be making an expansion pack for AC1. But I have to warn you, don’t expect it soon; it is a good ways off. Actual dates will be released later as we discuss with you what you want to see in it and firm up the design details. I can tell you this, though: Graphics update? You bet!

I know you have dozens, if not hundreds, of other questions about the transition and our plans for AC1. Jessica, myself, and other members of the team are going to be spending a lot of time addressing them with all of you in the next weeks and months. We’re asking you to be patient; we’re going to be very busy here over the coming weeks and months, but we promise we’ll be speaking with you regularly.

Once again, I want to say how excited the whole team is for this opportunity and how grateful we are that you’ll be along with us for the ride. I hope you’re as excited as we are!

See you in Dereth!

- Alex “Ibn” Beckers