It was first revealed in late 2006 that baseball legend and avid MMO fan Curt Schilling was forming a new Boston-based video game company, Green Monster Games, with Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and noted sci-fi/fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, to create what it describes as "industry-changing games", .
The company added Brett Close as president and CEO in February 2007 - the exec is a former Midway, EA, and VR1 staff member, having been involved in titles such as Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, Medal of Honor: Frontline, and debuting Nightcaster: Defeat the Darkness for Xbox launch.
Following the renaming of the company to 38 Studios, the firm has announced that one of the forthcoming titles that will "explore the new intellectual property being developed by 38 Studios" will be a massively multiplayer game that will feature the art and vision of McFarlane as well as the storytelling of Salvatore. We caught up with Close and Salvatore recently to chat about the company's 'broad media' aspirations, Schilling's involvement in the company, and "standing on the shoulders" of World Of Warcraft.
Can you both introduce yourselves?
Brett Close: I’m Brett Close, president and CEO of 38 Studios.
R.A. Salvatore: I’m Bob Salvatore, creator of worlds for 38 Studios.
Creator of worlds?
RS: That’s my title. I’m the COW. [laughs]
Do you do that on purpose?
RS: No, I was in the car with my wife on the way into the office, and a friend that runs the printing press near the studios was doing our cards called me in a panic. We'd just hired a creative director, and he thought that was my title. He asked “well, what do I call him” and my wife said “just call him 'creator of worlds.'" It was just a joke, but then sure enough, the cards showed up at door as “creator of worlds.”
BC: Well, you are creating a world, so…
RS: And it stuck!
Everyone’s exciting titles aside, can you just give a bit of an explanation about where you guys are coming from? You were somebody else before, right?
BC: We were somebody else. And now we still are somebody, but it’s not the same somebody that we were before. So we were Green Monster Games, but we rebranded ourselves because, right about the time I came in, we started talking about the focus and vision and direction of the company. The primary point -- with people like Bob involved, with Todd involved, with this higher level vision and direction from these guys that were building the world based on an original IP -- we’re building more than just videogames.
This is going to spin off into ancillary products that support that. It actually blurs over into various other media, like video on demand, like the online presence, like Todd’s figurines, like graphical novels, and Bob’s vignettes, and various writing releases that we can do, as well as full blown novels. You know, wireless hand-held consoles, cross-platform, etc.
So it’s a very broad media play at presenting this world in a number of different ways that culminate in this online product, and that’s the multiplayer online episodic game. So, that being the case, Green Monster Games didn’t really encompass the nature of what we were doing, and we started looking at being a bigger entertainment company, and we started looking at names that reflected that more accurately.
We obviously came up with 38 Studios. The idea of that was Curt’s jersey. Curt's number was 38, and being the founder, star pitcher of the Boston Red Sox -- there’s a lot of his vision and passion and integrity in the construction of the studio and the formation of the company. It's about how we’re treating people, too, how we’re taking a fresh look at how to build these products, and not doing the standard game industry grind. Looking at new distribution models, looking at, frankly, just new processes, and new efficiencies, and new ways to do videogame products, and media products in general, entertainment products, and doing it in a way that attracts and retains talent like no other studio there.
RS: Is that really why we changed the name? Cool, I thought it was just that our old Green Monster Games T-shirts would be worth more on eBay.
BC: That’s a good point.
RS: I’ve got mine all ready to go, I wanna wait a couple of years.
BC: Yeah, a little more time.