So I’ve been pretty quiet the last few weeks, and there’s a good reason. Unfortunately, that reason means things are going to go on hold. As I mentioned recently, I quit my job. It had been my intention to sit down and work on The Epic of Sadko this summer. A few things are getting in the way of that. There is a narrative to be told into this rash of events that have led up to me being where I am today.
So, when I put in my notice, the company tried really hard to keep me. I was valuable to them and they would probably give me a job back in a heartbeat. But in a last ditch effort, the president of the company pulled me aside and tried to convince me to stay yet again. When I explained that it was less the problems that were happening at work and more about pursuing my future, he asked me where that future was. When I mentioned that it was in game design, he seemed surprised and then offered to give me a letter of introduction to a company he had a contact at. He wouldn’t tell me which company it was and I expressed my lack of confidence in my own ability. He left it on the table. It was an exciting idea to me, and I was seriously considered taking him up on the offer. Based on information he mentioned and my knowledge of the industry, I was able to figure out which company it was and it was then that I was ready to decline his offer. I won’t mention which company, because this was extended to me in confidence, but the games the company made were well beyond my area of content knowledge.
When I was searching around for possibilities as to what the company could be, though, I accidentally stumbled upon Phoenix Online Studios. I hadn’t heard of them and was surprised to find a Phoenix-based game company that I hadn’t heard about, especially one making adventure games. Well, I quickly discovered that I was wrong and that it was not based in Phoenix. What I did discover, though, was that they were looking for an assistant game designer. The job description fit me rather well, and it was listed for a project that had Jane Jensen listed as a story consultant. I think it was the fact that Jane Jensen approved of this independent company that finally decided it to me, but I had strongly considered it for three days before applying. I crafted a brand new résumé (following much of the design that Brenda Garno describes here), and created a heartfelt cover letter. It was the easiest one I have ever done in my life, honestly. I received an e-mail back after the holiday weekend, and then the following Monday I had an interview, where I was immediately accepted for the position.
The position was a bit different than the job description had said, though. Instead of working on the new project, I was thrust into the development of the last episode of the previous project for the company. So that’s what I’m doing now, for at least 20 hours a week. The game I’m working on is Episode 5 of The Silver Lining, a game set in the King’s Quest world of Roberta Williams with many familiar characters and themes. You should go play episodes 1-4, as they are quite good.
Working on this project is great for me to be able to build up my confidence, my résumé, and to start my career. It is daunting, but also exactly what I need. Team experience is something that I completely lack, and so the more experience I can get working on a team, the better I can be. Hence, working on a solo project has become less important to me. It is unfortunate that The Epic of Sadko must be put on hold, but I think that working with Phoenix Online Studios is much more important for me right now (and it accomplishes much of what I was going to with The Epic of Sadko).
I will probably update less frequently until the semester starts back up again. I’m keeping a lot of my work on The Silver Lining to myself, which I think is prudent. So unfortunately this transition means that I won’t be able to be as transparent in my design as I’d wanted to. But the team experience is far far more important to me.
By the way, Phoenix Online Studios is still looking for a systems programmer and a number of artists. I’d be very happy if you or anyone you knew could help us out.