Interview with Michael B. Clark  
by Jim Saighman
June 15, 2004

 

Interview with Michael B. Clark:  Jim Saighman (Bacardi Jim) got a chance to sit down with Michael B. Clark, creator of Harvest and The Arrangement to discuss the announcement that The Arrangement would be self-published by Mr. Clark rather than distributed by Got Games Entertainment, as had been previously announced.


BJ:  Got Game is getting a reputation for taking a chance on unknown (or near unknown) developers, with games like Conspiracies and Alida.  Can you tell us how you came to get involved with them in the first place?  Who approached whom?

MBC:
  Got Game Entertainment and myself were brought together via a mutual acquaintance. 
A friend of Howard Horowitz told me that he was interested in my game and to contact him. I did, and he asked to see a copy of my game. At the time, the game was halfway completed. I sent it to him, and he said he wanted to publish it.  The success of Harvest I think is what prompted it.

 

BJ:  Some publishers are known as being more "developer friendly" than others.  Can you comment on your working relationship with Got Game? 

MBC:  They were absolutely terrific!  Since this was a brand new experience for me, they were very patient with me and answered all of my questions.  It was a sheer delight working with them.  They truly have the independent developerís best interest at heart.
 

BJ:  While game cancellations are becoming more and more commonplace, these cancellations are almost always the unilateral decision of the publisher.  I understand that this was not the case for The Arrangement.  Can you give us any details?  Was the decision yours or Got Game Entertainmentís?  Were the early negative reviews a factor in the decision?

MBC: 
The possibility of cancellation was NOT their idea - it was mine.  However, this was a mutually agreed upon decision, based on the reviews, and we both realized the game would do much better as a self-published entity - geared more towards the existing Harvest fan base.  I view the whole game making process as a huge learning experience.  Fans of Harvest will clearly see the advance I've made in The Arrangement, but unfortunately, this is not good enough for the commercial market.  But trust me; I'll get there one day! 


BJ:
  You have announced that you will self-publish The Arrangement through your own website, the same way you did for Harvest.  I assume this would maximize your per game profit, even if you sell far fewer copies.  Can you give us an idea of whether you expect The Arrangement to come out as a financial "success?"

MBC:  Well, if it sells at least as many copies as Harvest, it will be more than a success.


BJ:   So what's next for Michael Clark?  Should we expect another game in the next couple of years?  If so, what lessons have you learned from The Arrangement that you can apply to a future project?

MBC:  I will most definitely make another game.  The graphics and puzzles are the funniest part of the creation process for me - and I will strive to improve upon those areas, as well as all the other areas of game development.  I think the biggest lesson I learned from this is that it might be better to self-publish my next game first, and see how it does, before entering into an agreement with a publisher.  That way the publisher will know beforehand if the game has a chance at success or not.  All of Got Game Entertainment's recent successes, Rhem, A Quiet Weekend In Capri, and Alida were all self-published games first - so Got Game knew they were successes from the start. Even Dark Fall was a self-published game before The Adventure Company published it.  The Arrangement was such a gamble for Got Game Entertainment - and I really give them credit for that.  It was a risky move, and a vote of confidence in me that I won't soon forget.  

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