As of today, I am no longer the Assistant Line Developer for the BattleTech game line. Furthermore, I am no longer pursuing or working on any contracts for the game, or the company that licenses it.
There’s a lot of reasons why, but though I have every right to air them out here, I will not. Dirty laundry should stay in the laundry room, not paraded about in public. I’ve hinted at things here and there, in vague phrasing and comments. That’s more the explosion of frustration than any malicious intent, so take it all with a grain of salt.
I’ve been attached to this game since its early days of production. In 1997, I was introduced to the playtesting side through a local group in Pittsburgh; that was some pretty heady stuff, back in the day. That morphed into working as a playtester for WizKids’ MechWarrior version, and then I was invited to pitch and write for Dawn of the Jihad back in 2001.
Writing for any game line that I enjoyed – and I had quite a few on that list – was a dream come true for me. It was the spark that jolted me out of a drudging career in retail, though I knew I’d never really be able to make a sustainable living at it. Still, it fueled my inspiration and excitement, with every book that printed with my handiwork within.
In 2008, I was asked to step into the Assistant Line Developer role, supporting my long-time gaming friend Herb. Together, we headed a team that fashioned a fantastic storyline for the line, connecting two eras separated by different companies, and pulled them together. Some may disagree – this is the Internet Age after all – but I still think that our Jihad work, and the subsequent material afterwards, was the best storytelling the line has ever had.
I was exposed in full to the game industry through my ALD position, which helped me forge connections and research needed to write my first nonfiction book, Games’ Most Wanted.
My continued work with BattleTech also opened up a wider realization within me, that I loved to write. I plunged headlong into a communications career, adding to my previous years of experience in marketing and media concepts. Now I get to do what I love, which is write, and I actually have a sustainable career doing just that. And more, besides.
When my friend Herb was removed from his position as LD, there was a lot of uncertainty floating around. As the line and its direction evolved, it became apparent that my experience and talent wasn’t the right fit any more. I hung on for as long as I could, mainly because I felt that I still had stories to tell in this rich and venerable universe. But that desire has dripped away, siphoned into other projects, ideas, and experiences.
I finally realized a few days ago that I just don’t have it in me to tell those stories anymore. So how is that fair to the readership, the fanbase, the players who thrive on such things? Uninspired writing is dead writing, as I see it. I don’t like writing lifeless words.
So I finally made that painful decision and cut the cord.
BattleTech is still important to me, for what it has done to my life, my experiences, my creativity. But it doesn’t need me anymore, and I can walk on my own now without it. I have new projects, new universes, new ideas to explore – and I hope to share them all with you in the coming years.
If you’re a fan of BattleTech, I say ‘thank you’ for your steadfast devotion and love of the game – even if you don’t like some or all of what I’ve put out. You’re the reason it’s still around, in its varied forms. Enjoy it. Universes like this are hard to come by.
And for my friends, colleagues, and those whose paths I’ve crossed, I say ‘thank you’ as well. You’ve given me a lot to experience and enjoy, and hopefully I will get to work with you on other exciting ventures. Don’t be a stranger.
And to everyone: watch the spines for my name. You’ll see it out there, someday soon.