This feature on the origins of the Enemy Territory: Quake Wars team, Splash Damage, was originally published in February this year by the world’s cleverest games development website, Gamasutra. The piece is based around an interview with Splash Damage owner and founder, Paul Wedgwood. I’ve updated it slightly, to reflect the fact that we’re now rather close to the release of the game. That meeting with Wedgwood went on to provide material for my book about gaming, which I’ll pimp to death on here once it’s approaching publication. Anyway, read on for the story of the little mod team that ended up making one of the games of 2007. If you want to make it big in games, this is a pretty good way to go about it.
This interview was an odd kind of reunion. I had been acquainted with Paul Wedgwood for many years, long before we met in person. Back when I was an obsessed Quake player he was one of the people organising the communities, writing columns, administrating games, and commentating for an Internet TV show for which my Quake clan played numerous exhibition matches.
Now that his life has taken quite a different path – into the highest echelons of game development – you might expect him to have left his fan community roots behind, but quite the opposite it true. It is the first-person gaming community, and its focused, implacable gamers, that have made Wedgwood and his company what they are today. These guys are fans, and utterly in love with living a geek dream. You can tell this because of Wedgwood’s enormous collection of sci-fi miniatures in the boardroom… But there’s much more than that to this particular group’s development credentials.