Why did you choose to leave the games industry when you did? I know it’s maybe not permanent, but why, at least, take a break?
JR: Well, there are a lot of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that, again. Going back to my friends who are directors: they work their tails off at directing. But at the end of a movie they say “I’d love to do that next film. I can start in two or three months”, and they take two or three months and kind of regain their creative energy, regain their brainpower. They spend a little time.
You don’t do that in the games industry. There’s always a Christmas coming up, unfortunately. I would love to have Christmas every two years. Saint Nick won’t do it, we asked him. Wouldn’t do it for the game companies. Toy companies, you know, their lobby was against that. And you’re always behind schedule. Huge teams. Usually you’ve started your next project as you’re ending your current project.
I needed a break. And it was good for me to step back and look at other mediums. Got excited about comics, loved movies again, played on the internet, ended up starting an internet company as you know, flektor.com.
So I just looked at a lot of other mediums. I’ve certainly thought about getting back into games after a short break, and I got caught up in the internet site, love doing that, got caught up in the comic book, love doing that. Would love to get back into games. You know, I’m a gamer heart. That’s what I’ve done my entire life, give or take the last two years.
But I still have things going on in the games industry here or there. I really like casual games. I think that’s a great expansion of the game industry. I’ve been working a little bit with the Oberon guys, which is one of the bigger casual game [developers].
I didn’t know that.
JR: Just kind of talking to them, advising them, kind of paying attention to that. So, I’m doing stuff in games. And I would love to get back into it at some time. But the vacation was needed. And if I go back into games, I feel like I’d make better games, because I’ve had time to look at the rest of the world, and rest.
Well, you’ve also been able to dabble in some other… well, “dabble” is too light of a word. But, you’ve been able to try your hand at other media at well, which could, I would imagine, have a good effect on your creativity.
JR: Absolutely. I’ve never thought so much about story, character relationships, things like that before, because it just wasn’t necessary in games. So to go back into a game at this point, with that background, would be really helpful for me, because I would do the work, regardless of whether it showed up in the game or not, and I think it would help the property and help the game that I make.
And I’ll think I’ll stay doing comics. I really like the writing. You know, there are certain aspects of not having to worry about the interactivity that are good. And I would like to continue to do both.
Yeah, you can really direct the reader through a story that way, because they can’t just spend the whole time making the character crouch in front of a toilet.
JR: Correct. There’s no bugs in comics, which is nice. It’s the first time I’ve done something where it won’t crash halfway through the comic. And that’s nice.
Typos, though. You’ve got typos. Closest thing.
JR: There are typos. And actually, there is one logical inconsistency in the book that I did find already. So nothing’s perfect. None of my games are perfect, none of my comics will ever be perfect. But yeah, it’s nice to be able to take the character exactly where you want, show the angle you want, without regard to whether or not someone would be able to control the character in that scene.
Now that you’ve done these other things, and they’ve been lucrative for you, do you think you would be able to be in a stage, when you got back in to games, where you could just wait until a game was “done” to put it out?
JR: To put the game out?
What I mean is, if you were back into games, are you now in a position where you can be like, “alright, we’re gonna work on this game until it’s done. We’re not necessarily gonna worry about Christmas. We’re just gonna make this game, until it’s the game that it needs to be.”
JR: Well, I don’t want to give the impression that Christmas was a negative, necessarily. We did the games that could be done in the amount of time they could be done. And I’m sure there’s a game that could take 20 years that would be greater than all other games ever made.
But from a practical level, that doesn’t make sense. I’ve always believed that when you’re making entertainment, you need to keep in mind who’s gonna see it, when they’re gonna see it. Movies are made that way: are you a summer release? Are you a winter release? I think the problem I had was that, after hitting Christmas, I never had a break to get my mind to rest.
But I don’t have a problem with deadlines. I have a problem with deadlines, followed by additional deadlines, followed by additional deadlines. And Sony was very good as a publisher about letting us do the game we needed to do.