TE: What role will R.A. and Todd be playing in the company?
CS: R.A. was hired on as the creative director. R.A. will drive the creative vision, the story behind what we're doing. He's got a pretty decent track record of writing some pretty good stories.
Todd will literally be the art director. He will be behind the artistic vision of R.A.'s story. We will have an art director in house that will collaborate with Todd and Todd's team to take Todd's conceptual vision and turn it into a game world and game players and game characters.
TE: There's only one really big player in the MMOG field, and they just barely reached mass market. What is your key to succeed?
CS: It's really simple. Todd can draw until the cows come home and it could be the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, and R.A. can write the most beautiful story you've ever read, but if the game sucks, the game sucks. It really comes back to the game.
You have to make a game that appeals across the market, across platforms, that has a low barrier of entry, that people will want to play. In that simplistic explanation, there really is a lot of detail, but it really is that simple. You have to make a fun game. And I think a lot of people have really just misunderstood that. There's franchises out there, that I'd hazard to guess everybody said were "can't misses," and they've missed.
The three most branded franchises in the history of the MMOG space were Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and, to me, Blizzard. Lord of the Rings had a century to brand their IP, Star Wars had three decades and Blizzard has had a decade of branding and franchise in the world of Warcraft. And they've done it so impeccably well, but at the end of the day, the thing that sticks out amongst those three is Blizzard stayed truer to their visions than anyone else, and fans got what they wanted. They did it because they stuck to their vision. They didn't try to make a game for 7 million people. They tried to make and stick within the vision that they had, and at the end of the day, they didn't let anybody come into the kitchen and change the recipe.
TE: Do you hope to target any of your fan bases directly?
CS: If you do the math, and you take the McFarlane fans - Todd's site gets, I think, 320 million hits a month. R.A. sold over 15 million books in the United States. You take baseball fans that are potentially Red Sox fans, Curt CS fans. The number that we've come up with on the conservative estimate [is,] over the multiple years of production, we believe that 400 million pairs of eyes will come to our website. At that point, it's our job to make them come back. That's an enormously large audience.
TE: You hear a lot now about casual and hardcore gamer ideologies clashing. Do you have anything planned that will cater to both communities? You have more than a 40 hour a week job just in baseball, but you still managed to play EQ and EQ2. Do you feel you offer special insight there that most developers wouldn't have?
CS: I think I do, but I might be wrong. There might be people with more insight than I have. I have a unique viewpoint, I think it brings something to the table, but again, this isn't about designing my game. This is about designing the game. That is important to me.
TE: Thanks for your time, Curt.
CS: Thank you. Take care.
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