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38 Studios: An Interview from the New York ComicCon

Posted Thu, Apr 24, 2008 by Cody Bye

By Garrett Fuller, Industry Relations

For those who do not know yet, 38 Studios is a company that you will hear plenty about in the near future. Founded by Curt Schilling along with R.A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane bringing up the big guns, 38 Studios is poised for a huge impact on the MMO market in the coming years. However, those three are not the only story. The team that they have assembled is really a who’s who of MMO and game developers alike. We got a chance to sit down with some of that team at the New York ComiCon. Scott Cuthbertson, Jeff Murchie, Steve Danuser, and Rich Gallup joined us to give a brief overview of where 38 Studios is as a company and where the game they are developing is going.

38 Studios Logo

The first words from Scott were that the game is “right on track.” The creative group continues to push forward with the conceptual phase and bring in the big ideas. This is all working in conjunction with the art team who are working very hard on the style and design of the game world. Jeff was quick to point out that working with Todd McFarlane on the art style is incredibly rewarding and gives the team great energy. The team said that these early stages of building the game and the world are really coming together.

On the technical side, Scott explained that the company has licensed the Unreal Engine and the Big World Engine to build the MMO. These two engines seem to be the best right now at building an online world and allow the game designers the most options in creating their game space. In working with the tech side, the company continues to build up a library of ideas that will work in the game world. Bringing these ideas together and implementing them into the actually game is a challenge that the team is ready to meet.

Jeff Murchie spoke about the art style of the game and explained that it is not about reproducing Spawn or following the style of any MMOs that have come before it. The team has weekly meetings with Todd McFarlane to discuss everything from environments, character design, and visual effects. The team has set very high goals stylistically and hopes to achieve a new standard in artwork and design with the game and products.

Steve and Scott both explained that 38 Studios is about a lot more than just putting games into boxes and on the shelf. They real want to create a broad entertainment experience for players. They want to build the social experience of the game and take it beyond just the computer screen. With R.A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane on board it would be no surprise to see toys, comics, and novels about the world and its characters.

Rich Gallup explained that they really want to give something to the community that surrounds this game and brings it to the next level. The most important thing they want is for players to be the hero. They are planning some iconic NPCs in the game, but really they are only there as an anchor for players to grow and explore the world they live in.

38 Studios remains a very professional company. They have plans to take care of their developers and team so that they stay in the studio long into the future. Sadly, many game studios lay off their team once the game is launched, 38 Studios seems to be a place where the team will stay together for a very long time. Scott also explained Curt Schilling’s commitment to the team he is putting together. He makes sure the creators and developers are happy and work in a great environment. It is great to see a studio remain so professional with its staff.

So the big question is when will we hear about the game? 2010 is the target date that 38 Studios is looking at as a possible launch. However, like all MMOs this is by no means set in stone. Scott explained that the quality of the game comes first and they want to make sure they really put a great game out there for fans.

The best part is watching the team and company grow along with this game. 38 Studios continues to hire very strong staff to put this game together. The entire team really showed a passion for their project while we were talking to them and it looks like we will see some great things in the coming months. The passion behind 38 Studios is growing and soon it will hit fans with what could be a huge MMO game and world that we are all looking forward to explore. 

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