Q&A with 38 Studios Founder Curt Schilling

Q&A with 38 Studios Founder Curt Schilling

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This week, EA and 38 Studios announced the companys first title Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I had the chance to talk to 38 Studios Founder and Chairman Curt Schilling.

This week, EA and 38 Studios announced the companys first title an open-world, single player RPG called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Set in a fantasy world created by New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore and visually brought to life by artist and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane Reckoning is being developed under the leadership of Ken Rolston. He was lead designer of the critically acclaimed RPGs Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Reckoning is scheduled for release in Fall 2011.

During E3 2010, I had the chance to talk to 38 Studios Founder and Chairman Curt Schilling about his companys projects, what its like to be a start-up developer, and how the company plans on standing out in a crowded genre.

Hooked Gamers: There is not a whole lot out yet about the projects 38 Studios is working on, what can you tell me about them?

Curt Schilling: We have two games currently under development. One is a single player role-playing game for Xbox 360, Playstation and PC, called Project Mercury [now called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning]. Its being developed down at the Baltimore studio. The other game were working on is a MMO which has been in development for about four and a half years now in the Boston studio. Both games are being developed within a single intellectual property that was envisioned by the founding members of the company, but was given to R.A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane to create this epic fantasy world in and I think they have done a fabulous job to this point. Were looking to create an ecosystem of products that will allow you to be immersed in the IP whether you are on your iPhone, iPad or Nintendo DS. We arent making the games for those platforms but were creating a living, breathing world. There is a next level to online entertainment that we dont believe has been broached yet which is the story. Actually driving an experience.

Hooked Gamers: A little admission on my part -- Im a big R.A. Salvatore fan. So, I have to ask, what is it like working with him?

Curt Schilling: I dont believe in doing anything if you dont aspire to be the best in the world at it. So I thought, OK, if I want to create a fantasy game in a fantasy world, with characters and a story that people care about, whos the best in the world at doing that? In my mind, it was R.A. Hes a modern day Tolkien to me. For the visual side the choice was easy. Ive known Todd for about 10 years now, and love his work...So if I could get R.A. to create my story and Todd to visualize the art, that would be really cool.

So, I called R.A. Turns out he lives in Boston and is a huge Red Sox fan. So, it was a 45 minute conversation of me saying, I cant believe Im talking to you! and him saying, I cant believe Im talking to you! Once we got past that, I flew R.A. up to Kansas City along with Todd and pitched them. A hardcore EverQuest guy, an old school gamer, and it was just kind of a perfect combination of timing and events. And R.A. bought in; hes been involved and comes to the office multiple times a week for consulting.

We are at a point in time where he has acknowledged, much like Todd has, that the project has grown bigger than him. The team has taken his vision... because its one thing to have this grandiose vision for this awesome thing. Converting that to an actual playable game is fun. Not a lot of people have been able to do that and him coming away saying, Theyve made this into something I never dreamed it could be and Im really just here to make sure that the threads stay together on the story and the IP. So, its been a lot of fun working with him.