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From God To Cock: Mike Wilson On GameCock's Publishing Party
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From God To Cock: Mike Wilson On GameCock's Publishing Party

August 29, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 7 Next

Are you actually funding the games to completion?

MW: Yeah, again, Harry and I, my partner and I, both came from working at game developers. Like, I cut my teeth at id Software, I was their marketing guy for Doom and Quake, and then I left and started Ion Storm with John Romero and then God Games. And Harry also, and being a business guy on the development side is like being a band manager, you fight with the label, you help them manage their image and whatever, and we understand that side of it.

We understand what it’s like to work on a project for two or three years and for everyone to really care about it. I don’t think most of these Wall Street golf-course jockeys understand that. And I think that’s when you get a total lack of respect for the artist. I think they look at these game developers as contractors that they hire to get something done. And we look at them as entertainment artists that we want to... we just want to be the path of least resistance. So we fund the games, we do the big marketing budgets, we do the whole thing just like Activision or anybody else, it’s just a different mindset. Basically we just check our ego as a publisher.

We believe the artists are the value and we’re basically trained monkeys. [laughs] I mean seriously, we do marketing and PR. I mean, compared to creating a mind-blowing experience with your two hands.

Wideload Games' 'political party game' Hail to the Chimp, to be published by Gamecock

Still, you have to choose which people are going to be able to make mind-blowing experiences.

MW: Yeah, and that’s really why we’re back. Even though we sort of didn’t get to the finish line last time, we had to sell to the sort of same evil bastards we struck out against, I went back to work to Take-Two, I took a break and they hired me back, and I was like “Really, why? I kind left like ‘f*ck you’”, and I found out why when I went back... nearly everything we did made money. And a lot of the games made a lot of money. Like we had eight million-unit-sellers on the PC.

And we were only around for two and a half years before we sold. So that’s why they were hiring me back but they wanted me to go “Look, it’s Mike!” and I was bringing in all these great developers and then they were like “Oh look, it’s big ugly lawyer time!” and so whatever I told the artists didn’t really make a sh*t, so it didn’t really work out, but it gave me that... you know, we left, we kind of felt like we failed, and again, we made money, the developers made money all that, it wasn’t what we set out to do.

And it really wasn’t until I was an insider at the company that bought us until I realized just how well we did, and it turned into “Wow, we really need to do this one more time”.

A lot of these companies, Take-Two is certainly one because they’re in trouble right now, hide a lot of things from a lot of people. A lot of stuff happens behind closed doors. You don’t know how much money people are making, you don’t know how many units have sold, stuff like that. Is that something that you think is going to change, from your perspective?

MW: For us, I mean... again, I just want to be a dream to work with for Alex [Seropian], and all the Alexes out there. So our deal is totally transparent, accounting and everything, they see the same sales numbers we see, we send them the same reports we get from everybody. I’m just like “here they are”. They see the whole marketing budget, where every dollar goes, and they sign off on it. Because I’ve been on the artists’ side of things too, I made a couple of films while I was taking time off from the industry, and I know what it’s like to be waiting for that royalty statement, and then know that it’s a complete lie.

That they just hide every dollar that they can. It really comes down to: if you make a great game, it makes money. And if you don’t, it doesn’t, and I really don’t think that hiding five bucks here or there is gonna make or break our company. I understand why they do it, these big, bloated companies. They have so much overhead they have to wring out every nickel, because they ship 20 turds for every decent game.

But with our model, man, one hit will carry our company for five years, easy. And everybody’s laughing, the artist is rich if we do well, and we stay small and have fun. And the whole name thing, and the site... why do we have to be so f*cking serious? We’re making games.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 7 Next

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