Eurogamer: Are the roots of why Ron Gilbert departed buried within that communal spirit?
Joel DeYoung: Well you'd have to ask him specifically about his exact reasons for leaving. I mean it was an amicable departure certainly, but my sense of it was that he was working with us a consultant on the Penny Arcade titles and we really enjoyed not only his experience of making adventure games and how he could educate us and Gabe and Tycho, but he was also a nice guy to work with. And very creative.
When he said he had the DeathSpank concept and he had been pitching it to publishers for a few years but never had any bites - how about Hothead making it? We said yeah we're definitely interested in that. There was a brief period when he was going to work remotely from the States and we were going to possibly open an office near where he was. But he said why don't I just move to Vancouver and that's when we hired him in as our creative director, and he of course had an influence on all the stuff we were working on at the studio.
But DeathSpank was his focus because it was his baby. I think when DeathSpank was nearing completion he decided he had done what he came to do and then he moved on at that point.
Eurogamer: Do you feel a bit lost without him?
Joel DeYoung: No, like I said: based on the way we run this studio it just comes naturally. DeathSpank as a character, I think it's very clear what he's all about. You could easily imagine DeathSpank in some other scenarios or other situations or other environments and extrapolate out what that means. We've got writers and designers and artists internally here and they were the people who created DeathSpank. Because of the way we ran it it's not the sort of thing that's really reliant on any one individual.
More on Swarm
Review: Download Games Roundup
Swarm! Slam! Rescue! Battle! Ghostbusters!
Update: On Euro PS3 a week later.
Hothead's latest gets platform details.
Eurogamer: Will you partner with other big-name collaborators - like Penny Arcade, like Ron Gilbert - in the future?
Joel DeYoung: These were opportunities that arose organically. We didn't start the company saying we're going to find really well-known, famous people in the industry and try to collaborate them. If opportunities were to come up in the future to work with someone again, then yeah, we'd be open to it - but it's not something we're seeking explicitly.
At the same time we're releasing Swarm we have other new ideas in the works where we're creating our own original IP.
Eurogamer: Are we going to see another game from Hothead this year?
Joel DeYoung: Possibly. Possibly. I can't announce anything right now.
Eurogamer: How many teams do you have at Hothead?
Joel DeYoung: We're pretty fluid. Up until recently we had two teams, because we had the team on DeathSpank and the team on Swarm. You might have heard about the card game we're making as well, which has a working title of Arcana. That was a smaller third team. So it's about three right now; we're about 50 people, and we have the flexibility to move between up to four or five teams as necessary.
Eurogamer: Did you settle on a name for that card game? I remember you asking the internet for help.
Joel DeYoung: We still haven't settled for one yet!
Eurogamer: My suggestion is Cazards and that's probably the best.
Joel DeYoung: Ha ha ha ha! That's good!
Yeah we were really amused by the suggestions.
Eurogamer: [He doesn't seem to be going for it. I'll try again] When is Cazards coming out? Is that this year?
Joel DeYoung: Ha ha!
We don't have a date yet, but we're working on it. But obviously that will be posted on our blog when we have more information.
We're going to have to use that name now I guess!