This week, Bill continues the story of his biggest failure. Be sure to read Part 1 here first.
“In Dreamland we trace the life of our protagonist, Chad Holloway, from birth to his apparent suicide at the wheel of a high performance sports car. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the player constructs the arc of Chad’s life: the mystery surrounding his birth, his rise to political power and his eventual tragic fall, and the source of the terrible guilt that has driven him to despair. These events unfold against the backdrop of an abandoned amusement park which is governed by a strange and enigmatic caretaker named Virgil. “
“ The events of Chad’s life, outlined below are revealed to us as fragmented memories. These memories appear in the form of video sequences, photo albums, disembodied conversations, recordings, newspaper clippings, letters, and other mnemonic devices that are discovered, via the game-play, scattered throughout the amusement park of Dreamland.”
So began the 100 page package we created for Microsoft, including a 50 page script, dozens of detailed drawings, and all the game play outlined.
The four members of Quartet rented some offices above a real estate office where we would meet each day to develop the game. Tim Gavin set up a drafting table and began producing these large, intricate drawings. Each day we could see the script we were creating take life on Tim’s table. Paul had set up a studio nearby and was creating an entire score for the game. He’d drop by with the latest musical theme for us to listen to while we played the current crop of computer games to check on the competition.
And watching Kristi was like attending a graduate course in filmmaking. When we weren’t working on the script, she would be on the phone chatting with famous producers and directors like they were her best friends, which they often were.
We flew out to Los Angeles to meet with the Microsoft team at the Digital Domain offices. The meetings went great, Microsoft is excited, Digital Domain is excited. The lead developers at Digital Domain are telling me it is the best game script they’d ever seen. Soon, we are having lunch in Santa Monica and in restaurants with giant Jonathan Borofsky clown heads over their front door.
Somewhere we run into Scott Ross, who along with James Cameron had founded Digital Domain, and he was sporting a huge cigar. “Everyone loves Dreamland,” he tells me. We leave LA thrilled.
Back in New York, we hear through our agent that Microsoft wants to move to the next stage. They want to sign a development deal and hand us a six figure check. We are to fly out to Redmond, WA the next weekend and sign the papers.