GB: How did you hook up with Iron Tower and start the project?
Scott: I began lurking around the Iron Tower forums in 2007. I’ve always been a fan of Lovecraft and also a bit of an English nerd. I started to think about how an old fashioned, turn-based RPG, with a setup like Age of Decadence, would work with Lovecraft’s sort of horror. I wrote The First Mate’s Account (appended at bottom), which would act as an uncovered bit of flavor text for a quest, and sent it to Vince to ask his opinion. More and longer stories followed –some meant to tease a game event or location, others which were standalone stories in their own right– and Vince invited me to post them. Initially, I had hoped that I could contribute as a writer, modeler or animator (I also have a background in 3D modeling and character animation) to AoD or Iron Tower’s next project.
The stories became popular and I began to hash out how the rules to a full-fledged game would work and how the player’s chosen Background would integrate into the story. There were folks on the forums, and the internet at large, who were clearly losing their minds at the idea of a serious Lovecraft RPG and I got a really positive response to everything I shared.
GB: Why did you ultimately decide to cancel the project? Did Vince have plans to roll more people onto your project as AoD inched closer to completion?
Scott: Vince, Oscar and Nick all offered their assistance once AoD was published, but as Lead Developer I would still need to find committed artists, programmers, etc. to form a team. I knew Iron Tower would have other projects, presumably a follow-up to AoD, and of course Dead State. These guys can’t clone themselves to work full time on Cyclopean.
Attempts to recruit artists and programmers over the course of a year-and-a-half were basically a complete bust. Getting someone talented to volunteer their time on such shaky grounds is understandably a very hard sell. Folks like the Iron Tower team and all the talented people who signed up for Dead State on nothing but a promise are 1 in 10,000.
Vince asked me that rather than cancel the game, I declare a hiatus and maybe come back to it later. Although I had already made up my mind, I let it sit fallow for six months, but I couldn’t in good conscience leave everyone hanging when I had no hope to revive it in the future. At the end of the day what I want is to contribute in the areas I’m talented, not to be lead developer. I wasn’t (and still am not) ready to make that kind of commitment. Writing is my thing, not project management.
GB: Would you ever consider restarting the project? Or was the cancellation more than a matter of resources?
Scott: It’s not a matter of financial resources, but human resources. Basically the project had a lead writer (me), but no dedicated artists or programmers, and no lead developer.