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News & Features Discussion  » General: 38 Studios: Interview with Brett Close

15 posts found
  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  7/30/07 2:13:21 PM#1

Recently, MMORPG.com Managing Editor has the opportunity to sit down with Brett Close, the President and CEO of 38 Studios, formerly known as Green monster Games. In this interview, the pair discuss the studio, the stars and the game.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Brett Close, President and CEO of 38 Studios, a company formerly known as Green Monster Games. If either of those names sounds familiar to you, it's probably because the news broke a while back that three entertainment all-stars would be teaming up to form a company that would produce an MMORPG. R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane and Curt Schilling make up the "big names" that have been drawing a great deal of attention from sources both inside and outside of the industry.

Salvatore, McFarlane and Schilling, Oh My!

One of the first questions that I am always asked whenever the topic of 38 Studio comes up is exactly how involved Salvatore, McFarlane and Schilling are in the project. So, I posed just that question to Brett Close:

Read the whole interview here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  raykor

Novice Member

Joined: 11/28/05
Posts: 326

7/30/07 5:00:51 PM#2

Maybe I’m just weird, but am I the only one who doesn’t care about the story?

Sure, I usually read the background lore for a game (if it’s not too long) and I might read the text in a quest (sometimes), but none of it really matters to me. If I like the way a game plays then I will continue to play it regardless of whether a single paragraph of story exists.

As you may have guessed by now, I don’t roleplay either. I don’t want to lose myself in an immersive world. I don’t want to “become” another person. I want to hook up with some buddies and go blow some shit up for a few hours.

Now don’t think that I don’t enjoy a good story. I’ve read literally hundreds of great fantasy/sci-fi books over the decades. It is simply that I think a good story (whether a book or movie) always revolves around the actions of a handful of characters and not thousands. I simply don’t think a MMOG is a good story-telling venue.

  reetin

Novice Member

Joined: 4/13/06
Posts: 71

7/30/07 7:22:12 PM#3

I think that having R A Salvatore as one of the lead people is amazing. I have read almost all his Forgotten Realms book and everyone i read is more breathtaking then the next. He is the perfect choice to help create an MMO that has a good storyline.

  Flummoxed

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/24/07
Posts: 592

Make a WORLD,
Not a Game.

7/30/07 8:16:15 PM#4

 

Originally posted by raykor

I don’t want to lose myself in an immersive world.  I want to hook up with some buddies and go blow some shit up for a few hours.


DOH!    You have just stated the distinction between MMORPG games / gamers, and Multiplayer Shooter games / gamers.

 Losing oneself in an immersive world, evoking suspension of disbelief, feeling a part of some Epic Story is BY DEFINITION what MMORPG gaming is intended to be about.   Alas, quality High Fantasy is hard to create and so many quick-buck companies just opt for another shallow 'blow shit up gud'  clone, slap an MMO sticker on the box because mmo's are trendy and profitable and pass it off as a mmorpg.  May they burn in hell for all eternity!  

As for mmo's as a vehicle for Storytelling, it's as good as any other but since it's not Linear like books or films the creators have to learn and Master a new medium and new techniques.  imo the best way to 'tell a story' ingame is by having players DO the story - ie be a part of the construction of the story - piece by piece and Learn it by Doing it, rather than reading backstories and text ingame.  Ideally a story should be transparent to the player because he is part of it and helping to create it. 

  Remali

Novice Member

Joined: 4/20/07
Posts: 248

7/30/07 8:27:27 PM#5
Originally posted by Flummoxed

 

Originally posted by raykor

I don’t want to lose myself in an immersive world.  I want to hook up with some buddies and go blow some shit up for a few hours.


DOH!    You have just stated the distinction between MMORPG games / gamers, and Multiplayer Shooter games / gamers.

 Losing oneself in an immersive world, evoking suspension of disbelief, feeling a part of some Epic Story is BY DEFINITION what MMORPG gaming is intended to be about.   Alas, quality High Fantasy is hard to create and so many quick-buck companies just opt for another shallow 'blow shit up gud'  clone, slap an MMO sticker on the box because mmo's are trendy and profitable and pass it off as a mmorpg.  May they burn in hell for all eternity!  

As for mmo's as a vehicle for Storytelling, it's as good as any other but since it's not Linear like books or films the creators have to learn and Master a new medium and new techniques.  imo the best way to 'tell a story' ingame is by having players DO the story - ie be a part of the construction of the story - piece by piece and Learn it by Doing it, rather than reading backstories and text ingame.  Ideally a story should be transparent to the player because he is part of it and helping to create it. 

QFT. A big reason why mmos are going from bad to worse is because ppl that actually hate rpgs play them push for the genre to became something totally different than it should.Thats why i believe it is time to split the genre in mmorpg,mmofps or mmowhatever so that every game can clearly target a specific market and not try to please everyone

  mlambert890

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/06/05
Posts: 134

7/30/07 9:42:20 PM#6

Originally posted by Remali

QFT. A big reason why mmos are going from bad to worse is because ppl that actually hate rpgs play them push for the genre to became something totally different than it should.Thats why i believe it is time to split the genre in mmorpg,mmofps or mmowhatever so that every game can clearly target a specific market and not try to please everyone


And Ill QFT you! These statements are dead on.  Im patiently waiting for someone to address the fact that this whole genre sprang from pen&paper and then the MUDs and yet has really advanced VERY little in trying to please the real core audience that has patiently supported it since day one.

