My First Interview?
Stumbled across this interview with me over at IGN.
I’m not entirely sure if this is my absolute first interview as a designer with BioWare but I think it is. One of the cool things with BioWare is that they tried to make sure everybody, especially in the early days, had a shot at doing interviews and sharing the development spotlight.
Of course reading the interview I’m scratching my head, especially at this:
One day I plan to return to University and complete my masters degree, which will probably involve building robots and other AI related interests.
I totally don’t remember wanting to go back to university. I must have lied to make myself sound more impressive… though the whole ‘building robots’ bit probably didn’t help that much.
Hehehe… And now your forgotten desire to go back to university and build robots is archived on the internet forever. :)
Someone asked for an interview with me a while ago, but now with all the hoops one needs to go through, it still hasn’t happened. I am sad. I haven’t been asked to do very many interviews; I think the last one was Kingmaker.
I kind of sort of feel obligated to go back now.
Wow, that’s a long time ago!
Hopefully some more opportunities will come up. Take care!
Not bad for a first interview! Although I wonder if the battle-hardened Brent would also talk honestly about data entry (in the same way that a car manufacturer would hesitate to discuss anyhting to do with say, manufacturing tolerances on main bearings)?
How hard was it to put on a different hat when talking about games? I guess to you it was a job (however much you enjoyed it) which at times included tons of code and long nights in front of a monitor nibbling cold pizza. To the audience of the journalist, on the other hand, it was this cool new universe that they were gearing up to immerse themselves in for weeks, become a powerful hero and save the world. Was it easy to switch perspectives?
Definitely when doing interviews we were always careful about what to talk about and what not to talk about. I think in the early years we were a bit more ‘honest’ and over time became more professional (albeit less talkative). There’s always a fine line and that’s why I take many of the DA2 PR discussions with a grain of salt. There are limits as to what can be said.
As for data entry specifically — it really sucked back in the BG2 days. It was a very data intensive process using crude tools and with many opportunities for error. BioWare eventually developed an in-house tools department that did great things for improving efficiency.
I didn’t really have problems doing the interviews though once I became a lead I didn’t have much time for it (ironic because once you are a lead there are a lot more interviews coming your way). I used to drive the PR department nuts because I tried to refuse most interview requests to focus instead on getting work done.
Bah, people have themselves to blame for forcing interviewers to toe some party line. Anything remotely off message is tweeted around the globe in nano-seconds and subject to death by Chinese whispers and semi-informed comments. But the PR on DA2 has been a tragicomedy ever since “button” and “awesome” became officially connected! The latest quote from Mike is (and don’t adjust your monitors here folks): “text is always a pretty horrible medium for conveying sarcasm or sincerity” (in defense of using emoticons within the DA2 dialog wheel). I hope this wasn’t sincere – but I couldn’t tell for sure since it was written in text (/sarcasm).
Much earlier in my career I had an ‘interesting’ experience with a journalist who called the switchboard asking to speak to an expert on topic X. Well, the receptionist couldn’t find an expert, so connected the call to me instead. The journalist then told me that he was putting the ‘finishing touches’ on an article about topic X, and would just like ‘a minute’ of my time to check a few facts. ‘Um, OK’, I mumbled, wondering what could possibly go wrong with a few factual points. The conversation went on for about half an hour, mostly minutiae I felt no-one would be interested in. I slowly let my guard down. Then, just before hanging up, the journalist threw in one last question – ‘do I therefore agree that the Finance Ministry was not being entirely upfront in its claims about the way subject X would affect the finances of ordinary people?’. ‘Well, not entirely upfront’, I obligingly (and honestly) concurred. Next day I got summoned in to my boss (think Branka), who was clutching a copy of a national paper in one hand and a bottle of valium in the other. To this day I’m not entirely sure how I talked my way out of that one…
Ouch… I would not have wanted to be you that day! Glad you weathered it okay.
But yeah press and what we say to press is always tricky.
It would be better if we could just have more straight forward discussions. There have been a few times in my interviews where that has happened — usually ‘in person’ interviews with a group of developers and a couple press guys in a more casual interviewing situation. That didn’t happen much unfortunately.