Part two of the interview with Matt Wilson, Creative Director of Privateer Press

Continued from part one:

Dan: What products do you have out and available now?

Matt: Well we have the two compatible wargames WARMACHINE and HORDES. We have the Iron Kingdoms RPG products, currently available as PDF downloads, primarily. We have the Collectable miniatures game MONSTERPOCALYPSE. We have the sports-hybrid game of steam-powered robot arena action, GRIND. And we have Scrappers, a Bodgers game.

Dan: Bodgers?

Matt: Bodgers is our family friendly line of games. We’ve always wanted to have a diversified catalog. We’re not just an RPG company or a miniatures company. We’re game designers here at Privateer Press and we have a lot of things we want to do. Sometimes you need a good beer and pretzels game, or something you could play with the whole family, and that’s where Bodgers originated.

We are actually quite good at making these big, epic, time consuming games. Games with well developed mechanics and worlds. We wanted to produce a line of products that would be accessible to people who were not quite ready to jump into all of that. That’s where Bodgers came in. Bodgers is more family oriented IP, and when I say ‘family oriented’ I mean it’s not a game all about guys going to war against each other.

All the Bodgers games revolve around a cast of goblin mechanic characters, and they are Iron Kingdoms inspired because that’s just sort of our aesthetic. The Bodgers games are all about building crazy contraptions and getting into mischief in this weird fantasy industrial environment.

The first Bodgers game, the Infernal Contraption card game, was all about trying to build a machine that would run your opponent out of resources. It and its expansion Sabotage did extremely well for us, so last year we introduced a new game, a board game under the Bodgers label which was Scrappers. In Scrappers, what you’re trying to do is grab parts off of a conveyer belt to assemble your widget all the while navigating this factory floor and competing with the other Bodgers for parts. It’s a lot of frenetic fun.

Dan: Let’s go back to MONSTERPOCALYPSE for a moment. That’s my favorite. I spend hours every weekend playing MONSTERPOCALYPSE with the boy at home.

Matt: Yeah! That one actually fell between Bodgers and WARMACHINE. WARMACHINE is a hobby/lifestyle game. You’re going to eat, sleep, and live that game while you’re into it. MONSTERPOCALYPSE is something you can approach more casually, right? But there’s still that hobby collector element to it. MONSTERPOCALYPSE isn’t as fleshed out in terms of the setting and the world because we deliberately kept it a bit more open so we have the opportunity to do things like guest star Voltron.

Dan: Speaking as a child of the 80s, I’m super excited about that.

Matt: We did that because, you know, in the Iron Kingdoms you can’t say-

Dan: “Hey Voltron, go get that Warjack!”

Matt: Haha, or Conan, you know? “Conan, come visit the Iron Kingdoms!” But you can say something like that for MONSTERPOCALYPSE and part of that is the genre we’re working with but part of it was making sure we kept the IP kind of open to those guest appearances.

Dan: What do you think is your most successful Privateer Press product? You can define ‘successful’ however you like.

Matt: Lucky for us, they’ve all done pretty well. It’s hard for me to pin this down, but I say that we’re probably best known for WARMACHINE. It’s our most developed property in terms of the setting, how long we’ve been working on it, the size of the audience we have, the longevity of the game, and what we can expect from it in the future.

With Mk II for instance, we launched that in January and we’ve seen explosive growth from the community with lots of new people coming to the game and a resurgence of people who might have set it aside a few years back reinvigorated. Based on this, I’d say that WARMACHINE is a linchpin title for us. I’d go so far as to say that the identities of both Privateer Press and WARMACHINE are intertwined.

Dan: Which Privateer Press product was your favorite to make? Which is your favorite to play?

Matt: That’s a tough question. It’s hard for me to pick favorites because I’ve been in a lucky position for the last… nine years now? A position where I can really indulge in my creative game design and world building whims. We started off with Iron Kingdoms, that lead into WARMACHINE, and then HORDES. Then I had the time and frame of mind to come up with a new property and that’s how MONSTERPOCALYPSE was born. Which was a great deal of fun-

Dan: -Because you got to sit around and watch Godzilla movies for a few weeks?

Matt: Yeah, I did tons of ‘research’, and it was GREAT. It was fun to have a chance to sort of… mine my childhood for all those things I had grown up on and had been inspired by as a kid. As a kid, I had been exposed to Japanese monster movies and Anime a long time before I discovered fantasy settings and Dungeons and Dragons.

Dan: I spent some formative years in Japan myself, so I hear you on that.

Matt: Well, there you go. But what was my favorite? I don’t know. I just love it all. I enjoy the world building and the story telling so much. To have all these worlds that I can play in whenever I feel like it… it’s a thrill.

Dan: Where do you see Privateer Press 5 years from now?

Matt: I get asked this a lot. I always say that I hope that we’re doing the same stuff now, just more of it. One of the things I’m looking into right now for Privateer Press to have within the next five years is for our properties into other mediums. We’re working with a lot of people down in Los Angeles working on different media projects.

