He’s brash, opinionated, and a three-time World Series champion. So what’s Curt Schilling’s retirement been like so far? It might surprise you to learn it’s got nothing to do with sports. Besides playing a major hand in breaking the Curse of the Bambino and delivering the Red Sox back to baseball’s promised land in 2004 and again in 2007, he’s also one of the biggest fantasy geeks and hardcore gamers on the planet. He’s combined his passion for gaming and fantasy to form the development house 38 Studios, which recently released the critically acclaimed Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, available for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC platforms. (It came in at number 3 on our Best Games of 2012 List.) Spawn creator Todd McFarlane served as the game’s art director and best-selling fantasy author R.A. Salvatore penned the story. Next up for 38 Studios is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMO) that aims to threaten World of Warcraft’s stranglehold on the genre. Men's Fitness caught up with the hotheaded former pitcher to talk nerd culture, developing his own games and the infamous bloody sock. Once people found out you founded a game developer, they probably expect that you’d be producing sports games. What got you into fantasy and RPGs? I’ve been gaming for almost 30 years now—it’s something that I’ve always done. When you think about style and type and genre, I had the advantage of actually playing those sports games for a living, so that wasn’t as much of an interest. Fantasy has always been my kind of thing, so as I got towards the end of my career and thought about what I wanted to do, I wanted to try a stab at this. Do you remember the first game you ever played? Wizardry in 1980 was the first game that I can remember very vividly as my first fun gameplay experience. It was 2-D in a time and place where everything was text-based. It hooked me forever. Do you read fantasy novels? I do. I’ve read Tolkien [Lord of the Rings] 10 or 15 times since I was 10 years old. Terry Brooks, I’m a big fan. George Martin as well, and R.A. Salvatore as well, obviously. I came to read R.A. books a little later than most and I became a huge fan. It was right around the time I was thinking about doing the company as well, so it seemed like kind of a natural phone call to make. What makes Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, different from other fantasy RPGs? In some ways, nothing and in other ways, everything. There’s been a couple of reviews that have hit it right on where you can see the influence that games like God of War and Skyrim have had an impact. The difference is we've actually taken our favorite features from all of these games and dove deep on them. There’s an effort to bring the God of War-style of combat into the game and there’s a concerted effort to give you an open-world, yet guided experience. So there’s always something to do and there’s always action and fun. NEXT: Curt comes clean about the red sock >>
The former Red Sox pitcher talks gaming and the infamous bloody sock.