Interview: Russell Williams of Flying Lab Software

Many of you have read about the upcoming game Pirates of the Burning Sea, and have followed its progress through beta reviews from many sites. Kevin Stoner took his opportunity sitting with Russell Williams, CEO of Flying Lab Software, to explore the company and what makes it work.

I sat down to talk with Russell Williams to speak about the new game Pirates of the Burning Sea. Pirates of the Burning Sea is an MMOG set in 1720 where the seas were unruly and could only be tamed by the boldest of seafaring men and women. But more specifically about Flying Labs Software, a company with one good title under its belt (Rails Across America), and one which is on hold for an indeterminate amount of time (Delta Green).

I asked Russell to tell me what makes this game unique amongst the other MMO games. Russell explained that pirates are always an exciting concept, and since they have such a long history it allows for lots of material to work with. He also explained that this game can be taken as casual, and allows a player to spend some time on it without needing to spend every day to keep up. For instance ship combat in this game is not based on the level of the character but rather on the skill a character has. It is not level specific.

Russell explained that Flying Labs has a very friendly approach to employees since the company is privately funded by its principals. This allows the company a freedom from investors that means they can explore with no need to have someone looking over their shoulder. Russell himself is heavily involved with the design process and brings a lot of productive arguments to the table. Russell brings with him a management experience from working at Microsoft and insists that after managing at Microsoft, this company has a much more even keel.

Russell said he never believed in the concept of an open beta, and pirates will not see one. He does tell us that they are always looking to improve, however, and will take on beta testers whenever they can. He believes that the testers prove two markets, one in making that game better and another in telling friends about how cool the beta was.

I asked him about foreign markets, and Russell believes that this game will be huge in other markets since it offers a new type of experience and was around testing long before other pirate games. He believes that the fan base that exists now while in Beta will expand to fit a global market.

As I left the booth I looked upon the people seated before the tables where they had the game available for play. It did appear to generate quite a stir and I look forward to bringing you more as this game develops.

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