The Problem in Brief

So…I got into a little dustup on Twitter today. That's not unusual. Any woman in the games industry who puts herself out there finds her opinions challenged all the time. What's different about this argument is that Jessica Price storified it:

http://storify.com/Delafina777/why-it-s-so-hard-to-get-better-portrayals-of-femal

(Thank you, Jessica!)

The saddest part of the situation is that guys like that don't even see that they are part of the problem. This guy started off discussing how to get women more into the industry but ended up displaying exactly why there are so few. Conversations like this make me grateful for the all the open minds I know.

 

My GeekGirlCon Panel: Play to Win

I finally got my mitts on the video for the panel I spoke on at GeekGirlCon ths past weekend. Cameron Harris, Donna Prior (substituting last minute for Regina Buenaobra), Jessica Price, Jennifer Brandes Hepler, and I spoke about the #1reasonwhy phenomenon and what life in the game industry is really like for women. So here we are, discussing some deeply personal issues. 

"Play to Win: The Real World of Women in Games."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0uBGkUInLU

*Big thanks to Matthew Moore for recording the panel for us.

Interview with Debuffed: Out of the Box

I did a live interview yesterday with the Grievance Gaming clan, on their Debuffed: Out of the Box show. I wasn't sure what to expect, but they were very cool people. Thanks, Steelheart and Ehvayne! John Ryan and I had a lot of fun.

You can see the videos here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5vCtC_oFSs

 http://www.twitch.tv/grievance/b/470283431

Things to look for as you're viewing:

  • Codille's attempt to become internet famous.
  • John Ryan's reaction to some hidden dirt about the British Museum.
  • The sun slowly setting as the interview went on, leaving me in darkness by the end.
  • Nixy turning my camera off.
  • Fangirling by multiple people.
  • And this:

Thanks a lot for having us on your show, GG! 

Preparations

Only a few weeks remain before I start working on my book full time. Happily, my hiatus coincides with NaNoWriMo, so I signed up. This is my first year participating officially; I hope it's as motivational as everybody says it is. 

nanowrimo participant.png

I'm trying to get a lot of the structural and prep work out of the way now, so that I can sit down and simply write come November. I already have the characters figured out, and I know the overarching structure and flow. Seven interwoven short stories, connected by theme. Here are the working titles:

novel start.JPG

I took this picture last night and already two working titles have changed and the order has shifted. So much to figure out; so much that could go wrong…or right. To quote Willy Wonka, "The suspense is terrible. I hope it lasts."

Hiatus

So…I’m leaving the game industry. I’m going to work on a personal project that is far removed from what’s happening in the triple-A universe these days.

As you may know, my contract with Airtight Games ends next month.  I’ve considered my job opportunities carefully, but I don’t feel excited about any of the projects that have come my way recently.  Coming out of Murdered, I want to work on something meaningful that aligns with my personal philosophies about the future of gaming. Luckily for me, I’m at a place in my life where I can afford to take a break. I don’t know when—or if—I’ll have this chance again, so I’m seizing it. I’ll devote the next few months to my own work and hope to have something ready for publication by the end of the year.

This doesn’t mean I’m leaving the industry entirely. I’m acting as consultant on a few small indie projects while I’m on hiatus.  And maybe the perfect major project will come along and tempt me back. Who knows? In any case, I won’t be gone long. 

NOTE: Some of you have responded with concern about my decision, so I want to clarify that this is good news. It's a luxury for a creator to be able to focus exclusively on her own work. I'm incredibly lucky to have the option of taking time off for a passion project.

I didn't make this choice lightly; I've been agonising over it for weeks. It's a scary step. However, I am absolutely confident that I've made the right choice. I hope you all will trust my judgment and support me.

NOTE 2: There is nothing wrong with the project opportunities available to me. I'm not casting judgment on the state of AAA titles or the current games industry. I simply prefer to work on my own project while I have this chance. 

