Out Today: AGENTS OF MAYHEM

August 15th, 2017news, video games

aom_cover

Wow. This is a huge one for me.

I’ve worked in video games for over a decade and on multiple projects (some of which even shipped!) but I’ve never put so much heart, soul, sweat, and tears into a game as I have into Agents of Mayhem.

Four years of my life. I can’t properly convey just how much of myself is in this game, how much making it pushed me to my limits, put me in the fire with some of the best and brightest people I’ve ever known.

Today is an incredibly emotional day. Every game release is a minor miracle. And I have no idea how Agents of Mayhem will sell or how it will review. But I know what the team at Volition faced and overcame to put this latest game together and out the door and I am so proud to be among them.

To all those who contributed, in house and through outsourcing: We made a good game. It’s fun and funny and personal and hits the tones we were aiming for. Be proud. Be happy. This thing of ours? It’s really really good stuff.

Thank you. And congratulations.

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Hello? This thing on?

June 23rd, 2017news, video games

So it’s been a year, huh?

Man, what craziness the past twelve months have brought.

I won’t be getting too much into it right now but I’m facing down a full left hip replacement next Thursday and about a month of recovery so my blogging time should shoot right up!

Until then, please enjoy these videos for Agents of Mayhem, out for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on August 15th (NA) and August 18th (EU).

A trailer!

Videos I am in!

The E3 2017 Demo!

For more videos, check out the official Deep Silver Volition YouTube Channel and the official Agents of Mayhem website.

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WATCH ME: Live on the Internet!

June 23rd, 2016interviews, video games

Well, “live” as in “pre-recorded” but so be it.

As you may know, I spent last week in Los Angeles, California showing off Agents of Mayhem at E3. I had a blast, and a big part of that was being able to sit down with press and discuss our game. If you’ve been wanting to see more of me (and, boy oh boy, who hasn’t been?) then check out the videos below.

Me on Twitch!

Me on Gamespot!

Me on Young Hollywood!

I also narrated the following video where I talk more in-depth about what to you’ll find in Agents of Mayhem.

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See You at E3!

June 10th, 2016video games

I am super-stoked to announce that I will be heading to Los Angeles on Monday to spend the week at E3!

This will be my first time at the show and I am honored to be there representing Agents of Mayhem.

If you’re in the LA area next week—especially if you’re at the show—hit me up via email!

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Watch Me: IGN REWIND THEATER

June 8th, 2016video games

More Agents of Mayhem news!

I had the pleasure of sitting down with IGN’s Vince Ingenito to discuss the story behind the recently released AOM announce trailer! Check it out:

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Announcing: AGENTS OF MAYHEM

June 6th, 2016news, video games

I am so incredibly excited and relieved to finally be able to talk about what I’ve been doing at work!

For those who have been wondering, I am Lead Writer on Deep Silver Volition‘s upcoming Agents of Mayhem! Check out IGN.com for the announcement—and watch the trailer below!

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Watch Me Play PREY

June 16th, 2015interviews, news, video games

I recently sat down to play through the very first game I ever worked on, Prey, here at my current job at Deep Silver Volition. Check out my wonderful first-person skills in the below video.

Also, I wrote the manual.

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Interview with Local Show “Current”

January 28th, 2015interviews, video games

I’m a (local) TV star! My coworker Lorcan Murphy and I sat down with local news show Current to discuss having fun at the workplace, which is something we at Volition know quite a bit about.

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Here’s the Thing About Dreams

January 2nd, 2015comics, fiction, operation: awesome, video games

Another year has ended (and I’ll write about that soon) and another one has started. All comments about arbitrary date changes aside, the beginning of a new year is as good a time as any other for reflection and declaration.

I’m not one for resolutions—no slight against them—but I am one for goals and dreams. It’s no secret that I love my day job. Writing video games is amazing and Volition is an aces place to work. I love coming into the office every day so much that I’ve become horrible at taking breaks from it. But, as do most creatives, I have ambitions beyond a single outlet. I want to create all the things—and I continue to strive to do so.

Over on Twitter, I posted the following:

Then, a little later, I added this:

Now, for the top tweet, those aren’t all crazy ideas. I’ve finished three novels in my life so far and though none have connected enough to move forward to publication, I’ve learned something with each. I am currently working with an artist on doing our own comic series and we’ll see what grows from that. And I endeavor every day to be a better human being in all relations, especially my familial ones.

But that second tweet, well, that’s a bit harder.

Some folks think because I write for a living (in video games no less!) that I have some sort of power and pull when it comes to getting Big Ideas made. Maybe, inside the confines of a Volition meeting room, there’s some truth to that (though video games are all about collaboration and any “win” I have is balanced by the wins of other people) but not-so in the bigger world.

