Meagan and Winston and the Haunted Game Studio
Meagan: Like, zoinks, Winston! This place really gives me the creeps!
Winston: It’s just an abandoned game studio. And why are you talking like that?
Meagan: I don’t know, I just…thought it’d be appropriate.
Winston: Right, well, come on. Let’s have a look inside. Maybe there’s a phone or something here we can use. You know, since you used up all your iPhone’s battery playing Fieldrunners and didn’t bring the car charger with us.
Meagan: It’s not my fault someone threw a whole bucket of nails on the road. And maybe if you hadn’t decided to use the spare tire as a chew toy we wouldn’t be in this mess.
Winston: Hey, look! A sign! What does it say?
Meagan: You can’t read it?
Winston: [stern look]
Meagan: Oh, right. Dogs can’t read. Sorry. Okay, let me dust off this rickety wooden sign with an impossibly thick layer of dirt on it….It says “38 Studios”.
Winston: But I only see one…?
Meagan: No, silly. 38 Studios was the game studio founded by Curt Schilling, the Major League Baseball player, back in 2006. They only developed one game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, before they went bankrupt in 2012 and laid off all of their employees
Winston: I guess Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning wasn’t very good?
Meagan: I think it was okay. I never played it. Anyway, 38 Studios was reportedly working on an MMO called Project Copernicus before it closed. The game was never released. Some say the ghost of Project Copernicus still haunts this studio, unable to rest until it has avenged its own premature death.
Winston: Whoa. Creepy.
Meagan: So, shall we go inside?
Winston: Sure, why not?
—A few minutes later—
Meagan: Wow, you’d think they’d lock up abandoned buildings better. All I had to do was jiggle the lock a little and OH MY GOD SOMETHING JUST TOUCHED ME!
Winston: Calm down, it’s just a piece of paper that blew down from the door.
Meagan: NO IT WAS A GHOST I’M SURE OF–oh, yeah. It is just a piece of paper.
Winston: What does it say?
Meagan: It says, “All who enter here, be warned: nothing but death and creepy cliches exist beyond these doors.” Someone must have tacked it up on the door some time ago.
Winston: Ugh. I hate creepy cliches. Death doesn’t sound fun, either.
Meagan: Well let’s hurry and find that phone so we can GTFO.
Winston: So we can what?
Meagan: GTF–Oh, right. You can’t spell. It’s just means “get out of here”.
Winston: I thought “get out of here” had another “y” in it…?
Meagan: Er, yeah. At least one. Come on, let’s keep looking.
—A few minutes later—
Meagan: Ugh! These cobwebs are driving me crazy! I feel like there are spiders crawling all over me!
Winston: Oh, I thought you knew…
Meagan: OH MY GOD GET THEM OFF GET THEM OFF!!!
Winston: Chill out! I was just joking!
Meagan: …remind me not to feed you dinner when we get home.
Winston: If we get home. I don’t think there’s a single phone in this building. Just lots of dusty computers, empty offices, and the occasional rat. Lots of interesting smells which I’m sure you can’t appreciate, but nothing to help get us–
Meagan: Hey, did you hear something?
???: Wahahahaha! I am the ghost of Project Copernicus!
Winston: Ahhhhhh! A grey, floaty, boxey-looking thing! I mean…bark! Bark bark bark! Bark!
Meagan: You know, Winston, for a hound, you’re surprisingly easy to sneak up on.
Ghost: Wahahahahaha! Now I shall have my revenge for the mishandling of this company that led to my cancellation!
Meagan: So, wait, you’re the ghost of Project Copernicus?
Winston: I think that’s Ghost for “I just said that.”
Meagan: Okay, Mr. Ghost. Can I call you “Mr. Ghost”?
Winston: Are you sure Project Copernicus wasn’t supposed to be a JRPG instead of an MMORPG?
Meagan: He does seem to be fond of silence ellipses, doesn’t–Hey! I thought you couldn’t spell!
Winston: Uh, woof?
Meagan: Er, okay. So my question to you, Mr. Ghost, is how will killing us avenge your cancellation?
Winston: Yeah, I mean, we were never even employed here. And we definitely weren’t responsible for the company’s mismanagement. And for the record, I’m a dog.
