Q&A with Jon
What is the best part about your current position?
The best part of my job is the sense that my everyday choices directly affect my team, studio, and product. I’m lucky in that Playful places a lot of trust in its individual contributors—that means I have both the responsibility to do great work, and the autonomy to get that work done. That combination is daunting, and exciting! Every day is filled with challenges, and I love it.
How did you first become interested in a career in gaming?
My interest in game development began with doing technical theater in high school. I loved working behind the scenes with other stagehands to make magic happen on stage—and I loved that (if we did our jobs right), no one knew we were there. Later on, during undergrad, I began reading daily developer blogs during the development of EAMythic's Warhammer Online, and became more interested in the developers than the game. Fast forward years through law school, food service & management, tech support, retail jobs… and game development felt like a match made in heaven.
Why did you choose to get your education from the Guildhall?
A close friend of mine who now works at Bungie went to the Guildhall before I did. He loved it, and after going to the open house, I felt like I had found my tribe. I liked that the program was centered around game projects—actually making games rather than talking about them. Guildhall felt like a place where I could put in great effort, and get great results.
How did the Guildhall prepare you for your career in gaming?
It’s a unique experience when a lot of talented, passionate people get together and create a game from nothing, using limited time and resources. The Guildhall does a great job at simulating that process—the same drama, same conflict, same victories and losses—while also providing a safe place to fail and learn from mistakes. That last part was crucial.
What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever been given?
The best advice I’ve ever been given is to make the product your guiding light. Producers often have to walk between two worlds, serving both the needs of the team and the needs of the game’s stakeholders. Not surprisingly, those two worlds can conflict! The only thing that aligns both parties is delivering a great game—that’s why everyone is here, isn’t it? With that tenant at the core of your decision-making process, it becomes easier to navigate difficult situations. My personal advice I would give to those looking to get into games is to start making things as soon as possible! Put your creations in front of people to be played, criticized, deconstructed, and enjoyed. Stop hypothesizing and start doing. Take advantage of the free tools out there, and find out if you like the problem-solving, creative process of making games.