Dan: Are you guys doing a MONSTERPOCALYPSE movie? J.J. Abrams presents: The Terrasaurs!

Matt: You never know. We’ve talked to a lot of people whose names might surprise you who are interested in that kind of thing. And we’ve got a video game in development with a company called WhiteMoon Dreams for WARMACHINE. We’re really hoping to do some novelizations and more graphic novels so that authors and readers can explore the worlds that we’ve created. All in all, we’ve developed properties that people are interested in using in other avenues, and that’s exciting!

Dan: Speaking of movies, you have a movie coming out soon. Tell us about Wolfsbane.

Matt: Wolfsbane is a steampunk re-imagining of the Little Red Riding hood story. It’s definitely a more grown up, serious take on the story, with a horror twist. Instead of a forest, Red is traversing a seedy urban environment. It’s a short film with just under 15 minutes of running time.

Dan: Why make a movie?

Matt: Film making is something I’ve always wanted to be involved in. Over the past few years, I’ve been working on getting our properties into other media including film, and while doing that I decided that it was time for me to make the plunge and get my ‘First time director’ achievement. I wrote a few screenplays, and Wolfsbane struck me as the first one I wanted to take on. I also directed the movie. I’m now in the process of editing.

Dan: So filming is done for Wolfsbane?

Matt: Yeah, we shot back in January. We shot about 80% of it here on a soundstage at the Privateer Press warehouse.

Dan: Really?

Matt: Yeah, We built the sets in the warehouse, much to the chagrin of our shipping department. We shot on the weekends, so we managed to stay out of the way of the business that was taking place here at Privateer Press, but we did have pallets sitting in the middle of the set environments during the week. Our shipping department was very patient with me.

Dan: Where and when can we see Wolfsbane?

Matt: Hopefully we’ll be ready to start taking it out to film festivals in the next few months. Once we have the film done, we’ll start submitting it to film festivals. With any luck, if there’s a film festival in your town, you’ll be able to see Wolfsbane. We’re planning on having a screening locally that we’ll announce once we figure out the logistics.

Dan: Is there a site where we can follow along on all the Wolfsbane news?

Matt: Yeah! There’s the website www.Wolfsbanefilm.com and people can sign up for the mailing list there. There’s the Facebook fanpage for the film too. Unfortunately I’ve gone dark for the past month since I’ve been editing the film, but I’m getting ready to update with a bunch of behinds the scenes photos. Once the edit is locked, and we do a few other things, we’ll kick out a trailer for the film along with some cool teaser stuff. It’s a fun project.

Dan: Are you planning on doing more film work after Wolfsbane comes out?

Matt: Absolutely.

Dan: These next few questions came to us from our Users. A lot of them asked the same kinds of questions, so we distilled them into the following 3.

Matt: OK

Dan: Are you playing in, or running any RPG games right now?

Matt: I’m not running anything right now, but when I get the chance I like to play in the office here. Every year we have an event which is called the Privateer Press Invitational. During this event, we invite all of the Press Gang, friends, and people that we’ve worked with over the years and we have a big three day event here at Privateer HQ. That’s usually my big annual gaming blitz.

Dan: What else can you tell us about the upcoming WARMACHINE video game?

Matt: WhiteMoon Dreams is hard at work on this game. Every couple weeks I get an update from them. We’re planning on a cross console release plus PC. The style of game they’re working on is probably not what you’d expect.

Dan: So it’s like Cooking Mama?

Matt: Yes. Exactly. No, it’s not going to be an RTS. It’s a much more action oriented game. It’s going to be real-time and immersive where you take on the role of a Warcaster and you get to experience what it’s like to be in the middle of the action with those 10 ton Warjacks at your side.

Dan: Sounds a bit like Dynasty Warriors.

Matt: Yeah, a very similar kind of view point where you see your character in third person and you can command you Warjack and cast spells in the heat of battle. You really get to experience the dynamic qualities of the Warcaster. This is great because we really get to change the point of view for the whole WARMACHINE experience, to see what it’s like to be on the battlefield at eye level. We’ll be seeing more on that in the future.
Right now the plan is –and you’ve heard it heard first- at GENCON this year, we’ll have a whole bunch of stuff to unveil. We’ll be showing off all the development that WhiteMoon Dreams has done over the past year, and then shortly thereafter we’ll find out where we’re going to take this to have it published.

Dan: Last question for you: Is Privateer Press hiring?

Matt: Um. At the moment? I don’t think so. I don’t think we have any open positions that we are hoping to fill.

Dan: Well that does it for us. Thanks so much for taking the time to let us interview you.

Matt: No problem, thanks so much!

Well there you have it people, Matt Wilson. Creative Director for Privateer Press. Check us out next Monday as we post part 1 of our second interview with Privateer Press folks, the two lead designers for the Iron Kingdoms RPG!

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