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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Roots Pushing Through

July 4th, 2017essays, operation: awesome

I think I’m starting to understand the concept of putting down roots. Staying in a place for a while. Staying at a job, a company for a long time. It’s…weird for me.

I never felt a connection to my hometown. And I always dreamt of having what is a rather impractical career.

When I was younger, I bounced around a variety of jobs that I hoped were never gonna turn into my career. So leaving when things got hard or tiring often felt like my best option. I didn’t want to work at those jobs forever so why put up when things weren’t great?

When my wife and I moved closer to Cleveland for her job, it was no big deal for me. The move meant closer proximity to cool things and I could continue to work on being a writer as I went from job to job.

Moving to Madison was harder–because of proximity to family–but it was a shot at working on something I truly love so we took it.

My need to move forward in my career outweighed pretty much every other factor.

And Madison is a great town. It’s my favorite town out of all the places I’ve lived. (London is my favorite town I’ve ever visited.)

Years later, I left that job for another job in the same area. And then that shop closed down. And I had no other opportunities.

This is the time when I launched a new edition of Little Fears and kicked off Operation: Awesome which were my attempts to hone my abilities and get practical, real product out there.

This led to some very welcome freelance gigs but it meant I was in constant pitching, constant working. I did anything and everything not just to scrape together taco money but to work my craft.

I wrote numerous bits and pieces for tabletop games (some of which paid, some of which got published, something that did both, some that did neither) and started doing article writing for AdventureGamers.com.

Once a year, I’d land a whale: a multi-month video game gig that helped us get through the leaner periods.

I was in panic mode this whole time. Every offer was short-term and I needed to find real stable full-time work. So I could catch my breath if nothing else.

I spent many years chasing a full-time opportunity. Any full-time opportunity. None of the work I got lasted all that long so I needed to be constantly looking for the next gig.

2012 is when everything changed. When I got an amazing offer–but had to walk away. When I won second prize at two different studios.

And then I landed the job at Volition.

But now, five years later, I am still always looking over my shoulder for the next thing. When things get too hard, my instinct is to look for another job.

I’ve developed a lot of bad habits–some necessary, some not–and they’re hard to shake.

All of this has prevented me from being comfortable putting down roots.

Why should I when I’m just gonna bounce, right?

But the truth is I’m in my chosen career, doing a job I love on amazingly “me” projects, working with amazing people–many of whom have become good friends. But I’ve never shaken off this perpetual fight or flight sensation.

It’s become something that nags at me. My obsessive tendencies likely exacerbate this.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, as I’ve spent all this time at home due to my dying leg/recent hip replacement. And I think about my kids and their friendships. And my house and how I’ve just started having movie nights with family and friends. And how Champaign doesn’t have all the amenities on my wishlist but I have access to a lot of great parks and shops and restaurants.

I’ve been here five years. Not just in Champaign but at Volition. This is my longest stint at a job in my life–by some magnitude.

And I wonder if I can set down roots here. If I can put away the paranoia and fear and just relax. Just enjoy life and the area and, yeah, some times will be harder than others but maybe it’s worth pushing through.

I wonder. And I think maybe I can.

It might be time for me to catch my breath.

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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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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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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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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 Today: SAINTS ROW IV

August 20th, 2013video games

Happy birthday, Saints Row IV! Congratulations to everyone at Volition. The hard work, long hours, numerous headaches, and putting up with the writing department really paid off!

Click here to buy!

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