Set in the backdrop of the SMITE North American Championship we caught up with Todd Harris. Our earlier interview with the COO focused on how Hi-Rez Studios, an Atlanta-based independent game developer and self publisher, has gone from a small company with one ambitious product to one with over 150 employees, three games and a sequel for Global Agenda, its freshman entry, in the works. It’s early products had only a handful of partnerships, be they technology integrations to expanding the community through localization support. That all changed when SMITE blew up.
SMITE started small. It was on the radar due to positive critical reception of Tribes Ascend. But it was in a genre that was, and remains, all the rage at the time: multiplayer online battle arena. The war between god-based pantheons past and current and a third-person perspective gave the title its unique features. Hi-Rez continued building it and a community followed. Then came the partnerships, from Twitch and Curse integration to international arrangements for Latin America and China.
But how does all this happen? What does it entail? Which company is reaching out to which? Why’s the sky blue and where have all the cowboys gone? Perhaps, like me, you’re more interested in how the non-obvious partnerships can positively impact the community. More players is great, as it begets more money for additional development, but we gamers want details on a direct impact. Our short interview with Todd Harris after the cut has the answers.