Monday, December 03, 2012

Demystifying Transmedia for Game Development: Slides from MIGS_2012 Presentation

Hello everyone,

Apologies for being so unreliable when it comes to keeping this blog up to date.

For those that are interested, I've uploaded the slides from the talk I gave, with Zak Kadison (Blacklight) at the Montreal International Game Summit last month.

Since the bulk of the presentation content was delivered verbally, with the slides acting to help prompt our commentary, I've added extensive speaker's notes to the PPT, and also to the Slideshare transcript, so make sure you don't miss it. The notes add a lot of context to the presentation and will definitely enhance its value.

Hope you find the content interesting! Feel free to post comments below, or reach out to me (or Zak) using our contact information available at the end of the presentation (final slide).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cinemaniax interview @ MIGS

A small games and movie portal called Cinemaniax gave me the opportunity to chat about my MIGS talk, specifically outlining some of my views on the current blockbuster games market, the opportunity for a growing "mid-core" games market, and some of the advantages of the shift to a 'digital only' delivery paradigm.

NOTE: The text on the page is in French, but the video is in English.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

(Mis)quoted in CBC article about Blockbusters

My older brother sent me a link to this CBC story, discussing the launch of Modern Warfare 3. It seems the author attended one of my talks at the Montreal International Game Summit, and references my talk in the article.

To clarify -- I didn't actually suggest that the *solution* to the current challenge around blockbuster games was to separate SP and MP into different products, but I did say that the all-digital world makes it possible to do this, and that this is a Good Thing (tm) for consumers, just as it has been a good thing to be able to buy a single song on iTunes vs. an entire album, which is what you used to have to do to get the song you wanted.

In my opinion, blockbusters like Call of Duty will never go away, and nor should they -- they are in many ways the lifeblood of the mainstream games industry. But, I think the current boxed-product retail model really forces publishers to focus almost solely on these huge established franchises, to the detriment of the industry as a whole -- innovation stagnates, players get bored, etc. We've seen it with franchises like Guitar Hero, and who knows, it could happen to CoD as well. Activision has already announced another CoD title for next year, on the eve of MW3's launch. I don't think anyone wants to consider what might happen to the industry's biggest publisher if players were ever to tire of the CoD franchise...

In any case, if you're interested in knowing more about my views on blockbuster games, I welcome you to check out the slides of my recent presentation at MIGS_2011.

As a fan of the CBC, it's cool to be mentioned there, nonetheless.

Another Capt. Titus Fan

Andrew Galbraith, a journalist for the Chicago Examiner, has posted a lengthy article where he describes why Captain Titus, the protagonist of Space Marine, is his favourite game character.


Static characters lacking dynamisms are all too common in many contemporary video games. Characters that are tough guys, who spew a line or two, fire their weapon, slit a throat and keep moving forward without ever giving a player something to look at with a desire to emulate in a way that could truly better themselves. Captain Titus breaks this mold succinctly. He shatters the box and shows players that there are still video game characters out there that can serve as heroes and amongst the weeds and chaff of cheap narratives, stands amidst the shoulders of Triple-A title giants, wielding a Thunder Hammer and ready to take on all challenges that stand in his way.
I'm always thrilled when characters like Titus or Lt. Mira resonate with players, because given the nature of the IP, it was extremely difficult to find ways to make them compelling and not just cardboard cut-outs of generic heroes. I was always determined that, despite superficially being the quintessential 'Space Marine', that Titus would have some depth and would come across as competent and honourable, but not a Boy Scout asshole.

With Mira, it was important that she represent the "voice of humanity", in a universe where the individual human life has little to no value, and through her strength of character I hoped to capture the spirit of what humans could be. In many ways, they are the true heroes of the 40k universe, because they face the fight despite not having the indoctrination, training, and super-human abilities of the Space Marines.

Monday, November 07, 2011

MIGS 2011: The Blockbuster is Dead. Long Live the Blockbuster!

Here are the slides from my recent talk at the Montreal International Games Summit. It was a really fun talk to present, and judging by the feedback and number of requests for my slides, it seems to have resonated with the audience.

(Unfortunately, Slideshare doesn't respect the 'animation' within PPT, so you'll have to forgive this. When I present the slides, I gradually reveal content (text and imagery) as I'm presenting, so that people aren't faced by a wall of text. So, you'll have to imagine these slides presented with some flair and better timing than can be reconstructed in a linear slideshow.)

I hope you find the talk interesting!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

First Space Marine Dev Diary -- the Universe of Warhammer 40,000

Check out our first Developer Diary for Space Marine.

This one focuses on the 'Universe' of Warhammer 40,000, trying to introduce people to the fiction and setting and give them a sense of what they can expect from the aesthetics, and what kind of experience we intend to deliver. This is also to show the die-hard fans that we understand the world and will be delivering a game that lets them experience their favourite setting in a way they've never been able to experience it before.

We'll be getting into more details about Gameplay in future Dev Diaries.

Hope you like it, and feel free to post comments and share your thoughts -- we listen!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Steering the Rocket -- Leading Creative Teams (GDExpo 2010)

Here are the slides from my GDExpo 2010 talk on leading creative teams. I really enjoyed giving this talk -- although I could have probably spoken for twice as long, I'm a bit of a rambler and this topic is pretty broad. Hopefully you find somethings useful in here. I find new experiences always challenge old ideas, so maybe next year I'll have a completely different point of view. But, I feel pretty strongly about these ideas and I really do my best to uphold this line of thinking in my daily work with the team. I may not get it right all the time, but I do think for the most part it's the best way to handle these sorts of relationships in highly charged, highly creative craft areas that depend on individual empowerment and self-expression of the craftsperson for the whole thing to be successful.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Short Update

Wow, it's been a while since I've had time to update this place. Apologies to all my loyal readers. I hope that at least some of you have shifted to following me on Twitter. 140 characters is about all I can find time/energy to muster these days.

Work has been incredibly busy these last few months. We've been working hard and steady on Space Marine, blasting through milestone after milestone. We have had several breakthroughs lately, and the game is really shaping up. The team has been super dedicated and has worked really hard to get us here. I'm excited for us to be able to talk more publicly about the game and get into some more detail, some time in the new year.

In case I don't get a chance to write more before the holidays, I wanted to wish all of you a happy, safe, and restful holiday season. Looks like there is some *awesome* gaming to be had over the holidays. I'm looking forward to having a bit of downtime to enjoy some of it myself, as well as regenerate and reconnect with family. I hope you all find some time to do the same.

2011 is going to be a huge year for us. I'll be starting to tweet more and more updates on how Space Marine is going, so if you're curious, feel free to follow me at