This is an uncharacteristic post but it's time I updated with some personal news I wanted to share. Normally I'm opposed to using this space for personal information -- I can barely find the words to talk about my life to my closest friends -- but in this case it's directly related to the larger topic of this blog.
Two days after my previous post, my son Isaac was born. Then after I took two weeks for paternity leave, I returned to work and resigned from my job. This coming week after my last day with my employer, I'm going to get in a van with four other guys with whom I'll be working from now on, and make the 14-or-so-hour drive to Seattle for PAX Prime. There I'll be giving a talk titled "Memoirs of a Triple Agent" about my experiences having worked in gaming media, development, and publishing, and lessons for contending with each of these factions. I'll also be announcing my new venture, which will allow me to get much more hands-on with design and writing for games (among many other responsibilities), in addition to having a somewhat more flexible schedule to accomodate the changes in my family life.
I'm giving up a lot, something I try not to think about too much. I was treated very well at my job and was given a lot of responsibility and latitude to do things my own way, and for that I'm deeply grateful. I wish all the best to the development team I've been working with as well as to the publishing team that took me in and supported me. But this new thing, this is something I have to do and this may be the only chance I'll ever get to do it. Life's too short to let any such chances slip away. I only hope my colleagues will forgive me for what must have seemed like a sudden change of heart.
I started my professional career working independently. I co-published a gaming fanzine out of high school. I started doing freelance work for gaming magazines. I cofounded a gaming web site. And then I joined GameSpot, what was then one of the largest independent gaming publications around. There I stayed for 10 years and through two corporate acquisitions; what started as a disruptive force in gaming media had become an entrenched part of the establishment by the end of my stint. Following that, I joined Electronic Arts as a producer because I needed to get on with realizing my dreams of making games, and then last year I joined 2K Games as a producer on the publishing side -- both of these are large but very different companies that can achieve whatever they focus on. And now things are coming full circle, as I'll at last be leaving the corporate world behind for the trials and tribulations of independent game development. I have no delusions about this change. But I welcome the challenge and I relish the work itself. While I'll no longer be working on the sorts of multimillion dollar projects I often write about here, independent games have a purity of vision (and increasingly a high quality of execution) that's incredibly alluring to me. So in this new capacity, I expect to be able to apply what I know and what I think in a pure way that's manifested in original games designed for people who love games as I do.
All I want is to pour everything I've got into making a game people can love. It will be something I want to look back on and say, this truly was a part of me -- it's not just something I sank a bunch of time and effort into out of principle. And if it's a game I could one day play with my son or daughter, so much the better.
I have no plans to make a habit of hijacking this space for self-promotion like this, but as you can see, the last month's held a slew of changes that I wanted to share (especially since they've preoccupied me from coming up with anything more relevant to write about right now). In the spirit of getting it all out of the way in one swoop, I'd also like to mention I'll be giving another talk in October at GDC Online in Austin, titled "I Don't Want to Know: Delivering Exposition in Games". Unlike my PAX talk, this one will be close in spirit to the type of subjects I've been writing about here. I haven't done any speaking functions in some time but am really looking forward to getting back out there and sharing everything I think I know about my favorite subjects.
I'll need a lot of luck where I'm going so if you have any to share I'd be much obliged.