"I would build my off days on the road around gaming," Schilling said before telling one crazy story. "I pitched a day game in Florida and we had an off day on Monday, and then we had a game on Tuesday [night]. I pitched on Sunday, and I literally logged on after I got home around 4:00 p.m. and I logged out of that EverQuest session Tuesday afternoon when I went to the ballpark. That was how I gamed. I broke for showers and some room service in between, but that was what I did." For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that's about 48 hours of constant gaming.
Many of his fellow athletes looked askance at his gaming habits. "People looked at me like I had four eyes," he said. "I'm a jock; I've played baseball my whole life but I was a closet geek for a long time for a lot of the reasons that you could imagine. It wasn't cool or whatever." It took an event in EverQuest that was brought to the baseball diamond to really get Schilling to publicly speak about his gaming.
He introduced a teammate of his while he was in Philadelphia, Doug Glanville, to EverQuest, but after Schilling was traded to Arizona a year later, Glanville hit two home runs off of him in one game. "Doug hits about eight home runs a year, so this was big news," Schilling said. The media latched on to Glanville and asked him about it, and he said that he'd been waiting years to get his revenge at Schilling for "murdering" him. "'We played EverQuest together, and Curt got me trained and killed twice,'" Schilling recounted Glanville saying. The reporters then ran to Schilling and asked him about it, to which he responded, "I can't help that Doug's a noob."
Sony Online Entertainment picked up on the story, as did Jayson Stark from ESPN. Ever since then, Schilling's been known as a gamer in addition to being a pretty damn good pitcher, and he's now parlayed that reputation into making the games that he enjoys playing so much.
MMOGs have been Schilling's passion, and 38 Studios' flagship product is such a game, codenamed Copernicus. Understanding how overhyping of games can sour audience reactions, Schilling is tight-lipped on any release information. The design team isn't quite in crunch mode but they have grown substantially in the past few months, adding 30-40 new positions since January alone. Schilling now estimates that the entire company has about 160 employees in total, and that is split between the office in Medford, MA, and the recently acquired Big Huge Games in Maryland.
Schilling describes buying the veteran studio from THQ as almost a gut decision, which paid dividends. "We had heard that Big Huge Games was in trouble, and when we jumped into the mix the timeline was incredibly tight," he said. "We, in effect, doubled our burn." Schilling is referring to burning through the venture capital or seed money of 38 Studios before they had a chance to monetize, i.e. release a game. "As a pre-revenue startup, there are very few things that would incentivize you to double your burn at any point. It was a gamble, a huge gamble, but we believed that it was worth the gamble and the risk at the time and it ended up being absolutely that."