Today is my last day as part of the LightBox Interactive team.
In the four-plus years I’ve worked with LightBox — six-plus if you count that I worked with this same group back at Incognito Entertainment, on Warhawk — I’ve had opportunities and experiences that shaped my career and my identity as a game designer. I moved to sunny Austin, Texas, one of the most vibrant game development hubs in the United States and home to a large and varied indie community. I built a design team from the ground up and led them from concept to completion on an excellent AAA title: Starhawk. I worked alongside stunningly talented designers, artists, engineers, producers, and QA, including former colleagues who are now at such pedigreed studios as Bungie and Naughty Dog.
But perhaps most importantly — and most pertinent to this post — I gained the financial resources and wide-ranging industry experience to enable me to pursue a path of true self-sufficiency.
When I joined the games industry eight years ago, I was inspired by the likes of Chrono Trigger, Deus Ex, and Unreal Tournament, games full of their creators’ personalities and passions. I grew up with such amazing games that I feel indebted to the culture of gamers and game developers to give something back. Starhawk was a start, but while I’m very proud of that game, it wasn’t — and could never have been — uniquely me.
So I’m going indie!
As an independent creator, I’ll repay my cultural debt and pursue self-sufficiency via two paths. The first is by producing small, focused independent games with niche appeal, according to the design values I’ve developed and honed over my eight years in the industry. And the second is by resurrecting my other creative skill: writing, specifically sci-fi and fantasy fiction, which has long laid dormant due to the relentless hours and pressure of the mainstream commercial games industry. No doubt these two paths will intersect in the future, but for now suffice it to say: there’s a game, and there’s a novel. Details to come later!
For today, though, I say goodbye to the team that’s defined — and in some ways created — my career as a game designer. Warhawk and Starhawk are bigger, better games than I ever thought I’d have on my resume by my late 20s. I learned a ton during these past years, about the games industry and about myself, and that won’t ever be forgotten.