Michael McCormick, the lead designer of Zynga’s incredibly popular Facebook title CityVille that boasts nearly 47 million monthly active users, has recently left the company to become the director of game design for Idle Games.
McCormick will be taking on the role two weeks ahead of Idle Games’ new title, Idle Worship, a game described as “a throw-back to Peter Molyneux and EA’s Black & White.” His position involves him overseeing further development of the god-game title, bringing with him over twenty years of experience to the studio. Previously, McCormick has worked with companies such as Playfirst, Backbone Entertainment, Electronic Arts, and HumaNature Studios.
McCormick has expressed excitement at the chance for working for the studio:
“I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the industry’s biggest players on the frontiers of emerging genres and platforms… To say that Idle Games is doing new things in the social space is an understatement, and I couldn’t be more excited to join the team.”
Idle Games CEO and co-founder, Jeffrey Hyman, has been recently quoted as saying:
“When we started Idle Games our core mission was to make wholly original and truly social games driven by creativity and fun, limited only by our imaginations… Michael embodies these values and has a proven track record of innovation and success. Really, he’s quite a god in the gaming industry. The perfect fit for Idle Worship.”
Idle Worship is scheduled for release on March 14.
Analysis: After just releasing its own platform, I wouldn’t be surprised if this move by McCormick affects Zynga more than one may expect. The move from Facebook was already going to be a big change for the company, and losing a key member isn’t going to help matters during this transition period. How this will affect any new titles under development from the studio is unknown at this point. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if this didn’t affect Zynga at all, either, especially when you take into consideration their tendency to be quite liberal with their inspiration for game ideas.
As for Idle Worship, I’m in the growing minority that has never played a social game on Facebook or any other social network. Up until this point, none have really struck me as interesting or worth wasting my time on. However, this new title by Idle Games certainly has me intrigued and I might even check it out when it’s released in two weeks. Consisting of art and animation no other social game has utilized up to this point, combined with the promise of synchronous gameplay and eliminating the spamming of your friends, it appears Idle Games has the same problems with the platform that I do. Needless to say, I’m interested to see whether the developer can keep its promise of providing a deeper, more involved social game.