Ten Ton Hammer:
Your claim to fame (at least on your bio) is that you know how to
manage work vs. real life in your studios. What does this mean? Perhaps
you could summarize the problem that many industry workplaces suffer
from and your solution to that problem.

style="font-weight: bold;">Brett: I
don’t claim to have all of the answers, but I certainly have
a few (and some strong opinions). I’ve experienced it
directly. As I said, the people and teams are everything. Working a
team to the point that it disintegrates is, (in the most basic sense)
mismanagement of a huge investment.

seems to be a strong tendency in this industry to exploit the passion
that very creative and talented people have for wanting to build
something amazing. Combine that with poor management practices, a lack
of understanding of how to consistently build quality software, and the
creative chaos of game development – and you can have a very
caustic environment. There needs to be a cultural and leadership
commitment, from the top down, to build teams and process around
efficient and healthy work patterns.  

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alt="todd photo" title="todd photo" name="photo_j"
border="0" height="85" width="150">
Todd McFarlane, Director of Creative Art

Ten Ton Hammer:
How has the “studio building” process been going
for you and 38 Studios? Are you guys pretty much wrapped up with the
hiring portion of the equation, or are you still doing some personnel
acquisitions? If you are, or when you are, finished with that,
what’s next on your list of things to do?

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">Brett style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">: We have several phases of
scaling planned. The studio operations staff is complete for now. And,
except for some engineering staff, we are done with the first phase of
hiring for the teams. Building an MMO is a huge task, so
we’ll hit another hiring phase early next year, and several
more after that as we scale for the product launch.

Ten Ton Hammer:
In your OGDC presentation, your topic was focused on what it takes to
create an MMO. Honestly, has there been anything that’s
surprised you concerning the creation of 38 Studios’ first
MMO title?

style="font-weight: bold;">Brett: Honestly, no
big surprises so far, but it’s still early in the process (so
there is still plenty of time for surprises).  

Ten Ton Hammer:
What sort of experiences at Midway and VR1 have translated over to your
new position? How have these helped you? What sort of things have you
had to “learn on the fly,” for the lack of a better

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">Brett style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">: This is a question that
I’ve asked myself a few times. There’s really not
much on-the-fly going on here. We know very clearly what we need to do.
Regarding some of my  past: Setting up teams and process,
leading and managing organizations, building  and running
studios, figuring out the best bang-for-the buck with resources
and  technology, creating healthy and fun environments for
building and delivering  great products: Many people work on
these things their entire careers. I think I have a ton of experience,
and I’m enjoying that I get to continue refining and learning.

Ten Ton Hammer:
Speaking of VR1, in an interview you had with Team Xbox when you were
on staff at VR1, href="http://interviews.teamxbox.com/xbox/68/VR1-Brett-Close/p1/">you
mentioned that you were ready to work on an MMO product. That
was six years ago! What happened between then and now that kept you
from the MMO space?  

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">Brett style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">: A couple of things
happened. VR1 certainly had some great MMO technology and a bright
future in that direction. However, at that time, my best path was to
join the newly formed EA-LA studio (previously Dreamworks Interactive),
to work on the Medal of Honor franchise. Great team and great product,
I certainly don’t regret that decision.

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alt="Curt Schilling Pitch" title="Curt Schilling Pitch"
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Curt Schilling, Founder and Chairman of 38 Studios

style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">Following that, I had another
great opportunity with Midway as Global Production Director, running
the Austin studio. Again, another great opportunity that simply
didn’t coincide with a specific MMO product. I consider this
diversity of experience hugely valuable for the complexity of what we
are taking on at 38 Studios.

Ten Ton Hammer:
Now that you’re at 38 Studios and working on an MMO, what
should we expect from your upcoming title? How will the 38 Studios MMO
excel where so many other fantasy MMOs have fallen short?

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">Brett style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">: You should expect an
insanely cool product that completely monopolizes all of your personal
time. The industry is changing so fast (in a good way), and there is so
much that can be done better. The list of what we can do different or
better is long and top-secret. In the most basic sense, our unfair
advantage in the IP centers around R. A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane,
coupled with an absolutely top notch dev team. And if that
doesn’t make sense then I’m not sure I can explain
it here.

Ten Ton Hammer:
There’s been relatively little divulged about your upcoming
title, besides the fact that it is a fantasy-based MMORPG. Are there
any little tidbits that you could share with us about the

style="font-weight: bold;">Brett: One of our
greatest challenges is managing expectation (and hype) around the IP.
With very little active marketing and PR, we already have A TON of
activity buzzing about what we are up to. We’re certainly not
going to uncork that bottle before it’s ready.

Ten Ton Hammer:
Thanks Brett, and I hope we hear more about 38 Studios’ MMOG
very soon!

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unofficial source for 38 Studios news and features!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016