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Interview: Ron Gilbert

21 Apr 2008  by   Paul Younger
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on Gilbert will always be known as the guy that gave us the comic genius that is ‘Monkey Island’ and gamers the world over are thankful that Guybrush came into their lives. With a career spanning over 20 years, Ron is now known as the Grumpy Gamer over at his blog, which includes animated comics that take a scathing look at games and the industry. It was here that the idea for his latest game, ‘DeathSpank’ was born, which is described as ‘Monkey Island’ meets ‘Diablo’ – nuff said.

Still intent on bringing the world games featuring rich stories, humour and adventure, Ron has become creative director at Hothead Games and is also working on a game based on popular web-comic ‘Penny Arcade’. We caught up with him to talk about the early days of gaming, working with Hothead, his forthcoming titles and his favourite ‘Monkey Island’ moment.

Why did you decide to join Hothead?

I started working with them a year ago, consulting on the ‘Penny Arcade’ game and got to know everyone and really liked what I was seeing in the company. After they agreed to fund ‘DeathSpank‘, we talked about me playing a bigger role in the company as their creative director and it just seemed to make a lot of sense to me.

How would you describe ‘DeathSpank’ for those that haven’t been reading your blog?

‘DeathSpank’ is an episodic RPG-Adventure game featuring an overenthusiastic hero named ‘DeathSpank’ who often does more damage than good when he shows up to help people in need. As the name suggests, the game is a satirical look at gaming heroes and how seriously they seem to take themselves.

Has work started on the game already and what can you tell us about the project so far?

Right now we’re in pre-production. We’re building the technology we need and doing art exploration and planning for the episodes. There is nothing to see right now. Move along.

Was it Hothead’s decision to make the ‘DeathSpank’ game or did you have to drop some big hints?

I don’t drop hints, I just come right out and ask. I had been working on the ‘DeathSpank’ design for several years, looking for a publisher. After I got to know the Hothead guys, they seemed like a good fit for the game, so I asked and after they looked at the design, they said yes.

Is Hothead a hands on company to work for or are you basically left to your own creative devises?

I think they trust me enough to let me make the game that I want and need to make. I am working with all of Hothead’s artists and programmers, who are very talented, so there is a lot of collaboration.

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