Mat@MDickie.com
Wrestling Gamers United Interview: Part 1














 


~ July 2003 ~
Before I had ever made a 3D wrestling simulator, Wrestling Gamers United were in
on the ground floor after seeing my 2D work and became supportive of my ambitions...

Mat, you've worked your ass off creating your games. With competition from THQ, where do you see your games fitting in? Why do you think people play your games when they can play Smackdown and Fire Pro?
I'm not as threatened by THQ as you might think. Sure, they're out there in the mainstream with the WWE license behind them - but that's a double-edged sword. Every game they make has to be predictable and safe because it's just another piece of WWE merchandise. You'll never see a booking game from them, or anything that 'shoots' like Big BumpZ. Even if they did, they'd only be faking an interest in that side of the business so it wouldn't come out right. My role is simple: I make games as a wrestling fan for wrestling fans. I deliver countless details, concepts, and features that THQ simply don't care about. My graphics and gameplay might leave a lot to be desired, but the heart is there and a lot of people appreciate that...

You say a lot of people appreciate your work and I'm sure they do. Any idea exactly how many people have downloaded or purchased your latest games?
Ah, it would be very unprofessional of me to get into that! I can tell you that Federation Booker is the best selling game ever made in Blitz BASIC. It's prequel, Federation Wrestling, was by far the best selling game on Idigicon's books - and Federation Booker has already sold more than that. Of course we're not talking about millions here - only thousands. That's just from word of mouth though. There's an unprecedented amount of publicity brewing behind the scenes, and everything looks set to blow up over the next 12 months...

Is that right? Care to give our readers any hints on what they might expect to see from you in the near future?
It all gets very interesting from The MDickie Show onwards, because that's the first in a series of games that will have 3D wrestling gameplay. As soon as i'm done with that, i'll move on to a series of proper 3D wrestling sims - culminating in a 3D version of my booking concept. The most exciting thing is that i'm confident about working with real indy promotions for these games. They're just small enough to appreciate a game, and i'm just good enough to give them one to be proud of. I'd like to go on a tour of all the major indy promotions and put them on the map with their own game. No commercial developer would even consider that because there's very little money to be made - but i just want to help them succeed as wrestling organizations...

It sounds like you have a good idea of what you want to accomplish with your games. Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?
Yeah, i've got the future planned out alright! I'm very ambitious. My short-term goal is to work closely with the wrestling industry, and to keep progressing the wrestling game genre. In the long-term, i want to reinvent the whole games industry. I want to make independent game development a force to be reckoned with. The "one man show" i've got going on has so much potential - especially now that i'm publishing myself. I do what i want, when i want, how i want. Nobody has ever been in that position, and the results are going to be very interesting. At the moment, the games industry worships Hollywood - we've got huge teams taking years to produce blockbuster titles. What i'm doing has more in common with the music industry - a steady flow of small, affordable titles that have got a bit more heart and personality. I'd like to see how far i can take that...

You bring up the issue of licensing. Do you think your products will ever land you a major publishing deal without a WWE license or are you content to keep things the way they are and possibly never see a big pay day?
To be honest, i don't think i'll ever want an official publishing deal again. I'm really enjoying publishing myself - not least because i can do whatever i want. There's nobody to question my beliefs, dilute my vision, or censor me. That's important to a developer like me that's trying to push things forward. Sure, i wish i was in the stores and had better routes of distribution in general - but that's in my hands now, and i'll eventually get there myself...

Your future sounds bright. How about your past? What would you say is the biggest mistake you ever made getting into the game business and what did you learn from it?
I don't stress too much about "mistakes" because they're all part of the story and got me where i am today, etc. However, i suppose the most important lessons i've learned have been about people. I like to please everybody and it took me a long to accept that that isn't possible. For every person that loves what you're doing, there's someone that hates it. For every person that respects your success, there's someone that resents it. There was a time when i would pander to these people and try to win them over - but it's not worth it. Now i just let them go while i concentrate on myself and the people that are appreciating my work...

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