I know, I know, I know. I have a lousy track record for picking games. Granted, my 5 year investment in EQ was fine, but I then chose to play EQ2 at launch instead of WoW (EQ2 for the first year was rough, to say the least). And just about the time when the game was getting good, I switched over to Vanguard, and we all know what the general consensus is about that game.
So the fact that I have had my eye on 38 Studios might not be a good sign for them! Somehow, though, I think this is something worth watching carefully, and I agree with Keen and Graev, who contend that Curt Schilling will pitch a no-hitter. Maybe it’s because of the fact that 38 Studios is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from where I live. Maybe it’s because I was a longtime Red Sox fan. Or maybe it’s because that little green monster is so cute when he eats my mouse cursor.
Whatever the reason, the announcement of the game’s code name, Copernicus, made me that much more excited. So excited, in fact, that when I read the headline I told my husband from across the kitchen, and my daughter began peppering me with questions that ended up with me drawing out sketches of what Copernican Theory was vs. Geocentric Theory. She’s really into planets and space, but as I was drawing and talking, she forgot all about her line of questioning regarding Copernicus and started to gently chastise me for not drawing rings around Saturn the right way. (Is there a wrong way?) At least she stopped saying “why?” after that…..
On the surface, everything looks lined up for success. They have the foundation for a visually spectacular in-game world (Todd MacFarlane). They also have the foundation for terrific lore (R.A. Salvatore) By the way, lore, and an overarching storyline in particular, never gets treated with enough weight in the majority of MMOs. It looks like it could get proper treatment here – don’t underestimate that!
They have lots and lots of talent and experience on the development team, like Moorgard, who I met once… Ok I didn’t really meet him. It was more like I ran by his toon in Vanguard on launch night, and stood there like a big goober saying how much I was a fan of the Mobhunter site, but that’s a minor detail!
Most importantly, they have a winner at the helm in Curt Schilling. The fact that he’s a hardcore gamer is worth noting. He’s played – really played – games like EQ, EQ2, and WoW, and has worked closely with SoE in the past to organize the ALS in game fundraiser a couple of years ago. Neither side will readily admit it, but gamers and sports fans are very similar. Schilling has been around both, and knows what makes them tick. I think he’ll know how to walk the fine line between lip service and brutal honesty when it comes time to addressing his game community.
But what I really think he has that will make him a successful producer is his sports background. He’s a winner, and he has shown time and time again that he can dig deep and make the seemingly impossible happen. Even though he’s in a new role as lead of an MMO company, I think he will find a way to win, and he will push everyone around him to produce. That’s what makes him a premier athlete, and the leadership qualities gleaned from a career in pro sports are the same ones needed to run 38 Studios.
Like Sigil, 38 Studios has the All-Star talent that can do amazing things. Anyone who truly played Vanguard will admit that there are gems of brilliance in the game, that make you shake your head at the thought of what could have been if it had been managed well. The similarities end there, though. I really believe that 38 Studios will deliver, and I will be following their progress closely.