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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