John Carmack and Katherine Anna Kang have spoken in a new interview with Gamasutra about the creation of id’s new mobile division, Doom RPG and what it’s like to be an industry “power couple.”
Carmack, a founding member of id, recently announced the formation of id Mobile, to be headed by his wife Kang, who served as id’s director of business development before founding mobile development studio Fountainhead. Prior to the creation of the new division, Fountainhead had developed the mobile games Doom RPG and Orcs & Elves in conjunction with id.
Explaining the decision to change the existing relationship, Carmack said, “Working with Anna allowed us to try things out and experiment, but once we decided it was successful, there are certain things that are easier to deal with at id. For one, no three-way contracts!”
“With two separate goals and separate companies, rather than investing in your future and your people, you’re kind of on your own. Overall, it was a good combination for the titles we want to develop, but also the quality we want to focus on, and the type of titles we want to focus on,” Kang added.
Kang said the pair as “an interesting kind of relationship” as a husband and wife, and that their different areas of expertise – “I’m purely a designer, I come up with a lot of different idea, and John is pure tech,” she said – could sometimes lead to different priorities during game development. “Sometimes we end up kind of speaking different languages, and kind of cross paths, instead of meeting. It is a little bit different in the sense that he’s talking tech and I’m talking design and we don’t quite get what each other is talking about – but we always end up together.”
Carmack also commented on his tendency toward minimalist game design. “Keeping a project from going off the rails is half the battle,” he said. “There are a lot of things I would dismiss out-of-hand, and say, “Oh, no, we don’t need that” – but in Doom RPG, the first project we really worked together on, Anna had a few features that she really wanted to get in, and twisted my arm a little bit.”
“And since we’ve seen a couple of those things turn out well, I’m much more willing to trust Anna’s judgment, even if my first reaction is, “No, we don’t need it.” Not because her ideas are bad, but because there is just so much value in drawing the line.”
The full text of the interview is available at Gamasutra.