Behind The Scenes

Curt Schilling talks about creating Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

As fans can attest, when Baseball Tonight analyst Curt Schilling sets a goal, he accomplishes it.

So it should come as no surprise that his new video game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is being released to rave reviews.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is the first release from 38 Studios, the video game studio which Schilling founded in 2006.

The world champion pitcher turned 38 Studios boss sat down with Front Row for a passionate discussion about Reckoning and what he calls “opening day of a second career.”

FR: How proud are you today?
I was incredibly proud yesterday [when the game launched Jan. 31], but today’s a new day. It was overwhelming to see it released and know that it’s happened. In many ways it was like standing in the locker room after winning a game. You’re happy that you pitched well, but today’s a new day and there’s more stuff to do so it’s my job to keep everyone in the company focused and working in the right direction.

FR: How long have you been playing video games?
I’ve been playing video games for 30 years. I’ve been a gamer my whole life. It kept me occupied on the road during my playing days, too. I always had the latest and greatest laptop or console. That’s what I did, that’s how I kept myself occupied.

FR: When did you decide you wanted to start your own video game studio?
The genesis of the company is about 10-15 years old. I was looking at my post baseball retirement life and trying to decide what I wanted to do.

FR: How many people did it take to make this game?
We’re just south of 400 employees in the company. The Reckoning development team was anywhere from 75 to 110 at launch and we’re hovering around 110-120 now.

FR: What’s your typical day like at 38 Studios?
Well, I’m usually there anytime between 6:30-8 a.m. There is a morning meeting with all managers. I’m in and out of meetings all day and I’m walking the floor. My No. 1 priority is to protect the culture we’ve created there. We have an incredibly talented and passionate team. I had baseball jerseys made for the entire studio — simply to say you play for the name on the front, not the name of the back. So many companies fail to realize that.

FR: What games influenced the creation of ‘Reckoning?’
Well, gamers will get this: Think God of War meets Oblivion meets Skyrim meets Fable. When you think of some of the signature pieces, whether it be visuals from Fable or combat from God of War, we just didn’t take a sprinkle of here and there, we tried to take the deepest, most compelling features of those games and build our own game out of it. Same way I pitched. I didn’t have [Greg] Maddux’s changeup or Pedro [Martinez]’s slider or fastball, but I talked to all those guys and I tried to learn something from all those guys to make me, and I ended up as who I was. I think that’s a smart approach.

FR: Trial and error is a major component of creating a video game. Can you discuss the process for ‘Reckoning?’
It’s all trial and error and then you get to decision points and someone has to make a call and know the direction you want to take. Everyone thinks of cool things the farther along you go and if you keep thinking of cool things, you’ll never finish the game. That’s such a critical piece — having the focus and the understanding when you set out to create it what you want it to be.

FR: How prevalent is gaming in baseball clubhouses?
Very. They’re everywhere. There are worse things to do with your time. When we traveled we used to play a lot as well. It’s a productive way to stay out of trouble. And, for me, technology was such an integral part of my career in baseball so being around technology was a byproduct of my career.

FR: More pressure: Opening Day or video game release?
Opening Day was never pressure. I reveled in it. I loved that. I know I slept like a baby before Game 7 of the 2001 World Series because I was prepared. I slept not a wink a week before this game launched. I had no control over anything and I so badly wanted this for my team. Just seeing the passion for my team — I wanted them to be rewarded.

In the video below, ABC News reporter John Berman played Reckoning with Schilling.

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