Ghost: Kill you? Nonono! I don’t want to kill you. That would be silly!
Meagan: But that’s what the note said, right Winston?
Winston: Yeah! “Death is behind the door,” or something like that.
Ghost: Oh, that! I tacked that up to the door so people would know to watch their step in here. Lots of sharp things. Tetanus can be deadly.
Ghost: You all have had your Tetanus shots within the last eight years, right?
Meagan: Uh, I think so…?
Winston: So, wait, if you aren’t going to kill us, how do you plan to enact your revenge?
Ghost: [mournful frown] I just want someone to play me.
Meagan: But, Mr. Ghost, how can anyone play you if you aren’t finished?
Ghost: Oh, they had a small part ready for play testing before they closed down. They never hired any beta testers, though, so no one ever got to play me. I don’t even know if I would have been any good!
Meagan: That’s…really sad, actually. I’m sorry, Mr. Ghost. Do you need a hug?
Winston: I don’t think you can–
Ghost: [loud sobbing]
Winston: Oh, great! Now you’ve made him cry.
Ghost: [even louder sobbing]
Winston: I hope you’re happy, Meagan.
Meagan: Sorry, Mr. Ghost! What I meant to say was, “hugs are overrated and we would love to play test you”.
Ghost: [sniffle] You…you mean it? [sniffle]
Meagan: Yeah, of course!
Ghost: Oh boy! Finally, I get to be played! Follow meeeeee! [gleefully floats off down a hallway]
Meagan and Winston: [follow much less enthusiastically]
—An hour later—
Ghost: [hopeful smile] So what do you guys think?
Meagan: Well, Mr. Ghost, we’ve been play testing you for an hour now–
Meagan: And, well–
Winston: You see, it’s not that you’re a bad game. It’s just that, well–
Meagan: You just…aren’t good.
Meagan: I mean I’m sure that with more work you would’ve been excellent but it’s hard to really say much about weird-moving polygons in an almost-featureless landscape. And developing an MMO in the era of WoW is a pretty daunting task to uptake. I mean, who knows if you would’ve been successful at all?
Ghost: I see…
Winston: We don’t mean to say that you wouldn’t have been successful because you aren’t good, it’s just that, frankly, we don’t think you have the makings of a WoW-killer in you.
Ghost: So, even if I had been developed and released, I probably would have flopped and no one would have played me?
Meagan: Well, we would have played you, but no, I don’t think many would’ve taken time away from WoW to try you.
Winston: Think of your premature death as a mercy killing. You never had to endure the pain and heartache of becoming another failed MMO.
Ghost: I suppose you are right my short, long-eared friend. You may be illiterate, but you are wise.
Winston: Uh, thanks?
Meagan: So now that you know what your fate probably would have been if 38 Studios had remained solvent long enough for you to be released, do you think you will be able to move on to the big game studio in the sky?
Winston: Hey, wait a minute. What’s this long cord thing you’re hanging from?
Ghost: Uh, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Meagan: Yeah, and why do you have a zipper down your back?
Meagan: If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were… [tugs on cord]
Ghost: [falls to the floor] Oof!
Winston: [pulls zipper]
Ghost: Hey, let go! [costume falls off]
Meagan: I knew it! You were just the personification of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning dressed like the ghost of Project Copernicus all along!
Winston: You were just trying to make the world think your brother, Project Copernicus, was never going to be any good so no one would regret his death!
Meagan: And then you could have the legacy of 38 Studios all to yourself!
Kingdoms: Yeah, and I would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling journalists!
—A few hours later—
Winston: Phew! I sure am glad that’s over and we’re safe at home again!
Meagan: Yeah, and it sure was a good thing I actually did bring my phone charger so we could call for help.
Winston: Next time you should remember to check the glove compartment sooner.
Meagan: And next time you should find another chew toy besides our only spare tire.
Winston: Okay, deal.
Meagan: You know, there’s one thing that’s still bothering me. I just can’t help but wonder—what would the real Project Copernicus have been like?
Winston: I guess now we haven’t a ghost of a chance of finding out!
Meagan and Winston: Hahahahahahahaha!!!