A Conversation with… Jonathan Falkowski

This time A Conversation with… tracked down Jonathan Falkowski, from our 10th graduating class, who is the CEO at Whitebox Games.

 

  • Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

I have my own company called Whitebox Interactive.  It consists of 25 individuals mainly VFS grads. Being the CEO, you must be able to wear several hats.  One moment you could be in a marketing meeting, then right after that dealing with Game Design issues and customer support.

  • How has this changed since you graduated?

A lot has changed since graduation.  I have worked at EA for a few years as a developer manager and then at VFS as an instructor.  I have been in the game industry since the day I graduated from VFS.  Throughout those years, it has given me the knowledge to pursue my dream to have my own video game company.

 

  • Can you describe a typical day in your office?

A typical day in the office consists of:

  • game design meetings
    • what will be the next feature
    • where does it fit in the plan
    • marketing plans
      • planning events
      • organizing product launches
    • monetization plans
      • analyzing the target market and what they will respond too.
    • Management of staff
    • Business operations

 

  • What’s the most fun thing you get to do? What’s the most stressful/challenging?

The most fun thing I get to do is decide on the vision of the game and taking in customer feedback and then implementing it into the game. The most stressful and challenging thing to do is management of staff.  Sometimes there are conflicts and issues, and I must be the person to establish a decision or a process that will take everything into account.

 

  • What games are you playing right now, and what elements have impressed you?

Well a lot of games we are looking at right now are our competitors games.  We break them down and analyze them.  One game however, that has been a lot of fun, with a very simple design, has been hearthstone.  They have created something that is quick to get into, play and customize.  Easy to learn hard to master.

 

  • What are some trends you see in upcoming games?

People want a quicker experience.  They want to get in play and leave or play another game all within 30 – 45 min.

 

  • What do you feel was the most valuable skill that you learned in the Game Design program at VFS?

As a leader, teamwork has been the most valuable skill learnt at VFS.  To be able to work with others and come up with a solution that everyone can get on board is crucial to have success. As a game designer, analyzing games and breaking them down into chunks will really make you understand how a game works and what people want to play.

 

  • If you could give a current student in Game Design some advice, what would it be?

Continue to learn and work on improving your skills. It is critical that you always look at different and new games.  Understand trends and culture and this will help create a great game.

 

Thanks for the update Jon, best of luck with Warhammer 40,000: Dark nexus Arena!