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My start in the computer gaming industry with Legend Entertainment Company

I recently connected with a Legend Entertainment fan who asked me to answer some questions about my history with Legend. I started with the company as an airbrush illustrator in 1991 and continued working with them in various roles until 2003.

1. How did you become involved with Legend Entertainment?

Legend had just started their studio and was looking for artists. Glen Dahlgren (designer of Eric the Unready, Death Gate, Wheel of Time, Unreal II and others), found me in the Virginia Yellow Pages and asked me to come in for an interview. I was working as an airbrush illustrator at the time, and since the DC area had been hit badly by a recession in 1990-91 and most of my large corporate clients’ budgets were cut drastically, I was looking for work. I agreed to do a couple of illustration for Legend, reluctantly at first. They liked what I did, and I thought Glen and all the other key members of the company were great guys (Michael Verdu, Bob Bates, Michael Lindner, Mark Poesch, Josh Mandel, Ken Rolston), so I was excited to continue working with them. The relationship with Legend lasted 12 years, and I’m still friends with them all.

2. About how many titles did you work on and what were they?

I worked on eleven games (more details are on my MobyGames page):

Frederik Pohl’s Gateway, 1992 – airbrush artist
Eric the Unready, 1993 – storyboard artist
Companions of Xanth, 1993 – airbrush artist
Superhero League of Hoboken, 1994 – voice actor casting director / producer
Death Gate, 1994 – voice actor casting director / producer
Mission Critical, 1995 – storyboard artist, full motion video producer, wardrobe and set designer, on-camera and voice actor casting director / audio producer
Star Control III, 1996 – voice actor casting director / audio producer
Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, 1997 – voice actor and on-camera casting director / audio producer, photographer, special effects make-up artist
John Saul’s Blackstone Chronicles, 1998 – on-camera and voice actor casting director / audio producer, video producer, photographer, special effects makeup artist
Wheel of Time, 1999 – storyboard artist, voice actor casting director / audio producer
Unreal II, 2003 – voice actor director

3. What role(s) did you provide within the company and for each project?

As you can see from my roles described for the games above, I did a variety of things at Legend. Initially hired as a traditional artist, I transitioned into the role of multimedia producer – primarily because no one at Legend knew anything about video and audio production in the beginning and I was willing to take that on. It helped that I had contacts in the acting community in the DC area, and also had worked with a few audio/video production companies.

4. What did you learn while working on these projects?

When I started with Legend, games were still on floppy disks. Within the first couple of years, games could be produced on CD-ROM, which meant we could include audio and video. I knew nothing about that when I started – I learned on the job. It was an exciting time for all of us!

5. What memories from this period stick in your mind?

I loved working on all of Legend’s games – it was one of the best companies I’ve ever worked with. The highlight was working on Mission Critical with Michael Verdu. In December 1994, Michael gave me a script for the game’s full motion video intro sequence and said something like, “OK, so you said you want to produce this thing…What’s possible?” Heck if I knew then, but because of Michael’s vision and leadership I was totally invested in helping to make it a great game. Full motion video in games was very cutting edge at that time, so we just had to figure out how to do it – there weren’t many people we could call on for advice. I’m very proud that the game earned several awards, including Best Introduction and Adventure Game of the Year from Computer Game Review. PC Gamer said, “The opening sequence, featuring actor Michael Dorn as Captain Dayna, is one of the most powerful and arresting set-up scenes ever created for a sci-fi adventure game.”

Legend Entertainment game Mission Critical

Legend Entertainment games: Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, John Saul's Blackstone Chronicles, Companions of Xanth, Wheel of Time, Star Control 3, Unreal II