Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?

"Why does my soul / Feel so bad? / These open doors . . ."

My last day at work is only a month away and I'm looking forward to my ONE YEAR maternity leave. [Socialism RULES.] In my absence, Karincita is taking over my duties on Mass Effect 2. As soon as I confirmed that she would be replacing me, I knew that I wouldn't have to worry about the project. I trust Karin to polish the writers' work and make it shiny, yet not hesitate to kill any words that don't deserve to live. I know the ME2 team will love her; she's much nicer than me, but she also has as foul a mouth. It'll be like I never left, except there won't be as many rage-filled outbursts. ME2 is lucky to have her and I'm happy I can leave knowing I'm handing over the project to someone who will kick ass on it.

And yet . . .

I feel a little bit like I'm leaving one of my children for a year. I took care of ME2 during its infancy and saw it safely through to middle school. Now Karin will adopt and raise ME2 through its difficult teenage years. If it were anyone else taking over my position, I would expect to come back in a year and find that ME2 is a sociopath who skins puppies for fun, has seven steel stud piercings across its forehead, and "Thug Life" tattooed on its neck. Also, it delights in driving a HumVee half a block just to pick up unfiltered cigarettes. And I would smile a little despite myself and feel relieved that nobody could do this job like I can.

But I'm leaving ME2 in the hands of Karincita, my Mama Bear idol and favorite fellow tekneditrika. I just know ME2 is going to be a socially responsible college graduate who volunteers at the animal shelter, sports a neatly-trimmed goatee and a discreet nose piercing, buys organic vegetables from the farmers' market, and bicycles to work. Of course, when it gets to work, it shoots aliens in the face and blows up robots with grenades, but it's an honest living.

Part of this mild melancholy also stems from the realization that my name will probably not be in the credits this time. It was pretty damn awesome seeing my name and Dusty's name scroll up in the ME credits; that game was our baby. We certainly went through some trials together during the raising of that baby, so it was rewarding to get recognition for our efforts. Plus, being recognized by Mass Effect/BioWare fanboys is possibly my best chance at "celebrity".

Our last brush with random fandom was at the Crumpet Shop in Seattle, where Ling took me and Dusty for a spot of tea. At the end of our counter sat a kid in a leather jacket with a skull bandanna tied around his neck and a fierce mohawk. He looked like he could kick all of our asses while drinking his tea with one pinkie raised. He had overheard me tell the cashier I was from Canada and he spotted Dusty's Mass Effect team t-shirt, so he asked, "Do you guys work for BioWare?" When we said "yes", his eyes lit up and he confessed to being a fan "from way back during the Black Isle Baldur's Gate days". He was playing ME and enjoying it and just wanted to let us know he loves the games we make at BioWare. I walked out of the Crumpet Shop feeling a little bit like a rock star.

Good times. Good times. *deep, blessing-and-releasing breath*

I know that very soon, I will be walking out of the birthing centre feeling A LOT like a ROCK STAR after welcoming my and Dusty's best joint production into the world. And in about a year, I will walk back in to work and meet ME2 for the first time. I will marvel at what a fine, upstanding citizen it has turned out to be. And then I will ask it to show me how to use the assault rifle to mow down the space pigs from Zothar 8.

"Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?" by Moby
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