Jordan Blackman interviews the leaders and legends of the video game industry so that you can succeed with your game project, career, or venture. Discover how you can produce, market, and operate games more successfully so that your career can be more satisfying and impactful, whether you're a game designer, engineer, or entrepreneur and whether you work at a studio, publisher, brand or startup. Jordan is an industry insider, who has worked as a Senior Producer at Ubisoft and a Lead Designer at Zynga. Since 2012, Jordan has been helping clients like EA Sports, AMC Networks, The Pokemon Company, Ellen Degeneres, and Capcom create and grow hit games. In each episode of Playmakers, he goes to work uncovering valuable insights, tactics, and know-how from a wide range of entertaining personalities including designers, writers, product managers, technologists, studio founders, executives, and more. Why? So that you get practical perspectives and insights week after week. No matter your experience or discipline, this is the show that can level you up on everything from raising funds to live operations, and everything in-between. Oh, and you'll have fun every step of the way, because there's a magic sprinkle of goofiness in each episode. So thwack that subscribe button and buckle your safety belt, 'cus this here is the wildest ride in the metaverse.
How to Create Innovative Game Designs, with Nick Fortugno
July 27, 2021 • 38 MIN
Nick Fortugno is an entrepreneur, interactive narrative designer, and game designer based in New York City. He is a founder and principal of Playmatics, a game development company that has created a variety of digital and real-world experiences for organizations including Pro Publica, Red Bull, AMC (such as the CableFAX award-winning Breaking Bad: The Interrogation), Disney, American Museum of Natural History, the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent. Nick has taught game design and interactive narrative design for 15 years at institutions such as Columbia University and the Parsons School of Design and has participated in the construction of game design and immersive storytelling curriculum.
You’ll likely want to listen to this episode more than once with topics spanning:
- Nick’s professional journey from intern to Founder & CCO
- The top two lessons Nick learned while keeping his company afloat when other competitors failed
- The game-changing principles of game design he’s picked up over the course of his career
- Failing up in game design: making and breaking
- MDA as an approach to game design and how he utilizes this technique
- What Nick looks for when hiring game designers and producers: what’s taught in school vs. what needs to be cultivated
- AI in the gaming technology forecast
For more resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com
Crypto Gaming 101, with Emma-Jane MacKinnon-Lee
July 20, 2021 • 51 MIN
Emma-Jane is a space engineering dropout liberating gaming and fashion in web3 through mod culture. She is the Founder & CEO of DIGITALAX, the pioneer Digital Fashion NFT protocol and marketplace for gaming and esports. In short, she’s a dynamic innovator living at the intersection of gaming and emerging internet technologies.
In this mind-bending episode, we deep dive into the metaverse and discuss how the game industry stands to be disrupted during the rise of ”web3” technologies that enable digital scarcity, decentralization, and interoperability.
-NFT’s and cryptocurrency as they relate to gaming
-The intersection of the gaming industry and web3
-Who are the new digital natives?
-Digital fashion, and the challenge of interoperability
-How web3 presents an opportunity for more stability in the game industry rat race
-Advice for game devs looking to break into the NFT space
From Late-Night Game Hobbyist to Successful Studio Owner, with Colm Larkin
July 13, 2021 • 40 MIN
Colm is a programmer, game designer, and board game enthusiast. He jumped into game development by founding Gambrinous in 2014 and has released two titles so far: Guild of Dungeoneering and Cardpocalypse. He is also involved with the Irish game development community, including spending four years on the board of Imirt, the association for Irish game makers.
This highly insightful episode packs a punch with topics like:
-How Colm transitioned from a part-time to a full-time game developer
-The importance of conquering perfectionism
-What helped Colm the most in getting his first game off the ground
-How to know when it’s time to start expanding your team as an indie developer
-To animate or not to animate? The impacts of art on your creation process
-How to set yourself up for success when it comes to seeking out a publisher
For more resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com
Season 2 Trailer of Playmakers: The Game Industry Podcast!
July 6, 2021 • 1 MIN
Playmakers is back with a brand new season by and for game industry professionals. We're bringing you actionable insights you can use to grow in your career, make better games, and improve your game industry business. The pandemic has been called "The Great Accelerator" and it's important to stay on top of where the industry is going. That's why we're bringing you an amazing variation of game industry leaders and legends to light the way. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast wherever you love to listen and head to www.playmakerspodcast.com to check out even more resources and episodes. We're really proud and excited to show you what we've been cooking up. Game on.
