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Feature: Beyond Lineage: Jake Song Goes XL

For today's Gamasutra feature, we present an exclusive interview with Lineage creator J...
For today's Gamasutra feature, we present an exclusive interview with Lineage creator Jake Song discusses his career history, his actual involvement with Richard Garriott and Tabula Rasa, and the upcoming MMO he's working on with his new company, XLGames. Song, whose Lineage continues to rank as the second most populated MMO currently in use, just above its own sequel, but under, of course, World of Warcraft, has had an interesting history both as distant admirer and eventually co-worker with Ultima creator Garriott. Brought in to help give Garriott's then-fledgling and then-fantasy themed Tabula Rasa international appeal, this excerpt reveals just how far the relationship went: "Jake Song (whose given name is Song Jae-kyung, but answers to the phonetically similar “Jake”) is aware of his fame through association with NCSoft and Lineage, but admits he doesn't do much to keep track of it – at least not as much by comparison to say, Richard “Lord British” Garriott, whose company in Austin was purchased by NCSoft in 2001. Song's name was used often in association with Garriott's latest game, Tabula Rasa, including at GDC 2006, when Garriott attributed the game's delays to “too many cooks in the kitchen.” Song said he still respects Garriott and his brother Robert Garriott, president of NCSoft's North American operations, and his departure from NCSoft in 2003 didn't have anything to do with them, rather a disagreement with NCSoft's founder and CEO in Seoul, Tak Jin Kim. What's more, he said, though he would often travel to Austin to sit in on meetings, his actual work on Tabula Rasa was limited to a few lines of code and “maybe one page in a design document.” You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including much more from Song on his history in the industry, and plans for his latest MMO from XLGames (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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