PC Gamer: Brad Wardell Interview

Not Brad Wardell, unless he's wearing a mask

PCG have lobbed up my interview with Stardock’s El Presidente Brad Wardell. For example, here’s Brad on why their attempts to licence Atari’s old games like Master of Magic fell through…

“We all agreed on everything but the lawyers just killed it. All kinds of requirements. We’re very open about things, and every time we wanted to say something we’d have had to run it by Atari Legal. We couldn’t even put out a news item. And it’s not like we’d be using code. Which was another point – the lawyers didn’t understand we were just doing a trademark licence, and they wanted the rights to the code of anything we wrote. Which was obviously a deal breaker too. It was so incompatible with how we do things.”

He also talks about the myth of old-school PC sales, why he’d love to do a Baldur’s Gate 2 style game, what people in marketing think about the Germans, being an Engineer not an artist and loads more. Read it here. I also now remember I’ve got quite a bit of material left over from this interview, which I’ll whip into shape sharpish.


  1. fluffy bunny says:

    A very enjoyable read, and I can’t wait to find out more about that fantasy strategy game.

  2. Chris says:

    What I like about Stardock is that they’re clearly very business minded: yes, the make fun games, but with profit clearly in mind, and as a result, they’re sticking around to make more and more fun games. They’ve identified a clear niche for PC games that appeal to more grown up gamers and have exploited it very well. What’s more, given that they self-publish, they’re able to give the post-release support for their games that most PC games need these days, and have built up a strong brand name as a result.

  3. Gurrah says:

    Please, oh PLEASE tell me who told this brilliant man the following:

    “Oh – the Germans don’t like games about the future”. Which I thought was an awful thing to say. They don’t like games about the future? “No – they like games that talk about the past.”

    I am going to punch them in the face! I’ve got my retail copy of Sins right here. And judging by Brad’s comment, he’s assuming the only thing Germans want to play are WWII titles? That’s so not true – and for the record, where do all those WWII-shooters come from? The US – mainly. I know, Dice are from Sweden, but there’s very little output of WWII-games in Germany.

  4. Kieron Gillen says:

    Gurrah: I think Brad was mainly talking about the historical sort of titles about medieval times.


  5. Jochen Scheisse says:

    If a PR/management guy said that about the German gamers, he’s probably right – they have statistics, you know? Anyways, what I’d like even more than a worthy successor to MOO2, Ascendancy and Homeworld would be that worthy XCOM successor Stardock could produce, but won’t. Sad story.

  6. fluffy bunny says:

    Kind of ironic that the company who is publishing Sins in Europe, Kalypso Media, is German.

  7. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Yeah, there’s obviously some people who do not understand the true relevance of statistics to the understanding of today’s consumer.

    What reminds me: RPS, write an article about publishers and how they work, pretty please. They are the most hated people in the industry, yet almost undocumented. I would like to know about them, and as I’m people, you obviously have a mainstream topic there.

  8. subedii says:

    Um, I think some people might be mis-understanding here (or else I’m just mis-reading posts). It wasn’t Brad Wardell or Stardock who were saying that sci-fi games don’t sell in Germany, it was the publishers that they were negotiating with at the time. They were trying to get the game published in Europe (as in, “in-store” ), but for some reason they were told that these things don’t sell.

    Freaking weird, but anyway.

  9. Andrew Armstrong says:

    Man, Atari get beaten down in that quote. I wonder why they’re doing so poorly, given they can’t even get a developer to work with them in a reasonable capacity, heh ;)

    Also; why no picture of the guy? Most interviews have a picture of the person. I know the CVG website is entirely rubbish regarding images in general, but that is a kinda funny thing to miss out :)

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    Because I’m running the remainder of the interview shortly, and I don’t think I have many photos.


  11. SwiftRanger says:

    The PC Gamer article had a ” say ‘cheese!’ ” photo, but perhaps this picture of Brad (to the left) is also interesting (for reasons already discussed in a previous RPS post).

    Looking forward to those other interview parts.

  12. dhex says:

    kinda weird – i like wardell enough from interviews to wish they made something other than RTS games. cause i’d buy ’em and stuff.

  13. Andrew Armstrong says:

    Fair enough Kieron :) I just thought the first (and suggested only PCZ interview?) would have had a picture at the CVG site. Glad to know there are photos, just nice to put a face to a floaty voice! :D

  14. Nick says:

    dhex – do you mean strategy games rather than RTS? Their other games are turn based..

  15. Burgerboy says:

    Ooo, a desire to do an old-school isometric rpg?

    After playing galciv2 I think stardock is one of the few developers I would trust to not turn it into a diablo clickfest.

    They haven’t done an rpg before, however I think they might actually do one *right*.

  16. dhex says:

    dhex – do you mean strategy games rather than RTS? Their other games are turn based..

    both, i guess. i conflate the two in my head.