This image was adapted directly from our 2010 preview page, though I’m not sure we had the glasses in mind then, let alone the William H. Macy vibe.

Had we not done the preview, would we have used this cover image? I think so, even though it’s a more direct rendition of a main character than was usual for us. A shot of a keyboard or just the glasses or even some video-game iconography would just be missing something.

Although we knew from Day One that Arkerra’s adventures would parallel the plots of a reality-warping game company on Earth, we went through several iterations before getting down to the HR you see here. This is as good a place as any to give you this paragraph from our very first chapter outline, which would’ve introduced a different HR in Chapter One:

“We also meet the board of directors of WorldCorp, the organization that controls the game. Larry Penn is the visionary CEO, who invented the original version of the game and was savvy enough to maintain a position of importance within the company. However, he’s in a precarious situation now, riding herd on three executive VPs (Lizon in marketing, Greepy in finance, and ‘HR’ in human resources) whose veins run green with money, executives who would love to force him out, and might be able to manage it if they could trust each other enough to unite against him. But they can’t.”

Had we gone that route, HR would have been hiding his little side project with the catatonic gamers in tubes not only from the outside world but from the other suits, whom he’d get rid of by increasingly ruthless means as he prepared to take advantage of the goldmine that is fully-immersive 24-7 VR gaming. That could’ve been fun, but it would’ve pulled too much focus from the heroes. We needed to establish Syr’Nj, Frigg, Byron, Gravedust, Bandit, and even Best as “real” if you guys were going to care about them instead of just seeing them as extensions of the people in the tubes, and that meant delaying any action outside of Arkerra until right now.