Fairfax-based video game studio Mythic Entertainment, creator of the “Dark Age of Camelot” series, is closing its doors.
Electronic Arts, the California gaming giant that acquired Mythic in 2006, said it was shutting down the Fairfax location to “concentrate mobile development in our other studio locations.”
The company added that it would work with Mythic employees to “provide assistance in finding new opportunities, either within EA or with other companies via an upcoming job fair.”
Mythic’s shutdown marks the loss of a Washington gaming stalwart, but the region is still home to others, such as Rockville-based ZeniMax Media. ZeniMax is the parent company of the highly successful Bethesda Softworks and Firaxis Games, among others.
Mythic Entertainment rose to prominence when Massively Multiplayer Online games were becoming increasingly popular during the 1990s and early 2000s. The company was renamed EA Mythic after being acquired.
One of Mythic’s most popular titles remains “Dark Age of Camelot,” a medieval role-playing game that came out in 2001. The company also produces “Ultima Online,” another long-running MMO game.
More recently, Mythic faced criticism for some of its work. A mobile game called “Dungeon Keeper” was supposed to be free, but gamers and critics said it required players to make several expensive in-app purchases in order to keep playing.
EA’s decision to close Mythic is a signal that role-playing games have become less popular, said Michael Pachter, a gaming industry analyst with WedBush Securities.
Such games “have fallen from favor, so [there’s] no need to keep people who specialize in them,” Pachter wrote in an e-mail.
Still, news of Mythic’s closing sparked discussion on gaming forums, with some users waxing nostalgic about the company’s work.
“RIP Mythic. Dark Age of Camelot was great in its day,” wrote user Ikthog on Kotaku, a gaming review Web site.
“I wish everyone at that studio the best; you’re all some of my favorite folks in this business,’ wrote another named Jack Kerras.
Other gamers were less sentimental.
“Mythic was just a brand, and the actual developers that made that brand worth anything left long ago,” wrote a user named Lathmeer on IGN, a gaming news site.
In February, former Mythic co-founder Rob Denton and a few employees set up a studio called Broadsword Online Games that continued to partner with EA Mythic.
After EA’s announcement, Denton posted a message to reassure customers.
Broadsword “will continue to partner with EA to invest in the community, operations and continued development of both Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot,” Denton, president of Broadsword Online Games, wrote on the company’s Web site. “The spirit and brand of Mythic will continue to live on in both of these gaming communities.”
Sterling-based tech company Fixmo, which creates security software for mobile devices, has agreed to sell its United States business division to Good Technology, a software firm headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The announcement comes about a year after Good Technology filed a lawsuit against Fixmo in April of 2013 in the U.S. District Court in Texas’ Northern District, according to Good Technology. The lawsuit alleged that Fixmo infringed upon Good Technology’s patents related to technology that would let users securely access business information through mobile devices.
Good Technology plans to incorporate Fixmo’s Sentinel Integrity Services, a mobile device tamper detection and verification system for both public and private sector clients. Fixmo developed the system under a cooperative research and development agreement with the Defense Department.
After the acquisition is complete, Good Technology plans to expand its employee base, according to the company.
— Mohana Ravindranath
Revolution Growth, the Ted Leonsis and Steve Case-led venture capital fund, has invested a reported $30 million in an Oakland, Calif.-based food company known for its healthy meal kits for kids — Revolution Foods. Case will join the Revolution Foods board. The investment is to help Revolution Foods, founded in 2006, expand its new school meal service and line of ready-to-eat meal kits into more schools and stores. The kids meals are available in 2,000 grocery stores, including Safeway, Vons and HEB. The $30 million figure was reported in the New York Times.
— Thomas Heath
The Download’s regular columnist, Steven Overly, was out of town last week. He’ll be back next week.