More Like a Gameshow Host

Today we passed an unofficial greenlight meeting with corporate executives from Stockholm. If you don’t remember the corporate reorganization (not a synonym for layoffs, in this case) that EA just went through, many of the executive chairs shuffled around. As a result, the EA Games “Eagle” division, including Visceral, now reports up the chain of command to the DICE team in Stockholm. The team leads here are strong, and we need technical support more than constant oversight at this point. Anyway, this meeting went well, wtih presentations on the game pillars and a demo of the gameplay. They even gave me some good feedback on some stuff about the injclusion of engaging activity between rounds in a shooter.

Part of the greenlight plan included a video, captured from snippets of our daily playtest. Since it didn’t come with gameplay audio (sigh), I slapped a soundtrack in. A little Axel. The irony is, we didn’t even use the video for the greenlight. Instead, we played live with the team, and our lead producer shot it up on the big screen. Reasonably well. By contrast, the video suffered with me cast as the player. I’m not at my best when playing a game with the purpose of capturing cool moments or vistas that establish a frame of reference – when everyone else just wants to up their k/d ratio.

Back to this greenlight. My take on the creative’s role in these sort of meetings isn’t to be a scientist or business analyst, though we may get to talk about numbers. My job is to present an excited, passionate “verbal essay” about how cool this game is and will be. How much fun it will be for gamers like me to play. (And thus, to the suits, that it will sell.) Truth be told, I enjoy it. Part of being a design leader is being an evangelist for your ideas. If you can’t preach it, do you believe it? Can you make others accept and even adopt your faith? That’s the job.

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