After becoming the "biz guy" for id Software and the now defunct Ion Storm, Mike Wilson co-founded Gathering of Developers in the late 1990s, a publishing venture that sought to give developers more control over their creations. The team had successes like Max Payne, Railroad Tycoon II, Stronghold, Serious Sam and more and also had fun in its marketing (including the infamous G.O.D. E3 parking lot events) but ultimately the company got bought out by Take 2 Interactive and eventually saw the label itself disappear into its 2K Games brand. Now Wilson and G.O.D. co-founder Harry Miller are bringing their game publishing sensibilities back with an all new company, Gamecock Media Entertainment. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with Wilson about the new company, its similarities to G.o.D., and other topics.
FiringSquad: First, you two co-founded the now legendary Gathering of Developers.
Mike Wilson: Actually, it's worth noting that Rick Stults, our CFO/COO at Gamecock was also a founding member of G.O.D. He was the responsible one then, too. :)
FiringSquad: Your new Gamecock Media web site has a note from Mike where he gives his thoughts on what happened with G.O.D. Do you really feel that if Max Payne had been released a year earlier that G.O.D. would still be around?
Mike Wilson: Well, who knows what would have happened, but the amount of money generated by these hit games that came too late for us would have floated a company our size for a looong time. :) Of course, the console versions sold much more than the PC version (even tho it was WAY better on PC) and our hands were tied to PC with our Take Two deal, even before they bought us. Eventually, this would have been a major problem for us anyway... it wasn't nice bringing all these properties to the table and then having to hand them to another label. :)
FiringSquad: It's been a few years since the shutdown of G.O.D. Was it always your intention to get back to publishing video and PC games?
Mike Wilson: No, when we left we really didn't think we'd be returning... it was a very emotional time for us, losing our best friend and partner Doug Myres right at the same time as we could feel our company being stripped away from us. We really felt like we had failed in our great crusade and I honestly didn't even look at anything videogames related for a couple of years.
FiringSquad: Your web site states that Gamecock is currently being financed by some secret partners. Why do the financial partners not want their identities known?
Mike Wilson: Well, if you think about it, it makes perfect sense... they are 2 super high net worth individuals basically, and they gain nothing by 'advertising' their participation except a million phone calls from people looking for money. The main investor runs several other media companies of his own as well, and some of those might not jive well with what we are doing. Plus, they want it to be clear that this is our show... they are not from games and do not pretend to be experts in it, unlike just about every other source of funding we could have found. :)