March 2022 4th Circle Interview with Matt Sprague
DESI D: What is your favorite line in a book/movie? And why?
MATT SPRAGUE: I don’t know that I can answer this. To me, writing is all about beautiful fragments of text. Individual lines that hit you just so or scenes that move you to tears in an otherwise forgettable novella. My “favorite” is going to depend on the day, my mood, and whatever subconscious/unconscious stuff is kicking around on a given day. I feel like I should say something that makes me sound very impressive and literary, but truthfully what’s popping into my head is the opening line from XENOS by Dan Abnett: “Hunting The Recidivist Murdin Eyclone, I came to Hubris in the Dormant of 240.M41, as the Imperial sidereal calendar has it.”
DESI D: What is it about video games that captivates you?
MATT SPRAGUE: It’s a fundamentally different medium. This holds for games in all mediums. From VR to tabletop RPGs, there’s some degree of interactive variability to the experience that makes it fundamentally different from consuming other types of content. You have to consider multiple paths through the world you’re building. Multiple endings, degrees of success, all kinds of concerns that aren’t there in a piece of linear storytelling.
Currently, it’s VR that’s really caught my attention. After a couple decades of hype it’s finally reached the right combination of price and graphics quality to finally be a viable medium for storytelling. Just having a headset and gloves that cut off the outside world results in a tremendous amount of immersion.
DESI D: What author or game has been the biggest inspiration for your craft? And why?
MATT SPRAGUE: So many. William S. Burrough’s was my first real introduction to literature that was complex and artistic without being boring or overly full of itself. William Gibson’s work showed me the true power of finding your voice. Without Sandy Petersen and CALL OF CTHULHU I probably wouldn’t have started my career at all. I could go on. The coolest thing about the 21st century is the sheer volume of great content we have instant access to.
DESI D: As a writer, what has inspired you to pick up the metaphorical pen and start crafting stories? And of course, what is the next thing we can look forward to from you?
MATT SPRAGUE: The genuine renaissance in content creation. My prose is semi-professional grade at best, amateurish at worst. What really inspired me to start creating was D-Grade cosmic horror anthologies. I know I’ll never write like Laird Barron or Elmore Leonard, but I can at least match what’s in those books. And it’s just super fun to try.
Coming up next. I’ll be releasing a project that we’re currently calling THE FISHMAN OF CRIPPLE CREEK. It’s three interlocking adventures compatible with CALL OF CTHULHU 7th edition and depending on licensing a couple other popular horror RPGs. The players begin on the slopes of Pikes Peak in the late 1890s and play different characters in that era, the 1930s, and the present day. I’m hoping to have the cover reveal this month and have it available from the usual retailers by May. So more likely June. Look for the headline: “Posse Pursues Piscine Predator.”