Eurogamer: Tell me about how you managed to green-light DeathSpank as a game that would be commercially released.
Ron Gilbert: Well I had been consulting on the Penny Arcade Adventures, so I got to know the guys pretty well. Joel DeYoung [director of game technology] was the person I worked with the most, so I brought up DeathSpank to him and said, 'Hey, I've got this game'. I gave him my pitch documents. I'd been working with them pretty closely, so they knew me pretty well and I knew them. It wasn't a really heavy business relationship since we had that personal relationship already.
They liked the game a lot. We figured the best way to get the game made was for me to actually go work for them for the duration of the game. I went and worked for them for the two years that it took to do the game, just so I could be right there and be really involved in the whole process and head up the project and all that.
Eurogamer: You recently announced on your website that you had left Hothead Games, but didn't explain why. Was the idea that you were only going to work for Hothead for the duration of the development of DeathSpank, and you were always going to leave after it was finished?
Ron Gilbert: Yeah, it was for the duration of the game.
Eurogamer: DeathSpank was picked up by EA as publisher. How did you secure that deal, and how has EA influenced the development process?
Ron Gilbert: I don't think it's influenced the development process much. By the time EA came on as publisher the game was essentially finished. We had done all of the work, the creative work and all of that stuff. Me working with EA has been mostly in the marketing and the PR end, which they have been really great.
Eurogamer: It must have felt great that EA picked up the game based on what you already had.
Ron Gilbert: Yeah, that's really nice. It is a little bit different because a lot of publishers are involved earlier, but this game was essentially done by the time they picked it up.
Eurogamer: What's the latest on the PC version of DeathSpank? Will it actually be released?
Ron Gilbert: We're not really talking about the PC version right now. We're focusing on the Xbox and the PSN versions.
Eurogamer: DeathSpank's a downloadable game. Quite a few developers reckon Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network herald the return of the bedroom coding era, and that we'll see loads of interesting, quirky games as a result. Is that over-egging it a bit, or are XBLA and PSN that important?
Ron Gilbert: Yeah, I think they are. I'm really excited about that. You have a lot of the mainstream titles, and they cost 30, 40 million dollars to make. When a company's investing that much money in something, it's very hard to take risks on things. Having a market like XBLA and PSN, where you can do titles for much less money, just allows people to take more risks and be a little more innovative. That's really good for the industry as a whole. So I'm incredibly excited about both of those services and downloadable games.
Eurogamer: At E3 2010 last month Kinect and PlayStation Move went big. What's your feeling on motion control? Can it be incorporated into the kind of games you make?
Ron Gilbert: I don't know. I have mixed feelings about those things. On one hand they seem a little bit gimmicky. But the other hand, they could be kind of interesting. The key to this - and I think Nintendo saw this with the Wii - is you need to design games for them from the core. You can't just take a game and go, 'Oh you know what? We're going to add motion control to DeathSpank, or we're going to add motion control to Monkey Island,' because the games really weren't meant for that from the beginning. I think if people can explore what those gaming interfaces can do I think they could be interesting. But I'm a little sceptical on them.