Curt Schilling is the star pitcher with a World Series ring from the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, and another from the legendary 2004 Boston Red Sox. He says next year will be his last season, pitching in Fenway Park. For those who aren’t baseball fans, The Green Monster is the famous left field fence in Fenway. The way the park is built, that fence is unusually close to the batter – and, accordingly, is unusually high. And green. So why the heck am I talking about this on my blog about games?
Besides being a pitcher who may be bound for the Hall of Fame, Curt has been a geeky gamer since 1981. And we now know what he’s going to do after retiring next year. He has just formed his own game studio, Green Monster Games, with the intent to publish “a game that changes the landscape of the online marketplace.” Says Schilling, “We are excited about the future of the industry and even more excited that we will be a part of it, and help shape it for years to come. We look forward to proving that to every gamer on the planet.”
Note “marketplace” – he is being very close-to-the-vest about this, but that’s a clear signal of how they’re thinking about this differently from the current crop of MMOs.
Think for a moment about the PR value of Curt creating anything – and the unprecedented media coverage. Unprecedented media coverage means unprecedented outreach beyond the usual geeky gamer demographic. When’s the last time you saw a feature about an MMO in Sports Illustrated, or on ESPN? Ah, but it gets better!
Todd McFarlane is a legendary comic book artist turned entrepreneur (and, not coincidentally, legendary baseball fan). He’s brilliantly talented, quirky, and in the geeky space of comic book fans his name is bigger than Curt Schilling’s is for baseball fans. Todd McFarlane is signed up to be the Art Director for Green Monster Games’ premier MMO. OK, there’s a lot more overlap between the geeky gamer demographic and the geeky comic book demographic – but still, this will also lead to unprecedented media coverage for the game they are creating.
But we’re not done yet! R.A. Salvatore is a very very popular niche author who has written dozens of books that gamers have enjoyed for decades. Many of them are set specifically in the Dungeons and Dragons game settings. A few people have played that game, too. 😀 R.A. has signed up to be the Creative Director for their first MMO.
They are assembling the team, in pre-production now, and recruiting the best of experienced and proven talent from previous MMO teams to fill it. Moorgard, much-loved community manager for Everquest 2, is an example.
Note that Curt isn’t dabbling here. He really has played games for decades, and most particularly he is already known as a player and spokesperson for the Sony Online Entertainment MMOs Everquest and Everquest 2.
There are no guarantees, obviously – process and personalities have to be extremely difficult to manage on a project like this. On the other hand, consider all of the things which they have going for them that seperate them from the usual MMO startup: funding, independent control, high-profile big-name PR, high-quality creative content, access to the best experienced professionals in the business…
Yeah, it will be fun to see what they come up with!