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Old 12-17-2004, 11:31 AM   #1
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I don't want to step on any toes here, but you guys didn't actually start out as Pulse Entertainment, correct? The DVD mentions something about you merging with Pulse well after production had already started. So I'm a little hazy on the details of when and how (and why) Mojo "became" a Pulse game.

What brought the core team together in the first place?
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Old 12-17-2004, 11:39 AM   #2
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Oh god, that was a long time ago. Vin, Phill and I (and Drew) actually worked together at Paracomp, before it was Macromedia.

I'll let Vin fill it in from there.
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Old 12-17-2004, 11:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
I don't want to step on any toes here, but you guys didn't actually start out as Pulse Entertainment, correct? The DVD mentions something about you merging with Pulse well after production had already started. So I'm a little hazy on the details of when and how (and why) Mojo "became" a Pulse game.

What brought the core team together in the first place?
Whoa. That's a toughie.

Bad Mojo began as a Drew Pictures game. Drew Pictures was a boutique developer started by Drew Huffman. I was Drew's first employee. In 1993 we released our first game, Iron Helix, and after that we were cooking with gas. We made money and got marginally famous in the small world of CD ROM developers. We began Mojo in 1994 I believe and grew the company slowly, so as to allow for simultaneous development of multiple titles. But we had a lot of grwoing pains and life was not easy for us. Poor Drew was up all night worrying about how to run the company. It took a toll on all of us. There was a tremendous amount of stress and we had real investors at that point so we had to answer to the man (our board of Directors). Mojo development was bogged down for various reasons, some of them technical, some of them psychological, and many times it looked as if we might fall apart as a company. But Drew held us together. At the time we began looking for technology partners. We needed to stop writing game code from scratch and wanted Mojo to be the last custom code game we did. We entertained many offers, including a 10 million dollar buyout deal from Take2 Interactive! (A great story in itself). Well, along came Pulse. The principals there (Bill Woodward and Young Harvill) were our old bosses when we had worked for a software start-up called Paracomp in the late '80's. They had a new game engine/real-time 3D rendering technology that looked very promising. And they needed a production arm to launch the thing. So the match made perfect sense. On paper. We meregd with Pulse pretty late in the development stages of Mojo but they were instrumental in getting it done and marketing it. By the time the game shipped we were one company....but our problems were just beginning....VC
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:04 PM   #4
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Saaaay, for a very informative answer, it teased as much as it answered...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tease #1
including a 10 million dollar buyout deal from Take2 Interactive! (A great story in itself).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tease #2
but our problems were just beginning....
Let's hear 'em!
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:10 PM   #5
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Well, there's not going to be any Pulse bashing here because I got them to okay this re-release in the first place.

But after Mojo for the Mac and for Europe, followed by a few months of brainstorming and some other less than noteworthy events over another two years, Pulse spun Vin, Phill and me out - as Jinx.
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
Saaaay, for a very informative answer, it teased as much as it answered...





Let's hear 'em!
Do I really have to tell you what I think about Take2? I better not. I forsee this haunting me. Take2 is a marvelous company, with much integrity and commitment to quality titles.

After Pulse merged with Drew Pictures, worlds collided. It was L.A. vs. San Francisco. And it soon became apparent that the Pulse technology was going to take some time to develop before it was ready for primetime. But like most game companies, we needed to ship titles fast. We did a huge deal with Acclaim and promised 3 games within a fairly short span of time. Going from a one game at a time development cycle to multiple games at a time ain't easy. We had three games going. Space Bunnies Must Die!, Presto, and Flux. Alex and I were sort of, let's just say, benched, during this time and began working on a new adventure game called BloodRunner which was influenced a lot by Grim Fandango (now that's a story I'm dying to tell). Anyway, after struggling for months to get these games out, Acclaim dropped us. They took a huge bath on the waning 16bit cartridge market and had to cut costs fast. Pulse was left holding the bag for three titles. And we didn't have the resources to do three titles. First we dropped Presto (A GREAT adventure game created by Phil Simon) and then we dropped Flux (or should I say, we spun them off to form their own independant studio after Microsoft picked up the tab). That left us with Space Bunnies. By then Drew Huffman was getting, uh, tired of working on games. He left the company to pursue his own projects. So that left Phil, Alex and I to finish Space Bunnies, and like idiots, we did...
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:27 PM   #7
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Sorry to dredge up the bad memories, but I gotta say, this is fascinating stuff. From our perspective (the outside), everything looks so clean and neat and shiny on the surface, and we rarely get a glimpse into the often-chaotic stories behind the games. That's why it's such a treat to have people like you guys come and share them.

I suspect people sometimes don't know what to ask, or are too shy, but I bet we're all lapping this stuff up greedily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by serpentbox
(A GREAT adventure game created by Phil Simon)
Argh! I'll have to pester Phill for this story when he gets here.