Murdered: Soul Suspect Press Post

I'm going to make one big post for the initial press on our game. For the most part, the reviews are good.

http://venturebeat.com/2013/06/07/square-enixs-murdered-soul-suspect-could-be-one-of-e3s-best-new-games-preview/

 

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/escapist-news-now/7443-Murdered-Soul-Suspect-E3-Gameplay-Interview

 

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/411323/previews/murdered-a-classic-point-and-click-adventure-in-disguise/

http://www.polygon.com/2013/6/7/4406140/murdered-soul-suspect-is-a-die-hard-inspired-ghostly-detective-story

http://www.shacknews.com/article/79555/murdered-soul-suspect-preview-csi-of-the-dead

http://www.gameinformer.com/games/murdered_soul_suspect/b/ps3/archive/2013/06/07/first-details-on-murdered-soul-suspect-s-phantasmagorical-gameplay.aspx

http://www.destructoid.com/solving-your-own-murder-in-murdered-soul-suspect-255254.phtml

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-06-07-heres-your-first-proper-look-at-murdered-soul-suspect

Some reviewers are excited about the IP, but wary because Airtight Games is the developer. They are basing this concern our Airtight's past performance, not on the work being produced by the current team. It's a shame, because Airtight went to a lot of trouble to woo talent from other companies. The design team alone has years of experience on titles like Mass Effect, Alan Wake, Infamous, War in the North, and so many more. I hope people can look past their perception of the company and judge our game experience on its own merits.

 

Super Adventure Box

I have to admit, I'm impressed by the content that ArenaNet has been putting out to keep GW2 fresh for the players. It explains why everybody I know at Arena is dead on their feet these days. I can't imagine how hard they're working to meet this string of brutal deadlines. But it's worth it! Check out this incredible retro commercial for Super Adventure Box:

 

The critics are loving it:

http://kotaku.com/this-fully-playable-16-bit-wonderland-is-guild-wars-2s-464761894

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/473/feature/7266

http://biobreak.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/guild-wars-2-super-adventure-box-ftw/

 

Even I am tempted to fire up my account and give it a go. I mean, look at this madness!

Nice job, peeps! 

 

Playing the GW2 beta

I've been playing the Guild Wars 2 beta this weekend. I've mostly been showing my brother around and bragging, but I also jumped in with a fan and played in the norn starter area. I'm glad I did, because I had a blast and got to see events that I wrote in action. Some of them, like the Snow Leopard event, I had never seen implemented in the game before. Some of them, like helping Grimarr Molesmasher, I've seen before, but I remembered how much fun I had coming up with the phrase "kick 'em in the comrades." Peter Fries and I giggled all day about variations on that line. 

It's always fun to see how the designers flesh out something that you've seen only in outline or written form. I had no idea that the Snow Leopard event was going to be such a slaughter fest. I was more focused on cuddling the cubs, I suppose. I did feel like a bully as harmless, little creatures fled from the safety of the brush and I butchered them with a single claw-swipe. Lizzie of Kryta said it best: "Snow Leopard thanks us. PETA does not."



 

Voiced Over

One of the designers sent us this comic strip today:

The writers had a good laugh, because that's how it is in the sound booth. We ask our voice actors to produce sounds for some extremely unusual sitautions. The questions they ask are hilarious out of context: "So...am I dead when I say this? Or undead?"  "My character is a plant, right?" "Okay, so I've just killed a giant bone creature that was trying to suck out my life. Should I go with 'relief' here?" 

One of the sound directors in Burbank, Phil Bache, uses instructions just like these to help the actors find the right one for each line.  

Uh-oh!

Occasionally, a bit of content gets added at the last minute and somehow slips by the writing team without an editing pass. That happened recently, much to the glee of our fans.

As embarrassing as the charrtender is, I'm kind of glad we missed it. It shows how rough the text is that we start with. Sometimes we start with only the barest bones: "[INSERT LORE ABOUT THE REGION HERE.]" Then we have to research what's happening in that part of the game world, who's there, what points of interest there are, and then dream up a history for it. I love telling stories about the people and places of Tyria. It's the best part of my job.