by Bill Meyer
When young John Romero wanna-bes daydream of making that leap from the counter at Kinko's to the helm of tomorrow's next powerhouse game development studio, they're musing about the life of Jason Hall, Monolith's 27-year-old CEO. This one-time stockbroker, U.S. marine, Brøderbund and Edmark serf is one of the game industry's young lions--and one of the most ambitious, too.
Although most development studios (new and old) are happy to develop technology and games for the big boy publishers, Hall has other plans. In his short career he has already disrupted cozy relationships with two of the biggest publishers in the biz in order to run his operation his way and keep the profits in Monolith's pockets. Most recently, Monolith brushed off advances by industry giant GT Interactive (currently publishing Blood II: The Chosen) to publish and distribute Monolith's crown jewel, Shogo: Mobile Armor Division.
You also may recall that Monolith dumped Microsoft back in April. Not interested in toeing Microsoft's corporate line, Hall and company bought back the rights to Shogo (then titled Riot) and its LithTech 3D engine (previously dubbed DirectEngine) from the Redmond giant. Such moves usually don't endear developers to publishers, who are not fond of spending time or money on titles for naught.
Securing premium shelf space in the CompUSAs of the world is as difficult as putting Xena in a full nelson, but Hall believes Monolith has the clout and product to do it. According to Hall, all that is needed are superior technology and great gameplay. Monolith's Shogo: Mobile Armor Division certainly promises plenty of both. Gamecenter recently rapped with Hall to learn why he is so confident Shogo will put the reinvented Monolith on the map. Read on to see what he had to say.