Head of 38 Studios, Curt Schilling, made an account at The Escapist to yell at us about our story on videogame tax breaks, but we ended up chatting about games and his 48-hour marathon MMOG session.
In 2004, Curt Schilling was a member of the greatest Red Sox team ever as they took home the first World Series Trophy Boston had seen in 86 years. But throughout his illustrious pitching career, he was always a gamer. Some athletes bought cars or went to exotic locales on vacation, while Schilling made sure that he had the best mobile gaming rig available. It follows, then, that when he retired from baseball, Schilling decided to turn his idea for a MMOG into a reality. He founded 38 Studios outside of Boston in 2006, and has hired some big names to help him out, including Todd MacFarlane (Spawn) and R.A. Salvatore (creator of everyone's favorite dark elf, Drizzt Do'Urden). Schilling reached out to The Escapist to clear the air regarding videogame tax credits, but we ended up chatting about 38 Studios as a whole, the acquisition of Big Huge Games and Schilling's admission that he once played EverQuest for almost 48 hours straight.
It was reported by the Boston Globe last week that Schilling was speaking to state governments about tax credits for videogame companies. Schilling wanted to make sure that it didn't seem like 38 Studios was looking for a free ride. "My biggest concern was that, if you look at the way people were perceiving [the Globe story] and the way it was constructed after the conversation, that we were looking for handouts," he said. "We're not. We never have been."
Schilling's only comment about the situation was that there is a singular chance out there for cities in the region to foster game developers. "The New England area is so rich, from a young talent perspective. Every city is trying to be the next big thing" in videogame development, according to Schilling. "The city that can present an incubation-type atmosphere is going to win."
But that doesn't really matter for 38 Studios. "We're not looking for handouts. We're doing fantastic. Financially, we're in a really good position," Schilling said. "Obviously I'm biased, but the products are in a great, great place and we're nailing our milestones. We're doing the things we want to do from a development standpoint."
The funny thing is that Schilling never thought that he'd be dealing so heavily with the business side of things in his game company. "Five years ago, when I thought about starting a [game] company, the last thing I thought about was talking to political people in the states we're working in about tax credits," he said with a chuckle. "You couldn't get further away from making a game than those discussions."
Schilling is a gamer, and has been since 1980. He started out on the Apple and used tape cassettes to load his games. "The hook for me was a game called Wizardry. That was my first addiction in the game space and to this day it's still my favorite," Schilling said. "Wizardry was the 3D version of Zork. I've been a hardcore gamer ever since."
How did he balance playing and excelling in professional sports with a hardcore gaming lifestyle? Very carefully. "I would argue that I probably have bought more laptops and desktops than any gamer in that last 30 years," he said. "Athletes get to the big leagues and they buy cars and houses, they travel. I was a gamer; I had the best gaming laptop and gaming rig you could have at all times." Schilling even worked gaming into his contract, stipulating that every hotel room he stayed needed to have internet access so that he could log into EverQuest.