What we're seeing now is an ever expanding audience (which is great), but the needs of the (maybe small) original core have never really been served.  If you're an FPS player who for some weird reason wants a persistant world, knock yourself out, but PLEASE avoid crowding the boards of something like 38 with criticism.  Salvatore, McFarlane and Schilling seem to be looking to directly address the folks who have sort of felt neglected by "MMORPGs" that really dont resemble RPGs at all, but still keep the faith.  There is room for everyone.  Not EVERY game has to be a paper thin, eye candy, PVP kill fest that calls itself an "MMO" because the world is persistant.

I would like to at least see how many other people like me are out there who dont really want the EQ mold of uber PVE (which is a whole different thing) or the new wave of "persistant FPS" games that are essentially perpetual battlegrounds.

Personally, I think EQ2 came the closest to what Im hoping for and LotR is semi-decent as well, but none of them actually deliver on a TRULY immersive story driven environment that you find yourself wanting to come back to not just to advance or get loot, not to just kill stuff or people, not even just to explore and see new things (because thats finite) but because you want to BE there.

  Ortog

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/04
Posts: 22

7/30/07 10:22:34 PM#7

I am an MMO(RPG) veteran and i am sick and tired of watching the genre getting hijacked by the "L33t and K00l" crowd that doesnt even take the time to read a quest enunciate because all they want is "to kill things".

Since the companies discovered that the genre sells the standards were lowered down so much, to please the lowest common denominator, that games arent even challenging anymore and all they offer is variants of : kill 10 rats, deliver this or gather x of that.

Basically its high time that we, the players, the people that pay for games, demand that some basic differences are respected, get the RPG factor back to MMORPGs and demand the companies to supply products that meet our standards instead of endless variations of "kill mobs with friends". You want to shoot things? You have all the right to want that; demand products that supply what you want. You want mindless hack and slash? There you go, by all means knock yourself out, but please stop ruining other people experiences in games that should be aimed at people that want more then to "kill 10 this and 20 of that".

  tunabun

Novice Member

Joined: 6/18/05
Posts: 671

"Sycophant since 1537"

7/30/07 11:52:51 PM#8

 

I'll be rooting for them to have a successful launch but the fact that they didn't hire me as a designer puts them at a major loss.  Oh well, it's not like I'm known or anything, just another one of those hindsight stories that will be told after I make it big.

- Burying Threads Since 1979 -

  Romse

Novice Member

Joined: 2/12/06
Posts: 202

7/31/07 12:20:09 AM#9

 

Originally posted by Ortog

I am an MMO(RPG) veteran and i am sick and tired of watching the genre getting hijacked by the "L33t and K00l" crowd that doesnt even take the time to read a quest enunciate because all they want is "to kill things".

Since the companies discovered that the genre sells the standards were lowered down so much, to please the lowest common denominator, that games arent even challenging anymore and all they offer is variants of : kill 10 rats, deliver this or gather x of that.

Basically its high time that we, the players, the people that pay for games, demand that some basic differences are respected, get the RPG factor back to MMORPGs and demand the companies to supply products that meet our standards instead of endless variations of "kill mobs with friends". You want to shoot things? You have all the right to want that; demand products that supply what you want. You want mindless hack and slash? There you go, by all means knock yourself out, but please stop ruining other people experiences in games that should be aimed at people that want more then to "kill 10 this and 20 of that".

I think registering XP points for creatures killed is too easy and simple.
If you go back to the Pen and Paper RPG... that's what we called Hack & Slash...
Although fun from time to time, hack & slash is merely a recreation from the real RPG...

 

When they announced Dungeons and Dragons I tought for a sec that we'd have some better translations of the pen and paper game... growth from adventuring. Seriously... does it really matter that you wiped every single creature in the dungeon? Was that what the quest was about? Mobs are supposed to be an obstacle to advancement... fighting them is not the advancement.

EQ had a whole bunch of half explored ideas and it seems with time MMOs only filtered through them to take what already worked rather than trying to make new things work.

Obviously one of the problems with well crafted questing content is that it's often if not always static and someone always make up the walkthrough for all of it and basically ruins the feeling of accomplishment... instead even if you finish the quest by yourself... you feel like you're loosing speed compared to the server population for not doing the walkthroughs...

They need some measure of randomization in rewards... quest contacts... paths... dungeons... etc.
They need to  have challenges that can only be surmounted through experience... and not communicated knowledge.
They need to invest time on well crafted quests.
And most of all... they need to improve how they track character advancement.
Make the rogue useful again to non PvP situations
Stop making the Mages into glass canons... they're the ones that go invisible... the resourceful ones
Warriors/Fighters are the main damage dealers.
Clerics aren't walking powerups dispensers.

