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A Journey to Monaco: Andy Schatz Looks Back
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A Journey to Monaco: Andy Schatz Looks Back

April 18, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 5

Life after Monaco

Besides returning to the human race from his Monaco-shaped hole in the ground, the designer is already considering what his next big project will be.

"My design philosophy has always been to design games around things that are not games," he explains. "Venture Africa, Venture Arctic, Venture Dinosauria, those are not homages to other games."

"Monaco isn't either," he adds. "It's actually a homage to heist movies, which I dearly love. And sure, the game uses a lot of language from other games. But it's not a game about games. Most of the designs I'm passionate about trying out next are games about games, which is not my typical design philosophy."

Schatz reasons that this is most likely down to the fact that he's lost touch with humanity somewhat. "It's gonna be interesting to take that next step, and try to find that side of me again that is in love with the world, and not just my work."

His work on Monaco isn't completely done. The two Andys will continue to support the game well after its release, and a level editor for the game is due out a week after the launch. Schatz is also considering DLC level packs for the game.

But the video game industry, and in particular the indie scene, is a far cry from how it was when Schatz first began work on Monaco.

"I imagine things will change a little bit for me," he says. "What I'd really like to do is start rebuilding my dream of what I wanted when I started PocketWatch eight and half years ago. That dream is something I lost sight of when I decided that it was all about the game and not the company."

He adds, "I don't think that that's wrong, but I think that the dream of the company was a personal dream. It was one of, 'What do I want development to look like?' For everyone else, the experience is the game, but for me, the experience is the creation of the game. When I started the company, I actually had a stronger idea in my head of what I wanted my life to look like, and what I wanted my games to look like. And now that I have a better handle on how to make those games, and a better vision of what I want to make, it's time for me to get back in touch with what I want it all to look like. How can I create an environment that is more like the utopia that I imagined eight years ago."

One of those goals is to "get the wheels back on the business", and attempt to run PocketWatch like a business all over again. Monaco's development may have laid waste to these plans, but that won't stop Schatz from giving it another go.

Have You Made It Yet?

Back in 2011, Schatz said that he didn't feel like he'd "made it" as a developer, despite all his prior success. I ask Schatz whether he feels like he's made it yet.

"This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately," he answers. "If Monaco does really well, that does not mean that my next game is going to do really, really well. And nor does it mean my previous game did well! Each piece of work, I have to treat on its own.

"I think I can only say I've made it when I retire," he laughs. "And I may never do that! Or when I stop caring, and I hope I never stop caring."

While Monaco may have gathered a huge amount of press and attention even before its release, Schatz doesn't feel like this entirely reflects on him as a developer.

Says the dev, "I don't like to say that I won those IGF awards. I like to say that Monaco won them. The thing that's printed on the trophy is Monaco, not Andy Schatz. And while I hope that has some reflection on my reputation and abilities, it doesn't provide any sort of guarantee that I'll continue to have any sort of success.

"I mean, that's sort of a dodge, right? Someone who is not in this situation, and who dreams of winning an IGF award, could look at me and say 'I'd love to be in your position! That would mean I've made it.' That may be true, but at the same time, if I make myself feel like I've made it, that's sort of a lazy excuse to make bad games."

Taking home his IGF awards was by far the proudest moment of his life so far, especially off the back of just 15 weeks of work. But, as he notes, "I've been making games since I was seven.

"If I only pick out those 15 weeks of work, and say I only made it because of those weeks, it sort of ignores the fact that the other 28 years of game development produced no awards!" he laughs. "So yeah, it's the game that won those IGF awards, it's not me."

Schatz laughs again. "Monaco has made it. I haven't."

Article Start Previous Page 5 of 5

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