Paul Barnett is an English game developer with long-term experience with online games and is currently the General Manager for Mythic, overseeing the design of the MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.
Online Games Company
The Online Games Company is a small design firm located on the island of St. Helier in the English Channel, founded by Barnett in 1993. Working as a telephone system salesman at the time, he quit his job to spend nine months writing and fleshing out what would become the world for his first project, Legends of Terris, a text-based online role-playing game. Through Doug Goldner, a programmer and business partner, an engine was created and the game soon flourished, launching in 1994. Picked up by AOL, it became the highest rated game on the service for five consecutive years and their most trafficked game in history.
The company's second title, Legends of Cosrin, launched in 1999, expanding on the principles of Legend of Terris for the more experienced within the community, with more challenging gameplay and a reward system. Leased out to Freeloader.com, the constrained target demographic meant that it's success was measured on a smaller scale, the website still enjoying consistent traffic of thousands of players.
In 2001, the company created two titles licensed by Games Workshop, the makers of the hobbyist miniature and tabletop game series, Warhammer. The first, Chainsaw Warrior, was a fast-paced, freely downloadable game in which the player had sixty minutes to save New York from zombies and the evil power behind them. The second, Kingdom of Heroes, formerly known as Wolfenburg, was a collaboration with Games Workshop to create the first massively multiplayer game within the established Warhammer medieval fantasy universe.
The current state of the company and the degree of Barnett's involvement since his shift to Mythic Entertainment remains unclear.
Paul is also notable amongst his peers for his extreme enthusiasm and energy when presenting his games, being cited as one of the major reasons many people found interest in his new project, the MMORPG Warhammer Online
In the MMORPG industry, which has been criticized for more focused on creating a so-so product, making a large profit, and giving little if any after thought to the game or its players, Paul is praised for being "player focused." His innovative thinking, "outside-the-box" ideas and sometimes eccentric approach to new content for the games he has worked on, enriches them with a feel and experience unlike any other.
In October 2010, an anonymous BioWare Mythic employee due to be laid off in November posted a blog attacking the company and those in charge of Warhammer Online. The insider notes that Barnett was thought to be the "saviour" of the game's vision and design troubles, however prior decisions meant he could have little impact overall. It was also revealed Barnett was working on a then secret Ultima game for Facebook, said to be "almost universally criticized by all of us and focus groups".
- Is both dyslexic and colorblind.
- Considers collectible action figures to be "mandolls", or dolls for men.
- Took up painting when he moved to America and needed a new hobby aside from computer games.
- Considers A Bridge Too Far to be a film every Englishman should own.
- GDC 2009 at GDC 2009 - Barnett summarises his keynote about our individual golden ages, games which are light on assets, and the industry's bright future.
- E3 2010 Day 3 - Barnett introduces the Sim's gang sign, Shatner on a horse and gives the best analogy for the Wii ever created by man.
- Game of the Year 2010: Paul Barnett's Top 10
- YouTube channel - Barnett's semi-regular video blog.
- LIFT08 Conference talk - The highest watched video of the show, gaining 50,000 views in 48 hours. Barnett explains the MMO concept and compares the video game industry to Las Vegas casinos.
- Abbreviated Comic-Con 2008 talk - Barnett talks about challenging people's perceptions.
- MySpace page
- Twitter feed