Truth is, hardly anybody knows who I am. This isn’t a cry for pity or validation; it’s simple fact. My co-workers do, for the most part, and both my tabletop and digital games have fans (who are amazing!) but on the big creative scale, where the movers and shakers do their moving and shaking, I’m just another guy with ambition. Sure, maybe some credits too, but not so many big ones that they have to take notice.

I’m trying for that by making the things I can make and meeting the people I can meet but I’m not there yet. I’m not someone who enters a room and draws attention (outside of usually being the tallest person in the room). So, I’m just another anonymous person emailing a plea for connection and fives minutes of their time. When one of my emails hits an inbox, it’s shoved into the same Will-Get-To-Later-Maybe-Or-Maybe-Not pile as the emails of anyone else who doesn’t have some real clout behind their name.

And it doesn’t help that, frankly, the creative fields are tight, crowded areas. There are SO MANY people vying for the same thing that those who swim in the big pond can’t spend their time combing through all those emails looking for brilliance without a good reason. That good reason being name recognition or a referral from a friend or something that shines a light. I can only imagine being in the position the heads of studios are in when it comes to sorting through the in-flood of Folks Who Want Work.

I followed up the above tweets with the following two:

I wrote a comic, oh, about eight years ago (as I’ve talked about before) and I would love to get back in the field. And I’m doing that small comics project I mentioned earlier but there are some really cool established characters I’d love to take a crack at. I spent a good month putting together ideas for a Josie + the Pussycats reboot that I’d love to work on. Same for Cloak and Dagger. Zatanna’s one of my favorite characters of all time and telling one of her tales would be oh-woah-amazing. I would give blood to work on any of these titles. (And Power Pack too, as my friend Doug Snook reminded me.)

But so would a lot of people. Including folks working in comics right now. So, it’s a long shot. A really long shot. A Hail Mary pass into gale force winds. But it’s a goal. And it’s a dream. And I’m a big believer in having goals and working toward dreams. Once upon a time, working in video games was a long shot for me too.

I see myself as a creative who lives somewhere in the middle of this whole artsy mess. I write for a living but, I hope, I’m not at the top of my potential just yet. I’m just a writer trying to make it. I have my ups and downs, my successes and setbacks, but, mostly, I’m a guy with ambition. A guy who’s trying to do more and be more.

Maybe 2015 will give life to some of these dreams. Time will tell. But I’ll still be here working, no matter what the Fates have in store.

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Game Writing: 11 Things I’ve Learned

December 20th, 2013video games

Veteran writer (and scion of Tom Clancy) Richard Dansky asked an interesting question:

So what knowledge do you think is absolutely essential to working in games writing? Concepts? Elements of craft? Specific terminologies? Legal and professional issues?

I responded with eleven tenets that have served me well. Most of these were learned the hard way so I thought I’d (hopefully) save other writers and would-be writers the hassle and headache. Feedback and anecdotes from other writers is most certainly appreciated.

11 Things I’ve Learned About Writing for Video Games

1. A writer’s role in a project varies not only from studio to studio and from project to project but from stage of production to stage of production.

2. Many aspects of writing are the easiest thing to change when developing a game. More than anyone, you must be flexible.

3. Chances are, no one will care more about the story than you. You will be called upon to champion ideas and fight for story elements but you cannot be precious about small things and must be able to compromise.

4. You must be able to find your voice in any project, work-for-hire or not. If you cannot put yourself into another’s project, you need to work on that first and foremost.

5. When I freelanced, I was often called in near the end of a project to give context and structure to pre-existing characters, locations, and situations. If you intend to freelance, be really good at assembling LEGO bricks.

6. Understand that seemingly small decisions–such as locations, animations, costume changes, and characters–can have a huge impact on budgets and workflows within other departments. You must be able to own the budgets, both time and money.

7. Games are a team project. Learn the lingo used by other departments and disciplines. Learn what they need to get their job done. Learn what their priorities are. They are your best friends. And if you get in good with them, they will do what they can for you when you absolutely, positively need a new location, animation, costume change, or character.

8. You are a step in the process. Be mindful that audio, cinematics, animation, level design, scripting, and others will work from what you create. Be realistic about your deadlines and, once set: HIT. YOUR. DEADLINES.

9. You are a step in the process. Others must be mindful of your deadlines and, when they are not, you must be comfortable addressing that issue and telling them how their delays affect you.

10. Changes happen. All the time. Notes come down from directors, producers, marketing, publishers, and changes must be made. Sometimes the deadline will shift to allow for those changes; often, it won’t.

11. Games are great but it’s your life that’s important. Don’t be so in love with writing for games that your quality of life suffers.

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