Interview: Chris Pfeiffer from Jagex on Living Games, Melvor Idle and find inspiration
Last time we had the pleasure of chatting with Melvor inactivethe founder and creator of Brendan Malcolm. This week, we sat down for a quick chat with Chris Pfeiffer from Jagex to learn a bit more about the acquisition and how it all went behind the scenes. On top of that, Chris opened up and gave us amazing insight into his history with the company, his passion for the game and how Melvor inactive Aligns with Jagex’s vision for community-driven games.
MMORPG.com: We’ve heard a lot about Jagex’s promising game Melvor inactive, but I would really like to start learning more about you first. Could you tell me a bit about what you do for Jagex, how long have you been with the company? I saw recently in another article that you are now the new director of product management!
Chris Pfeiffer, Director of Product Management for Jagex: I have been with Jagex for a little over a year. I joined the publishing team to help find new games and make sure we were doing everything we could to make them a success. As the Director of Product Management, I lead our team of Product Managers and have helped here and there in the studio. As I was one of the early advocates of (addicted to) Melvor inactive, I was Brendan’s main point of contact with Jagex.
MMORPG.com: How long have you been in the gaming industry and what was your first “gaming job”?
CP: I’ve been making games for 39 years, since I was 10 with a Commodore 64. Growing up, I made little games and played with BASIC and assembly language. In college, a small team of us created a multiplayer card room simulation game called Virtual Cards. Then in 1995, I started my professional career as a programmer at Friendly Software on Greg Norman Ultimate Challenge Golf. The first day the game was in the electronics store, I went to look at the box on the store shelf. It was magical – the box even contained a real golf ball. As I stood there, a child walked up, picked up a copy of GNUCG, then bought it. At that point, I was hooked for life.
MMORPG.com: There are a lot of questions around this one. How did you come across Melvor inactive? Was it like a deep dive on indie reddit, or a screenshot on LinkedIn? What and who started this whole conversation?
CP: We first learned about the game when a member of our team reported it to us internally. We looked at the game, thought it was really interesting, and recognized how much had been accomplished and how well it aligned with RuneScape. The vision of what Brendan wanted to achieve with Melvor was aligned with our core values of what makes a game alive – so it was a natural fit for us. Also, the idea of giving this opportunity to someone from our community really got everyone in the company excited.
MMORPG.com: Can you tell me a bit more about who contacted whom and how this partnership came about?
CP: Sure. Given the similarities with RuneScape, we reached out to Brendan via Reddit and Discord to see if there was a way we could work together. Brendan was open on Melvor inactive to be inspired by RuneScape and we thought the best way to show our support for what he was trying to create was to accept that fact.
MMORPG.com: You already mentioned, “Every once in a while we come across a game and a developer that is so well aligned with our core values that it feels natural to Jagex partners”, what are some of them? the core values that you have seen resonate in Melvor Inactive?
CP: The values we are referring to here are the values that make up what we call “living games”. Deep, community-based experiences that deliver a multi-faceted player experience beyond what you would expect from a “live service”. This means games with an evergreen design, a strong focus on community, and a long-term business opportunity. Games that have the potential to last a decade, if not two decades like the RuneScape franchise. What Brendan did as a solo developer with Melvor was very similar to Jagex’s vision for community-driven games, and it did a great job of fostering a healthy and active community around Melvor inactive.
MMORPG.com: Some companies may have looked at Melvor inactive from a more competitive angle for RuneScape, but Jagex just seemed to see his potential and the passion of his solo developer. How was the general reception in the office when the game was first presented?
CP: I remember the reaction to our discussion of how we might work with Games by Malcs was overwhelmingly positive. Once the game was reported to us, it wasn’t long before most of the inside team played and found out how enjoyable it could be. The fact that they could adapt it to working hours obviously had a lot to do with it.
MMORPG.com: Were there any concerns or was everyone in agreement right away?
CP: There weren’t any concerns exactly, but there was some conversation about the proximity of the game borrowed from RuneScape in a few places and whether it infringed our intellectual property. Fortunately, we quickly came to the conclusion that this was not the case and we simply drew inspiration from RuneScape exactly the kind of manners you might expect from a fan-made project. We were all on the same page to want to support Melvor inactive not just because it was a promising game, but because it was created by a solo developer who was clearly a fan of RuneScape. So the conversation quickly turned to how exactly we could work with Brendan to move forward. The rest, as they say, is history.
MMORPG.com: It’s one thing to publish a game, but quite another to actually play it! Did you have time to play personally Melvor Inactive? If so, what’s your favorite part of the game so far?
CP: I played Melvor since I first learned about it. It was love at first sight. My favorite part about Melvor inactive is that I can have moments of joy throughout the day while doing other things. I love that I can make significant progress with minimal effort, and then do more time-consuming tasks when I’m ready to do them.
MMORPG.com: What’s the thing about Melvor inactive who really surprised and impressed you?
CP: Brendan made a lot of very smart decisions. RuneScape is complex and he figured out how to condense it into rewarding, bite-sized moments. I played both a lot RuneScape and Melvor inactive, it’s amazing that they can share so much while being such different moment-to-moment experiences.
MMORPG.com: Have you discovered any new inspiration for RuneScape after seeing all the hard work Brendan has done Melvor Inactive?
CP: Yes! And, it’s not just me. I have a lot of Jagex colleagues who play Melvor inactive – even those who are not currently playing RuneScape or Old School.
Now, some fun questions!
MMORPG.com: There are over 40 animals in Melvor inactive! Which one is your favorite and why is it the otter? If you haven’t had the chance to play yet, which pet are you hoping for?
CP: I like Chio, because he’s a big cat with a cowboy hat.
MMORPG.com: When did you start playing RuneScape?
CP: I played RuneScape on and off for over a decade.
MMORPG.com: Do you prefer Old School RuneScape Where Runescape3?
CP: Both games have their merits, recently I was intrigued by OSRS’s Iron Man group.
MMORPG.com: I only recently got my first skill, and it was… make fire. Admit it, not the coolest one, but you can probably tell a lot about someone by what they chose as their first cape. What was your first Skillcape?
CP: Magic cloak, I love magic!
MMORPG.com: Do you have any favorite quests or particular story pieces that come to mind?
CP: Monkey Madness because the monkeys; or, Desert treasure due to ancient magic.
MMORPG.com: Which god banner do you wear?
CP: Banner of Seren given his attitude towards the old gods.
MMORPG.com Would you consider adding elements or references to Melvor inactive in RuneScape?
CP: We talked about the possibility of adding RuneScape articles to Melvor inactive. I’ll discuss this idea with Brendan.