Mat@MDickie.com
Joel Cull Interview














 


~ October 2011 ~
Joel Cull is a long-time fan from Australia who put a few questions my way regarding
the release of Under Development and what it means for the future of my games:

What gave you the inspiration to restart your career with Under Development? Was it other games such as Game Dev Story?
I wasn't aware of other games such as Game Dev Story when I first embarked on the project, so it was made in isolation of them. I always intended to get around to a game about making games. I kept putting it off because my original plan was to literally allow people to make games, and I needed the content to be as highly evolved as possible. When I finally sat down to think it all through, I decided that approach was impractical and rooted the simulation in the real history of gaming instead. That worked out better than I could have ever hoped. And it all came together at the right time too, because I never could have released a project like that commercially. I wouldn't call it "restarting" my career. It was more like a coma victim regaining consciousness just long enough to whisper his final words to loved ones! It was a labour of love - something I felt compelled to make and brought into existence through sheer passion. I wouldn't have returned to work on any other project. I'm like Triple H now - I only step back in the ring for special occasions.

Will Wrestling MPire Remix contain your classic rosters or updated such as Wrestling MPire HD by Simon Sayers?
Yes, the whole point of the "remix" is that it's the same game but with different faces. As strange as it sounds, I wasn't actually a wrestling fan throughout the entire run of the Wrestling MPire series! It was fuelled by my fond memories of everything up to the "Attitude" era - which is apparent when you look at the rosters. I've genuinely been enjoying wrestling again this year though, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to recreate it from a modern fan's perspective.

Are you planning on releasing updated versions of past games such as Reach and Hard Time?
To receive an update, a game has to be either very popular or very well positioned to make use of the latest advances. The You Testament will get the new hands because we see those a lot in that game. Hard Time possibly deserves them too. Reach, on the other hand, has them buried underneath gloves so it's not a big deal. I have to weigh up what could be done with what is worth doing. I could sit here for the next 30 years tinkering with old projects like George Lucas, but you have to draw the line somewhere!

It seems your getting back in the groove. Is this a reboot to your career, and are you planning to charge for your games again or is it all free?
Well, the two things are connected because I could never return to full-time game development unless it's my job. I'm a responsible adult now, and I can no longer justify sacrificing my life to this stuff the way I did when I was in my twenties. I've already gone beyond the call of duty and performed my sadaqah. The day-to-day reality is that you're either paid to make games of that scale or you don't do it at all. All you get are the mods of existing projects, which is what we're seeing now. The freeloaders need to be careful what they wish for because this is what their "Promised Land" looks like - a distinct lack of evolution from the day I retired. The end of professionalism is the start of mediocrity. It's especially poignant when you consider that a 2012 installment of Wrestling MPire should be as highly evolved as 2008 was compared to the very first one. I don't blame the fans because we're all a product of the era we've been exposed to. It's my responsibility to adapt - not their responsibility to pay me tithes. I suppose games - along with movies, music, and books - all need a new business model to stay relevant in a 21st century where information flows freely. In the current climate, I'm a dinosaur - a guy making old-fashioned games and releasing them in an old-fashioned way. Both of those things would need to change going forward. Otherwise I'll end up like the very wrestlers I make games about - hobbling back every few years to remind people how good I USED to be! I could take it or leave it though, because making games has been reduced to being a very small part of my life.

Last question: Will there be a "Management Edition" counterpart to Wrestling MPire Remix?
Yes, both the "Management Edition" and "Career Edition" are being updated simultaneously. In fact, "Management Edition" is the focus and has been passing its developments back to "Career Edition" to ensure that data can be traded between each game with no hassle.

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