The Art of Transmedia Storytelling, with Chris Ferriter
June 29, 2021 • 47 MIN
Master of cross-medium storytelling, Chris Ferriter, joins us on the podcast today. Chris is an award-winning Producer and Designer whose career has spanned the motion picture and video game industries beginning in 1994 before transitioning to the game industry in 1998, where he went on to produce over 50 games for several of the game industry’s top publishers including THQ, Midway, and Ubisoft, and EA Sports.
Chris is currently CEO and Executive Producer of Halon Entertainment, a visualization, virtual production, and game cinematics studio comprised of seasoned Visualization Supervisors, Artists, and Creatives committed to the advancement of storytelling and real-time virtual production.
Listen in as we discuss how game engine technology is revolutionizing motion picture production with topics like:
-Chris’ start in the industry
-Getting a degree vs. getting your foot in the door
-Telling the best possible story
-The importance of previs
-Behind the scenes of building a game
-The COVID-accelerated normalization of virtual production workflows
For full show notes and resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com
How to Succeed in the Indie Games Business, with Jay Powell
June 22, 2021 • 37 MIN
In this value-packed episode, we’re joined by Jay Powell, founder of The Powell Group, a video game consulting firm focused on business development, publishing support, and licensing with clients like Other Ocean, Spill Games, and Deep Silver.
Jay has also spearheaded the Indie Game Business Initiative which produces both a weekly podcast and hosts multiple virtual business conferences each year in order to help game creators develop a solid understanding of the business and marketing aspects of the game industry.
Join us as we dive into important topics for indie devs and small devs trying to get their foot in the door such as:
-How to strategize your approach to publishers as an indie developer
-How to avoid the biggest business mistakes that small studios make
-The hottest opportunities in the market for developers right now
-How the pandemic has affected the publishing landscape for indies and small dev teams
-And how new platforms like Microsoft Game Pass are impacting the rest of the distribution landscape
For full show notes and resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com
Rapid Prototyping Secrets for Better Games, with Bernard François
November 11, 2020 • 46 MIN
Bernard François runs Preview Labs, a company dedicated to helping studios create prototypes. They have created prototypes for Amazon, Wargaming, Unity, Google R&D, Disney Imagineering, and many more.
In this highly actionable interview, we cover how to make prototypes that are efficient and effective. What kinds of problems prototyping can solve, the difference between internal prototypes and prototypes for a pitch, common prototyping mistakes, key variables to include in prototypes, and much much more.
Inside the Mind of a Game God, with Steve Meretzky
September 15, 2020 • 51 MIN
I mean, it's Steve Meretzky, one of the greatest game writers and puzzle designers of all time. He's also served as VP of Games at King, VP of Creative at GSN, and VP of Game Design at Playdom/Disney. Steve is a hilarious creative force for good, and in this interview he shares stories and insights from his wide ranging and impactful career making games. Interested in contacting or working with Steve? You can find his LinkedIn profile in the show notes.
From Table Tops to Live Ops, with Bruce Harlick
September 7, 2020 • 49 MIN
Bruce Harlick is a prolific game designer and a beloved member of the bay area design community. He's worked at Monolith, LucasArts, Zynga, TinyCo, Hanger 13, and more on everything from MMOs to Facebook games. In our talk, we dive into live operations, content calendars, and managing KPI from a designers perspective.
Product Management & Monetization 101 & 201, with Gordon Rowe
August 31, 2020 • 86 MIN
Gordon Rowe was a product manager on Mafia Wars, and then served as Zynga's only product manager on the 3rd party publishing team working with external studios to help them improve the performance of their games. He also worked on PC f2p as the Director of Product at Daybreak games. He's currently working at Facebook as an in-house consultant.
Gordon has worked with dozens of external studios and has problem solved their products, and evaluated their chances of success. These are superpowers you can develop by listening to this episode...
We dive deep into product management frameworks, rule-of-thumb KPI, common free to play errors, the evolution of monetization beyond pay-to-win, how to implement an analytics stack, and much much more.
