Darren Watts, DOJ Inc., owner of Hero Games
Hello, Darren. Thanks for taking the time for this interview.
DW: No problem, thanks for having me aboard!
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do in the gaming industry?
DW: Well, I’m the co-owner and President of DOJ Inc., which has three parts as a company. First, we own Hero Games, publishers of Champions and other games using the Hero System. Steve Long is the Line Developer and primary creative guy behind Hero, while I mostly these days handle the administrative side, but if I’m lucky I get to squeeze in a book or two a year. For Hero I wrote Millennium City, Vibora Bay, UNTIL, and a few others, and co-wrote Champions Universe and Post-Apocalyptic Hero with Steve and Lucha Hero with Jason Walters.
DOJ is also the majority owner of Indie Press Revolution, which is a sales group representing about 90-odd small indie RPG presses, selling online direct to customers and retailers. Lastly, we also own DOJ Logistics, which provides warehousing and fulfillment services to game publishers. We handle all the warehousing and shipping for Hero and IPR, of course, but also other companies like the Game Publishers Association, Burning Wheel, Adept Press and a few others.
What is your latest project? What excites you about it?
DW: Well, we’re still pretty new as the owners of IPR, and running that has taken up a lot of my time recently. IPR represents some of the most exciting and innovative companies in RPG publishing these days, so getting to put awesome games like Fiasco, Dresden Files, Annalise, Ganakagok and literally hundreds of others into the hands of fans is very rewarding.
My most recent new book is Lucha Hero, which is probably the strangest product Hero’s ever published. It’s the role-playing game of masked Mexican wrestlers battling monsters, mad scientists and other rudos, and it was a complete labor of love for me and Jason, both longtime fans of mexploitation cinema. When I have spare time these days I continue to work on Golden Age Champions, which is WWII-era supers, and that’ll be done someday. Before I retire, anyways. It’s replaced Lucha as the “President’s project,” and it’s done when I say it’s done.
Do you attend cons often? What have you attended recently?
DW: I typically go to maybe half a dozen a year. This year I went to Dundracon, Dreamation, Origins, Dexcon and Gencon, and MACE will probably be the last one of the year. I love cons, and wish I had time to do more of them. Direct contact with fans is one of the most fun parts of the job!
What makes gaming your passion?
DW: I love stories. Stories of all sorts, but preferably action-packed adventures of pretty much any genre. I love to read them, to write them, but the most fun thing is to create them alongside other people. I’m particularly partial to superheroes and pulp, mostly because I love the sensation that literally ANYTHING could happen in the next scene. Talking gorillas, alien invasions, invisible planes- I’m a fan of what Alan Moore called the “lovely and pointless” details of genre fiction.
Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us.