As gamblers go, Phantom EFX CEO Aaron Schurman feels fine making moderate- to high-risk wagers. He left Air Force Space Command, where he worked with satellites near NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain, after lunching with a friend: "My best bud from high school was about to become a veterinarian. We both had different career paths, when one day we said, 'Wanna give videogames a shot?' So that's where we started...and the story for Darkest of Days had been boiling in my mind for five years."
First-person shooters, however, are prohibitively costly. Schurman and partners' newly formed Phantom EFX would produce profitable casino sims instead, contributing to a pot sufficiently large enough to fund the bet for a bright future that is Darkest of Days. (Note that while Days' plot is Schurman's, 8monkey Labs is developing the game. "Seven people started the studio," Days director Mark Doden says, "four from Phantom EFX and three others. I'm one of the other three -- we all come straight out of college.")