Quote:
...began working on a new adventure game called BloodRunner which was influenced a lot by Grim Fandango (now that's a story I'm dying to tell).
Dying to but can't? Or dying to but waiting to be asked? Consider it asked! Tell us about BloodRunner.
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
Sorry to dredge up the bad memories, but I gotta say, this is fascinating stuff. From our perspective (the outside), everything looks so clean and neat and shiny on the surface, and we rarely get a glimpse into the often-chaotic stories behind the games. That's why it's such a treat to have people like you guys come and share them.

I suspect people sometimes don't know what to ask, or are too shy, but I bet we're all lapping this stuff up greedily.



Argh! I'll have to pester Phill for this story when he gets here.



Dying to but can't? Or dying to but waiting to be asked? Consider it asked! Tell us about BloodRunner.

BloodRunner was going to be the greatest adventure game ever made. I learned a lot from Tim Schaffer and played all his games until I knew what made them good and what made them bad (though not much was bad). This was a game where the player was going to become a T-Cell in a living human body. This T-Cell was a tough private eye on the trail of a serial killer trying to escape the body by hijacking an unborn fetus. We described it as The Maltese Falcon meets Fantastic Voyage. We did 9 months of pre-production and conceptul design. I have hundreds of drawings of organic environments and characters and a game treatment ready to go. There are dozens of really cool characters and vehicles. It was going to be an epic. We went down to Dreamworks to pitch it and like fools, we left all our materials there for them to keep. Well guess what? A year later they made Osmosis Jones, an animated feature about a private eye who lives inside a body. Coincidence? No way. They ripped us off. But whatever. The movie was terrible. BloodRunner was going to be dark, gritty, chock full of twists and turns and a storyline that read like a noir thirller...all I need is a backer and we could make this game now and make it so much better than it was even dreamed of being because of newer technology. Know anybody interested in funding a great adventure game?
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:44 PM   #9
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Yep, I remember that Dreamworks meeting. "We don't sign NDAs."

We were naive - we left our whole outline, and even bubble cards that we had made for each of the characters.
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:45 PM   #10
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Ouch, that really hurts. Sorry, I have nothing constructive to contribute. I've heard so many stories about that kind of silent intellectual property theft and it's always a shame. I hope you manage to find some kind of backing; that would be a hell of a game.
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoAlex
We were naive - we left our whole outline, and even bubble cards that we had made for each of the characters.
Did you ever get them back?
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by remixor
Ouch, that really hurts. Sorry, I have nothing constructive to contribute. I've heard so many stories about that kind of silent intellectual property theft and it's always a shame. I hope you manage to find some kind of backing; that would be a hell of a game.

Has Will Wright ever done acid? I think not. That seems to be what one might say when one doesn't really know how terrifying an acid trip can be.
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by serpentbox
Has Will Wright ever done acid? I think not. That seems to be what one might say when one doesn't really know how terrifying an acid trip can be.

I'm not bitter (about the downright rotten thievery). I know BloodRunner will get made one day. Right Alex?
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Old 12-17-2004, 12:52 PM   #14
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The moment I heard about Osmosis Jones, I called our lawyer and pretty much anyone who would listen to me. In the end, everyone felt that despite the obvious connection, we should let it go. Especially, if we aspired to much more, we couldn't get ourselves blacklisted over an IP lawsuit.

It's still a sore spot. The guys we met with over a Dreamworks have all moved on. There's more detail but we can't get into stuff like this in an open forum.

Vin and I will find some way to get it done though. Someday.
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Old 12-17-2004, 01:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by serpentbox
Has Will Wright ever done acid? I think not. That seems to be what one might say when one doesn't really know how terrifying an acid trip can be.
Nah, he doesn't seem like the type.
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Old 12-17-2004, 01:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
Did you ever get them back?

Yeah, I was that guy who plotted to kidnap and rape Steven Speilberg...

Just kidding Steve.
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Old 12-17-2004, 02:50 PM   #17
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This game totally needs to be made. Without even knowing your story, which sounds wildly imaginative in its own right, the gameworld itself would become an integral element that's just bursting with possibility. The human body from within? Oh man, the potential is staggering in the right hands (and by "right", of course I mean "yours").

And you're certainly correct that Osmosis Jones was a giant turd. Even Chris Rock couldn't save it.
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Old 12-17-2004, 03:01 PM   #18
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It sounds a bit like Psychonauts actually (well, besides that it's in the body and not in the brain). Pure coincidence (geniuses think alike and all that)?
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Old 12-17-2004, 03:08 PM   #19
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Well, Psychonauts explores dreams and/or the psyche, which allows for more fantastical settings, but both concepts are ripe for creative minds.
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Old 12-17-2004, 03:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
Well, Psychonauts explores dreams and/or the psyche, which allows for more fantastical settings, but both concepts are ripe for creative minds.

That BASTARD Tim Schaffer stole my idea!!!

At the rate they're going, BloodRunner and Psychonauts will be released on the same day...just kidding Tim.

Of course you are right. BloodRunner MUST be made. Start the groundswell...
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