After about two months of that, in January of '96, I called up my friend Tom Hall and he was doing Prey at 3D Realms and he was developing it.
And now Prey is almost up on us...
John Romero: Isn't that funny? Tom had the original game idea and he developed it over two years at 3D Realms before I took him to Ion Storm and they stopped it. I called up Tom and I said, "After Quake I'm out of here, let's start a company again" and he was like, "Alright, sounds great", so I just powered through Quake's development. Even after doing Ultimate Doom and Hexen, I still had more levels in Quake than everyone else.
I was kind of sad that it was the end of Quake development, because during the releases of all of our other games everyone was there and it was exciting and energising. With Quake it was a Saturday and nobody else was there. I was talking to everybody on IRC. I brought a friend of mine in for a hardcore Doom deathmatch I loved playing. I eventually hired him as my IT manager at Ion Storm. I was basically there by myself at the weekend putting together the distribution at 5.30 am of June 22 1996, but everyone else was gone. I was like, "You know what, this place is done!" It was only after taking a vacation after Quake - about a month and a half - I came back, created the retail masters and then I started to talk to potential publishers about my next deal. And co-incidently, the guys at id decided to ask me to leave.
Maybe they found out, who knows - whatever happened happened because that's the way it was going to be. I had planned to get out of there eight months before that. Everything worked out the way that it worked out.
Don't forget to tune in next week for the second and concluding part of the interview, where John Romero discusses his time at Ion Storm - and yes, he talks about Daikatana - his stint at Midway with Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows, his favourite game he's been involved with ever and more.