Go ahead, pinch yourself. Now Pinch yourself a little harder. Now pinch yourself really hard, hard enough that it bleeds a little, because that's how hard you'll have to pinch yourself to realize you're not dreaming.
Now, before I get into making the actual announcement that I have publisher for my new RPG-Adventure game and production has begun, I have a little story to tell you all.
Actually I don't. I tried really hard to think of one, even making one up from all sorts of made up stuff, but I couldn't think of anything. So why don't we have a little quiet time and you can make something up in your head.
Yeah, see, it's hard isn't it. That's why game designers are paid millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars to ply their craft.
I started working on this game four years ago and was turned down by just about everyone that had a business card with "publisher" printed on it. A couple of years ago Clayton Kauzlaric and I start doing the short-lived (mostly because we're lazy) Grumpy Gamer comics and created the DeathSpank character and I thought, hey, he's a lot more fun than the main character I had before, so we started messing around with story ideas and fleshing him and his world out.
I roughed out a game design for the first episode and started pitching it around and a funny thing happened. Everyone hated it. But the weird thing is the more publishers that turned it down, the more convinced I became that this was a great idea. Every rejection fueled me with excitement and the knowledge that I was right. Nothing says innovation and creativity like armed security showing up to escort you out of the building while saying "Let's not have any trouble".
At the point I thought I'd talked to just about every publisher and began dusting off old Mafia connections, I hooked up with the guys at Hothead Games to consult on the Penny Arcade Game. After our first Penny Arcade meeting I knew there was something different about them. They had this aura of "I get it" and weren't afraid of things that were different, and as the Penny Arcade game shows, were eager to push boundaries.
I ran back to America and called up Clayton and said "Pinch yourself. Now Pinch yourself a little harder." He replied "It's fucking three in the morning, who the hell is this!"
Now things were moving like a 18-wheeler with a cut brake-line, so I called up Tim Schafer and said "Loan me a desk, I have a game to design!" and I proceeded to crank out what can only be called the perfect melding of a Monkey Island style adventure game with the wicked RPG game play of Diablo. Clayton and I got together and banged the kicks out, slapped some meat on the characters and tightened up our story and world, and damn it, we had a design you could cook an egg on.
The more I talked to the fine people at Hothead about the deal, the more I liked what I was seeing in them. They had that spark of independence, a lot of experience and were all mighty fun people to boot, so I decided to move to Canada and go work for them as their Creative Director as well as leading the DeathSpank project.