The Grouchy Gamer

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Tag: 38Studios

Brett Close out, Jennifer MacLean in as 38 CEO

38 Studios

In a move that I didn’t see coming, Brett Close has left 38 Studios “to pursue other interests.”  This is a big change because it’s been said in the past about Close that he’s loyal and sticks to a position.  As a matter of fact it’s been discussed in the past that they were very pleased to be able to wrest him away from his last position.  Now we don’t know if this is a personal change for Brett, or if this is business driven.  We probably won’t know for a long time, if ever.  Brett isn’t from the Boston area and maybe there were family reasons for the change.  We’re just speculating, but any time the person at the top changes it’s a big deal.  The announcement hit the 38Studios.com site Friday, August 21st.

Brett is replaced at the helm by Jennifer MacLean, who was announced as joining the team back in March.  According to the release on the site, Jennifer is going to be the new CEO. Close held the position of President and CEO.  38 has not announced if Jennifer is going to be running the day to day business or if she’s going to take a more traditional CEO role and drive strategy.

According to IGN.com;

Prior to joining 38 Studios in March 2008, MacLean was vice president and general manager of games at Comcast, the largest cable company in the United States. Chairwoman Emeritus of the Independent Game Developers Association, named by Gamasutra as one of the “Top 20 Women in Games,” and listed by Next Generation as one of the game industry’s “100 Most Influential Women,” MacLean has more than fifteen years of extensive experience in online content and interactive entertainment and holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

We’ll keep on top of this and let you know what role she will take and where Brett Close might land.

Where WILL all the Money Come From?

Curt Schilling, 38 Studios

Curt Schilling, 38 Studios

Recently, Werit wondered if the MMO thing isn’t getting out of hand and whether a lot of the new MMO’s on the horizon are destined to fail because there isn’t market share for all of them.  You have to wonder if it’s not only the bloggers of the world that are wondering this.

In the Boston Globe recently, there was an article that mentioned that Curt Schilling was out pounding the pavement in search of venture capital.  Some people may be surprised to learn that 38 Studios isn’t funded by Curt with his own funds.  His family would have the right to have his head examined if he did.  Why?  Someone once gave me a really good definition of the difference between rich and wealthy.  He told me that Kobe Bryant is rich.  He said the person that signs his checks is wealthy.  Curt is very well to do, but I wouldn’t call him wealthy (unless you compare him to me, but that is another story.)

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38 Studios Chooses Unreal for Client Software

Today I noticed that Ryan Shwayder over at Nerfbat has posted a press release from 38 Studios regarding their second choice in the last few weeks of an engine for their new unannounced MMO.

BigWorld engine was chosen a couple of weeks ago for the back end (server-side engine) and they have chosen the Unreal Engine v 3.o for their client side. For those of you that don’t know, Unreal is a robust engine for building client side games. Epic, the developer of Unreal Technology, has made some successful games using the engine. The most notable of these are Gears of War and Bioshock. Most of you probably already know that these games are available both for the PC and XBox 360. I think this is notable as I expect that the 38 Studios product will likely be the next “AAA” MMO to ship with more than a PC as a platform.

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Oh, THAT’S What They Mean by World Domination…

One of the interesting things about press releases is how much they don’t tell you.  They rarely tell you the whole story or complete truth.  That’s OK, because at the end of the day, that isn’t their job.  Once in a while you get a press release that has what you might expect, but if you actually read the fine print you get some things that either weren’t said before or not enumerated at the same level.  Then again, it could be that you just straight missed it.

In the press release from 38 Studios that Shwayder re-posted over at Nerfbat, they finally announce the game engine that they are going to use for the upcoming fantasy MMO IP they are developing, code named Copernicus.  They have settled on the BigWorld Technology Suite.  I won’t bore you with the details, since they are just a click away over at Nerfbat.

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Is Copernicus (38 Studios) On The Right Track? I Think So.

I’m getting more interested in what is going on over at 38 Studios. I’m still maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism, as you would expect from me. All the same, there are subtle signs that things are going OK over at 38. I’m hoping to find out more background when I do an interview with some of the principals over there for 38fans.com (I’m going to be doing a little writing for them as well. Trying to make sure that I spread myself as thin as possible.) More on that later.

Here are the things that encourage me right at the moment…

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38 Studios Enumerates Their Vision

Over at Ten Ton Hammer, they have a set of videos from the guys over at 38 Studios. I’d encourage you to head over and have a look.

There are a few things that struck me about the videos and the “Vision.”

First of all, this vision is a lot different than the infamous Sigil “Vision ™.” These guys remind me a lot of some of my friends that have been professional athletes. Supremely confident, focusing on the positive, and focused as hell.

This attitude, which is very evident in the videos, is indicative of one or many of these things.

1. Incredible hubris. These guys haven’t done anything in the gaming industry, other than Brett Close, and he doesn’t have any hands-on MMO credentials. Now, their rank-and-file development team is shaping up to have a lot of experience, but the leads don’t.

2. Confidence in their ideas. I can see why this is, as they have ALL been incredibly successful in their chosen fields. Curt Schilling has had an amazing MLB career, R.A. Salvatore has been one of the most visible and read fantasy authors of our generation, and Todd McFarlane has made an empire of comics, figures, and custom illustration. Even though I am not personally a big comic reader I have been aware of Todd’s work for some time. I’ve been collecting his Dragons figures for a while now. It’s easy to see why they are confident that they can contribute to a really amazing new IP.

3. Confidence in their ability to execute their plan. Lots of other have been down this road. It remains to be seen if this part of their plan can be pulled off. A lot of people with more industry experience have churned out mediocre projects, or even projects that never got shipped. I think there are a lot of land mines on this road. I like their chances based on the collectives’ refusal to accept anything but the best. I think this may possibly be the tie-breaker in their ability to do this, although it’s SO easy to find yourself 3 years down the road and over budget and behind schedule.

I’d be interested to hear when you readers think about this. What do you like about 38’s team? Their chances to do what they are saying they are going to do? Are they going to achieve “World Domination Through Gaming?”

Head over to TTH and see the videos. It’s our first real taste of what these guys have in store.

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