How's this gonna work in PvP?... I dunno... maybe not everyone is the fighting class?
This idea where everyone needs to fight on equal grounds is what prevents classes from being well translated... and seeing some non combat oriented classes.

  User Deleted
8/01/07 2:34:02 AM#10

so Schilling is in because hes a big fan of the genre and he is full of enthusiasm?? they gotta be kidding 

  Adele

Staff Writer

Joined: 1/08/06
Posts: 90

"Don''t blame me.. blame the gnomes!"

8/02/07 2:12:18 PM#11

Very good read! Although it does sound a lot like what the Hero's Journey team says they are doing. I guess we will have to wait and see who gets their game out first!

~Adele Caelia

  Uproar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/19/04
Posts: 528

I was once Tailrot, Uproar, Bandage, Thus(tin) Hammered, Rock, and so many more. Aye gamerest.

8/02/07 2:40:23 PM#12

 

Originally posted by Flummoxed

 As for mmo's as a vehicle for Storytelling, it's as good as any other but since it's not Linear like books or films the creators have to learn and Master a new medium and new techniques.  imo the best way to 'tell a story' ingame is by having players DO the story - ie be a part of the construction of the story - piece by piece and Learn it by Doing it, rather than reading backstories and text ingame.  Ideally a story should be transparent to the player because he is part of it and helping to create it. 


That's a really tall order.  The fact is that no one has yet found a way to do that.  I think Guild Wars has the system that comes the closest to that description.  The 'live action' is generally followed by a choreographed cut-scene that continues the story and your reasons for participating further.  As you move through the world and thus the quests, the world story in that new area has evolved (partially evoking the feeling you helped to move it along -- but not very convincingly unfortuntely due to a host of issues with the game mechanics and the fact that 1000s of people claim the same accomplishment).

 

The issue is MMOs are not like books in a very important aspect-- in a book there is only you (and your own attention-deficit disorder) to deal with.  In an MMO setting you have other folks that may or may not be interested, may or may not have seen it before, may or may not have someone screaming at them to get off the computer, may or may not have taken their ridolen (sp?) today, etc.  It's a real issue with not so good solutions available (short of conducting interviews on your potential group mates and/or holding folks hostage).

GW has attempted to solve the problem as best they could given what I think today's (two years ago) technology allowed, and that is, by forcing EVERYONE in the group to click 'Skip' to bypass the cut-scenes (they don't report who clicked it or if they didn't thankfully), but it is funny how often folks that might be interested seem to just click through those because of the grief that it causes by the other players who just want to fly through all that "RP B.S.".

I see few better solutions, especially as I hate the overall solution they invoked which is cut-scenes and the inherent exclusion one has running through instances rather then a world where I can continuousily interact with the other players (via more then just chat).

I hope they can find some noval solutions, but I expect it to be like all other MMOs on the market -- no RP and no really absorbing dynamic interaction with the world story.

  UnSub

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/16/04
Posts: 252

8/05/07 11:38:58 PM#13

Could any less have been said in that article?

It's nice that Green Monster... sorry, 38 Studios has a gold class management team, but honestly: so what? The fact that MacFarlane and Salvatore are part of it is nice and means I'd expect to see a dark fantasy world emerge in this game, but they've said very little about what actually counts - the MMO they are developing.

So it'll be fantasy (and likely dark fantasy) - sure, there being a Star Wars MMO doesn't preclude their being more sci-fi MMOs, but they have to offer something different. A sci-fi game that came out with magical knights who wield light swords against an evil Tyranny would struggle in the face of SW, which is why the sci-fi games that are coming out or are out don't have those features. Unless 38 Studios is going to really do something different - and we'll see after AoC and WAR exactly what 'different' means in next gen MMOs - I can't see it being a smart idea to release yet ANOTHER fantasy MMO.

And 'lore' isn't a point of differentiation - it's a nice to have, but the majority of your players, assuming you want more than 50 000, aren't going to really care. That's not because gamers are somehow dumber today than they were previously, it's because a lot of players play RPGs as monty hauls and lore means squat in a monty haul.

I hope they do well - Schilling seems like a nice and passionate about gaming guy. But if he simply takes what he liked about EQ and tries to expand on that he's going to find that the MMO player market has moved on.

 

  gehrig38

38 Studios Founder

Joined: 12/15/07
Posts: 25

Tough times don't last, tough people do...

12/15/07 12:40:27 AM#14

Any Massachusetts college students trolling here? Hoping to be able to get a chance to meet and talk with many of the participants of the

http://www.38studios.com/mgc_contest/MGC_rules_submissions.pdf

Good luck!

Curt Schilling
Chairman, Founder, 38 Studios
Geek

  Arudanel

Novice Member

Joined: 5/06/07
Posts: 47

12/15/07 1:39:57 AM#15
Originally posted by Fail

so Schilling is in because hes a big fan of the genre and he is full of enthusiasm?? they gotta be kidding 


No. If you actually looked at the site, and did a bit of research before opening your mouth you'd sound a lot less stupid-he's in because he put the team together.