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.

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A Conversation with… Mack Flavelle

This time A Conversation with… tracked down Mack Flavelle, from our 8th graduating class, who is VP of Marketing at Tapstream.

 

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

I’m VP of Marketing at Tapstream. We’re rocket fuel for mobile apps. We help developers turn their mobile apps into businesses by providing the tools needed to measure and grow their user base. We’re used by some of the biggest apps on earth- including games.

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A Conversation with… Shadi Dadenji

This time A Conversation with… tracked down Shadi Dadenji, from our 9th graduating class, who just finished the Witcher 3.

 

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

I had just finished toiling away on The Witcher 3 in Warsaw before moving to Guerrilla Games in Amsterdam where I’m now a senior technical designer on Horizon: Zero Dawn (chances are you just saw the announcement at e3)

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A Conversation with… Morgan Davidson

This time A Conversation with… tracked down Morgan Davidson, from our 10th graduating class, at BigPark.

 

  • Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games IndustryCurrently I am working as a software engineer at BigPark splitting my time between working on an unannounced project and the next iteration of the NFL video streaming app for Xbox One.

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A Conversation with… Brennan Massicotte

This time A Conversation with… tracked down Brennan Massicotte, from our 7th graduating class, at Blackbird Interactive.

 

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

I’m working on the art direction and concept art of the Homeworld property in development at Blackbird Interactive. This involves a lot of painting images to inform and inspire the production of game content as well as overall project vision.

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GD Alumni’s latest game… Dexter!

I would like to take a few minutes of your time today to introduce a game project that I worked on and which is currently available in soft launch in Canada.

Dexter: Hidden Darkness (https://www.facebook.com/DexterHiddenDarkness) is a new Hidden Object game based on the universe of the Dexter TV series. It is a great partnership venture between CBS, Showtime, Michael C. Hall and BlooBuzz (https://www.facebook.com/StudiosBlooBuzz).

A team of 40 people worked an entire year on the project. I joined as a Game Designer at the beginning of 2015 and I really enjoyed my experience in the Social/Mobile game industry. After the Canadian soft launch on iOS, we plan to release the game worldwide and then distribute it on Android and Facebook. It is a F2P, so feel free to give it a try!

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A Conversation with… Kevin Maloney

This time A Conversation with… tracked down Kevin Maloney, from our 12th graduating class, at Harebrained Schemes in Seattle.

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

These days I am a Game Designer here at Harebrained Schemes in the greater Seattle area and have been on Shadowrun the whole time. I’m kind of an all season radial in our smallish shop. I was brought on as a Level Designer for our first kickstarted project “Shadowrun Returns”. I started with making content but as time went by I found plenty more things to keep me busy. So beyond taking levels from concept to ship, I design features, script AI and along with a few other folks get to pitch in on the narrative side of things as well.
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Student Endeavours: GD23′s The Last Phoenix on Kickstarter!

Back in July of 2012 five students (David Dryden, Ian MacGregor, Rishi Patkar, Marc St-Onge, and Jay Zhou) finished off their final project “The Last Phoenix”: the crown jewel of their year at VFS, but little did they know that this would just be the start of their journey.

“It was a tremendously visually impressive game, with unique mechanics, and a huge expressive world. Also they were the first group to pioneer with advanced shader techniques at VFS”
- Chris Mitchell: Game Design Instructor

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On the Level with Elliott Walton and Braden Bahen

We have a special holiday edition of On the Level where I had a chance to talk with not one but two former Game Design graduates, Elliott Walton of GD14 and Braden Bahen of GD09. Both of whom recently released Assassin’s Creed: Rogue working as Level Designers at Ubisoft Quebec.

Is it nerve-racking to be working on an existing franchise with such a large established fan base?

Elliott Walton: Absolutely! That being said I don’t personally tend to concentrate too much on those aspects during production and instead just focus on creating interesting gameplay and situations to put the player into. We usually have an overarching storyline to pay attention to that spans multiple titles, but one thing I love about working on the franchise is the excitement of presenting the next location and characters. For me it keeps things fresh and interesting. Of course we will always have to work with constraints but that can really be said about any title whether it is a new IP or a very established franchise such as Assassin’s Creed.  That being said, announcement dates and release dates are always exciting and nerve racking for me.

Braden Bahen: Yes and no. You certainly can feel the pressure online from the fans to provide them with the best Assassin’s Creed game possible. AC fans are an intelligent bunch who want to experience great stories and interesting historic periods inside a rewarding game. They are also vocal about what they love and what they hate in games. The pressure can sometimes get to you and you can get frustrated but its part of the job, frankly.

I frequently check out /r/assassinscreed and read through it to get a sense of what the really passionate fans have to say at the moment. There are often lots of good points I agree with and lots of good points I disagree with but you can’t please everyone.  At the end of the day we all want to make the best game possible and that’s what keeps us pushing on.
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A Conversation with… Nick Yonge

After watching the CVA awards show, A Conversation with… tracked down Nick Yonge of krangGAMES from our 16th graduating class.

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

Currently I’m self-employed at my own independent games company, krangGAMES. I’m developing downloadable games for home computer and consoles, like my Kickstarter-funded main project, Emerald.
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