The idea evolved into taking a "six-hour radio drama and then breaking it into one-minute pieces and sending [them] to pay phones around the world." Once the basic concept was in place, he had to "sit down with a bunch of teams, who, luckily, I knew well. ... They let us play in their playground and create a story, which has a great twist at the end of it, in that the players, ultimately, inadvertently, are the ones who call the Covenant to Earth. So it had that sting at the end of it."

While pinning down the number of players in an ARG is notoriously tricky business, I Love Bees was, at the very least, an Internet culture phenomenon, with signs showing up in presidential debates and one enterprising player driving into the heart of a raging hurricane to answer a game-related phone call. Did it come as a surprise to Weisman and his enterprising team of Puppetmasters? "You always dream that people are going to really appreciate it and get involved and love it, but at the same time, you're never really prepared for when it really connects."

Since the Shadowrun debacle was still fresh on our minds, and we had one of the guys behind Shadowrun's initial incarnation on the line, I felt I had to ask what he thought about FASA and Microsoft's activities since he'd left. "I'm disappointed that they aren't continuing, or they don't have an active MechWarrior project in development. I think there was, and continues to be, a big audience and it continues to build well."

Regarding Shadowrun, he picks his words carefully, saying, "I know a lot of the development cycles that that went through and some of the challenges the team has faced. I think, also, there are some unfortunate things that they changed in the fiction and, frankly, they're correcting. I think they're reaching back out to the fans, and in a way that I think the fans will respond positively to. You know, it's hard, because there's a lot of issues that they can't talk about externally, the fans only see the outside stuff and wonder what logic could've resulted in that and what was done. I think there are some very interesting gameplay dynamics they've introduced into that game. Would a first-person shooter have been my first pick for Shadowrun, personally? Probably not. Do I think the first-person shooter that they've developed is an interesting one? Yeah, I think it is. I think some of the fictional faux pas are being addressed."

With a resume like his, Weisman could work anywhere. With that in mind, I asked him why ARGs, what the draw was to him there? "I love telling stories. And I love working with other storytellers. And I love trying to tell stories in new and different ways. So, ARGs are just the latest in a series of new ways to tell stories that I've been experimenting with over the God knows how many years I've been doing this now. And I don't think we view what we did in The Beast as ... like, the early movies, you've seen in movies like The Great Train Robbery, we haven't even gotten the basic cinematic tools yet ... . And I think every year we're moving that forward and learning more and more about this art form, and the stuff we have in development now is sort of taking it to the next level. So it's exciting to kind of be out there and experimenting and discovering where the boundaries lie. We're enjoying it. We love doing that. It's all about, you know, screwing with people's minds. That's what's fun."

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire Shannon Drake.

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