A Chat With Gamecock

Gamecock Media Group – or just plain ole Gamecock for short – announced themselves to the world a few days ago. The company was founded by former Gathering of Developers CEO, Mike Wilson and President, Harry Miller. Their first title is still a long way from being released – reportedly coming later on this year but five games are currently confirmed to be coming out of their doors in the future. These range from the action/adventure game ‘Insecticide’ that is best described as Bug Noir from developers Crackpot Entertainment to the second title from Stubbs The Zombie developers titled ‘Hail to the Chimp.’ Other titles are Hero developed by Firefly Studios, Mushroom Men by Red Fly Studios and an MMO player vs player title called Fury developed by Auran.

To pass the time until the independent artist-driven publishing house releases its first title we posed some questions to one of its founders – Mike Wilson – and got the following answers.

DarkZero: Wow! Gamecock… what a fantastic name, what a brilliant logo! The decision making process must have been a crazy one! So… why the name and who thought of it?

Mike Wilson: We can’t really see what all the fuss has been about the name. In fact, it seems so obvious that we thought the question would be ‘why hasn’t anyone used this before?’ The idea behind the name is two-fold; firstly it’s a constant reminder that the developer and game brands are what’s important, not the publishing label. Also, this whole industry needs to lighten up, on many levels. Remember… we make GAMES.

DarkZero: The distinctive name made yesterday’s Press Releases stand out much more and in turn will most likely lead to more coverage of the company and its published games across the Internet and other media… was that part of the plan?

Mike Wilson: Plans are for wimps.

DarkZero: The idea and driving force behind Gamecock seem very much the same as those behind your other guise as Gathering of Developers back in the late 90’s. Will Gamecock work in much the same way as you did back then or is there new plan of action?

Mike Wilson: We were young and naive back in the 1990s… this time around we’re young and experienced. Things will work much better this time (although, if I remember correctly, they worked quite well last time).

DarkZero: Staying with Gathering of Developers for a moment. It seems that things started to go wrong just as your first truly AAA title Max Payne was about to be released. Do you ever wish that things played out a bit differently back then?

Mike Wilson: I’m not attempting to duck that question in any way, but you should find what you want in the ‘Legends’ section of our website. That tells things much better than I could in a few sentences here.

DarkZero: As a publisher you seem intent on breaking the industry mould of playing it safe but these days it seems the most successful companies rely on appealing to a mass-market with numbers appearing after many of their titles. Are you confident your original titles will find a home in the market when sales numbers of many other attempts at originality don’t match up to the quality of the title?

Mike Wilson: We’re not breaking the mould, we’re just using different Jello. Our titles will always find a home.

DarkZero: With Hail To The Chimp announced for “next-gen consoles” does that mean just PS3 and Xbox360… or could we see the title or another future release on the Wii?

Mike Wilson: We’re not ruling anything out at the moment. It’s early days, so we’re going to look at every opportunity that presents itself and judge it on its merits.

DarkZero: Is there any place for sequels at the company or would you rather just focus on publishing completely original games?

Mike Wilson: We’re not planning any sequels as yet, but then we haven’t published anything as yet. Anyhow, isn’t this whole affair something of a sequel? And isn’t that question a sequel to question number five?

DarkZero: Do you find that asking for developers to risk with outsource distribution leads to it own problems or does the option of keeping their own IP outweigh any troubles that may cause?

Mike Wilson: Not sure I understand the question. Every development deal that’s ever been done has presented a risk to the developer. We believe that we present much less risk with our set-up… and a whole lot more fun.

DarkZero: With publishers now buying or in some way contractually owning the IP’s of games almost an industry standard does Gamecock’s option to completely go against this result in it own fair share of troubles for the company? What are the pros and cons of making such a move?

Mike Wilson: We don’t work with pros or cons… well, maybe some pros.

DarkZero: A standout quote from yesterday’s official announcement of the company was that you believe this is an originality starved industry. After that seemingly all encompassing statement is there anything you feel other companies are doing correctly at the moment?

Mike Wilson: A lot of other companies are doing a lot of things correctly at the moment. Making coop-loads of money, for example. They’re just not making games that we want to play… or publish.

DarkZero: Many gamers today seem to talk about ‘that new EA game’ or ‘that new Ubisoft game’ without taking notice of the other logo on the box telling them who actually made what they are about to play. Is part of your ambition to get gamers to talk about the developer more and hopefully be talking about Wideload, Auran or Firefly instead of focusing directly on the publisher?

Mike Wilson: We don’t believe that anyone outside of the business talks about ‘that new EA game’ or ‘that new Ubisoft game’.

DarkZero: Mushroom civil war, comical medieval dungeons, chimp politics, and bug noir… they all sound great and more importantly original! Do you believe the gaming equivalent of Miramax could be a reality this time?

Mike Wilson: We’ll be the gaming equivalent of Miramax when we publish Woody Allen’s first video game. Until then, we’ll just be happy to be the gaming equivalent of Gamecock.