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38 Studios: profile

What happens when a successful professional athlete nears the twilight of career?  Most seem to follow one of three trajectories:

  • The Quiet Departure: characterized by choice to  retire from the limelight to live quietly with family where the great wealth accumulated can be enjoyed or redeployed towards new challenges.
  • The Clinger–On: characterized by the desperate effort to hold just a little longer rather than acceptance of the end of one period and the opportunity to begin another
  • The Transitional Talker: characterized by a shift to either sports broadcasting or the front office whereby the athlete accepts the end of one career, but can remain close to the sport he/she loves and begin something new.

Curt Schilling, the outspoken, bloody-sock hero of the Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series campaign, and todays pitcher for the opening game of the Red Sox 2007 season, has a few years left pitching at an elite level but in seeming anticipation of the next phase of his life, has begun charting a new, and less common, trajectory.

Last fall, Schilling together with partners Todd McFarlane (the famed comic book creator/writer, toy manufacturer, baseball fan and co-owner of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team) and   Robert “R.A.” Salvatore (a best selling author of fantasy fiction and creator of video game storylines)  launched a gaming company originally called Green Monster Games.

The inclusion of creative talent like McFarlane as Art Director and Salvatore as Creative director (Salvatore has previously written stories for Xbox and Playstation games) suggests this is much more than a vanity project, even if the rebranding of the company to 38 Studios after Schilling’s uniform number suggests otherwise.

The focus for 38 Studios will initially be Massively Multi-player online games (MMOGs) but the ambitious remarks made by principles suggest they hope to be much more than just a game developer.  (Not a surprise given McFarlane’s past comic book effort Spawn led to a feature film and a massively popular toy merchandising business). 

They company, which has it corporate website up and running, hopes to have their first title in late 2009 or early 2010 (quite a ways off).  Right now, they are selling branded merchandise and hiring staff.  The first hire was game industry veteran Brett Close as President (Schilling holds the title of CEO).

It will likely be at least a year before 38 Studios can even be counted as a blip on the radar screen but given the creative team they’ve assembled, it’ll be interesting to see what they yield.

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