Phil seriously reworked the ending from my original, adding a page to it (making this our largest chapter so far at 27 pages). He also left this note in the comments on the script: “I found the brevity of this ending downright INSULTING to my intelligence and taste. I am sick and tired of you sacrificing good storytelling for your WARPED idea of pacing and page limits. THIS IS THE CLIMAX. IT HAS TO TAKE TIME. YOU DON’T RESOLVE THIS IN TWO PAGES.”

Even though the page-count debate was the topic of multiple rants from Phil as we wrote and edited this script, I don’t think it was the issue that prompted their tone. He was dealing with abiding anger and frustration inside and outside of Guilded Age. A lot of people he’d befriended were proving unreliable on a lot of fronts, and given my issues with lateness I mentioned earlier, I was one of them. My feelings of inadequacy, especially as a businessman, made me more withdrawn, which made Phil feel he had to yell to get my attention.

(Not too hard to find parallels. Phil was disappointed by the world and most people in it like Syr’Nj is here, spouting off in ways he’d regret shortly thereafter. Phil was trying to reach a seemingly unresponsive partner like Byron is here, and thankfully never quite giving up on that partner no matter how hopeless communication seemed at times.)

But his manner of yelling certainly didn’t make me feel more adequate, and so the cycle continued. It was an interrupted cycle; often we still worked together smoothly or even warmly. When things got difficult, our love for the characters and the world we’d created carried us through a lot. But it was going to get worse before it got better.