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Star pitcher trading baseballs for video games

  • Story Highlights
  • Red Sox star Curt Schilling says he'll run gaming company after retirement
  • He teamed up with fantasy author R.A. Salvatore and comic creator Todd MacFarlane
  • Schilling is an avid gamer and says he will one day do baseball game
  • "This is my life after baseball," he said
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By Curt Feldman
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(GameTap.com) -- Curt Schilling, the split-finger fastballer from Boston with a penchant for honoring superstitions, playing through pain, and winning, says he intends to play only one more year of baseball. "I'm done. This is my final year," Schilling told a handful of journalists he'd invited to his top-floor suite in Caesar's Palace during this week's CES trade show.

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Curt Schilling says he'll retiring after next season and will focus on his new gaming company.

His new focus, post-pitching, will be to oversee the development of a still-unnamed and shrouded-in-mystery massively multiplayer role-playing game (MMORPG) that goes by the working title Copernicus.

A short video comprised of previously released game and movie clips, meticulously edited and scored -- what Schilling and his team is calling a "tone video" -- was shown to an A-list of journalists that included tech maven Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal, as well as reporters from Barron's, Newsweek, USA Today, and The Los Angeles Times.

While it in no way represents the final game, the video was the centerpiece of a relaxed night with Schilling talking about Copernicus, his new company, and his commitment to gaming -- the latter of which he admits has confounded many.

"No one looks at this and says it's a natural progression," Schilling said. "You're a frickin' celebrity athlete who's going to make a game? Come on!," he adds, mimicking the peanut gallery.

But Schilling is adamant he is in it for the long haul. Watch the sights and sounds of CES Video

"This is my life after baseball," the star pitcher said of the game and the studio he formed to create it. "After baseball, I will do nothing except be a father, husband, and run this company."

The company is 38 Studios, the development house Schilling founded in late 2006. And the unnamed game is just one pillar of a multi-pronged approach to entertainment. What marks Schilling's vision is that the game is based on a new IP that he says will include deliberate and strategically planned brand extensions into film, TV, books, comics, and action figure iterations.

Although the game is in the very early stages on development--what the studio's VP of product development Michael Kosenski called "concept phase" -- Schilling says the game will release sometime toward the end of 2010.

The dinner with Schilling was a free-wheeling event. Reporters sat around a dining room table and fired off questions. Schilling addressed a wide range of topics: He's staffing the company only with people who are ready to "be on time and bust their ass."

He says "you don't need sex and you don't need blood to make a great game." His blog was created as a vehicle to "get the word out on 38 Studios," and has tallied 7 million unique visitors since its launch 10 months ago.

He says that some day he will be "intimately involved in making a baseball game...I will be a part of a company doing a sports game." And at the moment, he's playing Tabula Rasa, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Hellgate: London, and EverQuest 2. And he thinks NBA 2K8 is "as close to realistic as a sports game can get."

What else did Curt Schilling reveal about his upcoming game? Not a whole lot. He's banking heavily on his own understanding of games, which is considerable, and his two creative partners -- best-selling fantasy book author R.A. Salvatore and iconoclast comic book and action figure creator Todd MacFarlane -- to create a blockbuster.

Is any of what GameTap was told or saw a guarantee of success? No. Would I put my bet on Schilling to create something of interest? Something worth looking at when it hits retailer shelves? Well Vegas is a betting town, so the answer is yes. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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