Schilling's plan for Big Huge Games is for them to develop a single-player RPG set in the same universe as Copernicus, with its own fancy codename, Mercury, which will be released before the MMOG. "Mercury will lead our IP into the market," he said. "We've got a unique ability to redo Blizzard's model, which they accidentally fell into. They did the RTS [WarCraft] and the things that led into the MMOG; they got to get their IP out into the game space. We're doing the exact same thing but we were planning on doing that from jumpstreet."
I assume that Schilling isn't referring to the '80s teen drama here but rather that they had planned this business model from conception, and the acquisition of Big Huge Games allowed them to move forward on this plan. There's no release date for Mercury either, but Schilling did say that the game has a publishing deal in place with Electronic Arts.
With PAX East this past weekend at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston and the area being the home of big game companies like Turbine and Harmonix as well as 38 Studios, Schilling doesn't feel that the area is at as big a disadvantage as some people think it is. "I was told by venture capitalists and private equity people that starting an office in Boston in this industry is a recipe for failure. 'No one is going to move from San Diego or Seattle or Austin to Boston.' And my response to that was, if being in Boston is the reason that you don't come to 38 Studios, after you see what you can be a part of, then you don't fit anyway," he said. "It has been an absolute non-issue from a hiring perspective. We have never lost somebody that wouldn't move to Boston to take a position here after they've come in for an on-site interview and met the team."
Schilling believes that the culture of 38 Studios is what attracts people and that is what is going to make Copernicus and Mercury succeed. He is also cognizant that his place in the company now, as Founder and President, is a little bit different than what he first imagined as a pseudo-designer. "As I've become educated in the development process, I began to understand that me meddling was one of the worst things that can happen and I started out thinking it would be one of the better things. I'm OK with that," he said. "I'm here to help foster a culture. I'm here to take care of these people and their families and provide an environment for the most talented people in the world at what they do, to do it."
"We have that one chance everybody has, to come out with that first product, that first bang, and do it right. Until that happens, it's all talk and hyperbole, but I'm OK with people betting against me," said Schilling. "I spent a lot of years doing a job where no one expects you to do the things that you do."
As a former baseball player, he knows what it's like dealing with adversity and how important it is to be in the right mental mindset in order to excel. "Just because you haven't won a World Series in 86 years doesn't mean you can't win one next year. And for me, that mentality starts at the top."