Against the Gods

Against the Gods
John Romero: The Escapist Interview

Russ Pitts | 25 Jul 2006 12:00
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JR: The reason I left Monkeystone was that Stevie Case and I broke up and a major part of creating Monkeystone was to have a company with her. The breakup was more like a supernova explosion that we tried to contain and keep away from the media (it worked). Truly, all the turmoil of Ion Storm was dwarfed by this event; it was the worst experience of my life.

I finished off the Red Faction N-Gage project with the team and told Tom that I needed to get out of Dallas and do something else for a while. I was devastated. But Tom wanted to join me, so we put Lucas Davis in charge of the Monkeystone office while Tom and I looked around for other opportunities. The best [opportunity] we found was working at Midway in beautiful San Diego. In the meantime, we had Monkeystone working on an N-Gage version of Chronicles of Riddick (eventually canceled), and then we moved the company down to Austin to complete the multiplayer part of Area 51. I was working on Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows and Tom was Creative Director in third-party over several games.

I joined Midway because of two reasons. Reason number one was that I wanted to see what working for a big company was like. So, I was only talking to big companies, and Midway seemed like the best place, because revitalizing Gauntlet felt like it could be really fun, and because San Diego is awesome. My second reason for joining Midway was to do original console development as opposed to the majority of my career which had been focused primarily on home computers. It was something new for me, in a way.

Tom and I eventually hired our Monkeystone guys when we decided to shut down the company. Tom then left Midway to be Creative Director of two MMOGs at Kingsisle Entertainment in Austin, and I left to co-found my new game company in the Bay Area to do an innovative [MMOG] on the PC.

TE: What can you tell us about that?

JR: I can't say anything until the summer of 2007! What a difference it makes being quiet about my projects.

TE: To wrap up, a lot has been said about this, so I don't want to belabor it, but I do have to ask: If you were to believe in a Bizarro World (and who doesn't), what do you think a Bizarro World in which Daikatana had actually made gamers your bitches would look like?

JR: It would have been some kind of crazy world without game magazines and online media. Just kidding. It would probably have been a world where people all love to baby-sit their sidekicks and watch them die while doors close on them 1,000 times in 10 seconds. A world where people love to hear sidekicks talk to each other and the player, where air control and speed in deathmatch is something taken for granted and where cooperative gameplay left out of a multi-player game is unthinkable.

Russ Pitts is an Associate Editor at The Escapist, who was formerly head writer and producer of TechTV's The Screen Savers and has been writing on the web since it was invented. He will soon be producing and hosting a bi-weekly podcast for The Escapist called Escape Radio, which will undoubtedly make you its bitch.

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