Many people have wondered about the story behind how Vanguard wound up departing Microsoft for Sony – especially given the Sony-hate that Sigil had fomented in its community.
I’ve always had this mental image, like a cross between the opening sequence of BattleStar Galactica and The Interrogation sequence in the Matrix, with Brad, in a pristine armani suit, carrying a brifecase, walking into a sterile, bright white Microsoft Accounting Space with men in black suits with titanium quills. He hands over the paperwork in the suitcase and they being poring over it, occasionally pressing their ear-studs against their heads and glancing between one another. Then they begin asking questions, until…
Accountant: “Mr An-uhm-McQuaid. It seems that you’ve been designing two games. For one design, you’re Brad McQuaid, game designer for a respectable software company, you have a wikipedia entry, you pay your taxes, and you help your testing department out by playing the game.
“The other design lives in forums, where you go by the player alias Aradune and are guilty of virtually every game-design crime we have a law for.
“One of these designs has a future, and one of them does not. I’m going to be as forthcoming as I can be, Mr. McQuaid. You’re here because we want to make more money that God.
“We know that you’ve been contacted by a certain individual, a man who calls himself Smedley. Now whatever you think you know about this man is irrelevant. He is considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive. My colleagues believe that I am wasting my time with you but I believe that you wish to do the right thing. We’re willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start and all that we’re asking in return is your cooperation in making more money than Blizzard.”
McQuaid: “Yeah. WoW. That sounds like a really good deal. But I think I got a better one. YOUR IN MY WORLD NOW!” (flips birdie) “And you give me my phone call.”
Accountant: “Um, Mr. McQuaid. You disappoint me.”
McQuaid: “You can’t scare me with this Microsoft crap. I know what makes a good game. I want my revenge on Everquest!”
Accountant: “Tell me, Mr. McQuaid, what possible revenge can you have if you don’t have a publisher?….”
Brad’s face begins to melt as the accountants pin him down and begin to “withdraw funding”.