By mtmckinley 1 Comments
Year 4 - New job!WARTHOG TEXAS aka FEVER PITCH STUDIOS
After getting the job offer, I milled it over for a good day, just to be absolutely certain that I wanted to take that step. Then of course, immediately responded with a resounding YES!
Just to clarify: the job was a Junior Artist position and was a contract job for 6-9 months. I wouldn't get benefits, I would have no 401k, or anything like that. I wouldn't have taxes withheld on my pay either, which I later found out would mean I needed to pay my own taxes every quarter. And after 6-9 months, my job would potentially be over!
I bought a car, got a 12 month lease at an apartment across the street from the office (yes, I know, that's pretty crazy), and showed up for work on my first day in May 2003. The studio was called Warthog Texas, but they knew themselves as Fever Pitch Studios. They had been bought by Warthog earlier that year and had the name change, but they still considered themselves their original name in casual conversation. To this day, this was the best place I ever worked!
The project was a Lord of the Rings RPG called Shadows of Mordor although it eventually would get a name change to Shadow of the Ring. Back in 2003, the LotR movies were still coming out and they were all the rage. Electronic Arts had the license for creating games based on the films, but Universal thought they were clever by getting the rights to create games based on the Lord of the Rings books. In other words, we could make a LotR game but could not use the actors from the films or anything that the movies had that wasn't in the books. Some of the games that came out using this license was The Hobbit and War of the Ring. Both didn't fare very well at the time.
Our game was, I have to say, a very cool concept. It was an RPG like Baldur's Gate but in a Dungeon Seige type gameplay system. Shadow of the Ring would have a morality system that had three stages: Evil, Neutral, and Good and not just the black and white systems that most games had. It was pretty complex, but I loved it.
My job was creating environment assets, such as buildings, trees, rocks, dungeons, etc. I'd be the first to admit that I was under qualified for the job, but I learned tons and managed to get a little decent at the whole making game art thing as I got more practice then I ever had before. I was finally doing what I had always wanted! And it truly was a dream job. The people were excellent, the game project was fun and exciting, and I was having a blast!
By the end of 2003, we were still trucking along on our RPG, developing storylines, quests, branching outcomes based on moral choices, items, monsters... it was amazing. And soon, we'd find ourselves in a bright and shiny new office space! But that's for next time. :)