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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Out Now: HOW THE SAINTS SAVE CHRISTMAS

December 10th, 2013video games

The holidays are here and they’ve brought new DLC for Saints Row IV. Cozy up to the fire and enjoy this delightful—and delightfully twisted—trip to save St. Nick and restore the holidays to the world. Here’s the sell text:

How the Saints Save Christmas (1953) – Santa is trapped inside the Simulation but the Scrooge-like Boss of the Third Street Saints can’t muster enough Christmas spirit to save him. Can the Saints help the Boss discover the true meaning of the season in time? A holiday classic for the whole family.

Most owners of the Season Pass should already have this (Europe releases tomorrow). If you’re buying a la carte, you can pick it up on Steam, 360, and PSN now.

Happy holidays, everybody!

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Out Now: HEY ASH, WHATCHA PLAYIN’?

December 4th, 2013video games

I don’t want to get into the habit of calling out all the Saints Row IV DLC but I have to talk about this one.

Anthony, Ash, and Papa Burch, from the insanely popular webseries Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’ are now available as homies for Saints Row IV.

No, seriously.

I am absolutely giddy over this. I was a huge fan of the series before this came together and was ecstatic to work on this. It’s out now for all platforms: PS3, 360, and Steam.

Be sure to check out the trailer below, featuring a rare glimpse at the briefly-mustachioed Tony Bedard.

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Out Now: ENTER THE DOMINATRIX

October 22nd, 2013news, video games

The first story/mission DLC pack for Saints Row IV is out today! (In most territories anyway. Tomorrow for the UK!) Introducing Enter the Dominatrix.

I was one of the writers on this pack and it was a blast. In addition to more crazy Saints Row antics, some old characters come back as well which gave me the opportunity to work with some voice actors I was eager to see in action.

I don’t want to say too much because there is some true madness on display here. But I will paste up the official blurb:

Enter the Dominatrix reveals the wild hijinx of the original vision of the canceled SR3 expansion. Steelport has been taken over by the Dominatrix and only the Saints can stop her from trapping everyone in a virtual prison! Includes behind-the-scenes commentary and the return of some fan-favorite characters.

So there you go. It’s out now for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 for $6.99.

Oh, and in case it’s not evident, it’s rated M for Mature.

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