If you work in, or have interest in, free-to-play games, this interview is absolutely unmissable.
How to Become (or work with) a AAA Game Composer, with Michael Bross
August 25, 2020 • 21 MIN
AAA audio composer and sound designer Michael Bross has composed on games like Ratchet and Clank, Counter Strike, Odd World, X-com 2, Simpsons Tapped out, World of Tanks, Arena of Valor, and many more.
In this interview, you'll learn:
* How Michael broke into the industry
* What he looks for when hiring young composers and sound designers
* When is the right time to bring an audio team into the game development process
* How producers and developers can get the most from their audio teams
* And much more! Lots to learn in this episode of Playmakers!
Managing Your Game Industry Career, with Marc Mencher
August 3, 2017 • 39 MIN
Marc’s first gaming job was at Sphere, which was later renamed to Spectrum Holobyte. He worked as a software engineer on the games Vet and Falcon 1. When Spectrum Holobyte merged with Microprose in 1993, Mencher was asked to staff the entity and hired over 200 people. He later joined The 3DO Company, a game console manufacturer, as Staffing Manager, and helped to build The 3DO Studio (The 3DO Company’s Game Development Studio) from scratch, hiring over 300 people.
Aligning Game Chi on Deadspace & Battlefield, with Ian Milham
July 27, 2017 • 41 MIN
Ian has been in the gaming business for twenty years, including time as an environment artist, the art director for the Dead Space games, and the creative director of Battlefields 4 and Hardline. In 2016 he became Game Director for Crystal Dynamics directing the Tomb Raider Series.
Inside a Game Design Consultancy, with Adrian Crook
July 18, 2017 • 49 MIN
Adrian Crook is an award-winning game design consultant with over 20 years’ experience in the social, casual, and core games sectors. He has produced and designed over two dozen products across platforms ranging from early Nintendo and Sega Genesis to PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox 360, Wii, Facebook, iOS, and Online.
How to Build a Great Reputation in the Game Industry, with Gordon Bellamy
July 14, 2017 • 41 MIN
Gordon P. Bellamy is an American video game executive. He has over 19 years of experience and leadership in the interactive entertainment industry. Gordon was the Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association from August 2010 until July 2012.
Directing AAA Video Games, with Brian Allgeier
July 11, 2017 • 40 MIN
An American video game designer who is best known for his work as the lead designer and creative director on the Ratchet & Clank series developed by Insomniac Games for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.
Game Design Process Lessons from a Master, with Dave Rohrl
July 4, 2017 • 57 MIN
Dave Rohrl has more than 22 years experience designing and producing online games for a mass audience. Over the course of his career, he has led design or production on more than 50 games and overseen or consulted on dozens more and held senior positions at Pogo, PopCap, Zynga, and Playdom.
How to Create UX that Drives Retention & Monetization, with Alfonzo Burton
June 21, 2017 • 33 MIN
Alfonzo Burton is one of the top designers in UI/UX. His insight and unsurpassed design techniques have been utilized by many of the top grossing games in the marketplace to date, many achieving the 100-Million-dollar mark. Alfonzo has founded two design companies that have both been a driving force in UI/UX for the past 15 years.
Building Empathy & Emotion into Your Game, with Robin Hunicke
June 2, 2017 • 61 MIN
Robin Hunicke is an innovative American video game artist. She's also a professor of game design at UC Santa Cruz and the co-founder of Funomena.
Hunicke is recognized in the industry for her support of independent game development, experimentation in game design, research in dynamic difficulty adjustment, and the advocacy of women within the games industry.
Game Design as a Way of Being, with Eric Zimmerman
May 25, 2017 • 37 MIN
Eric Zimmerman is a game designer the co-author of four books including Rules of Play with Katie Salen, which was published in November 2004. Eric Zimmerman has written at least 24 essays and white-papers since 1996, mostly pertaining to game development from an academic standpoint. He's currently a founding faculty at the NYU Game Center. Eric Zimmerman is deeply embedded in New York Game scene. Having originally cofounded Gamelab, the studio that went out to create Diner Dash.
The Secret Sauce of Video Game Story Design, with Ed Kuehnel
May 17, 2017 • 54 MIN
Ed Kuehnel, a screenwriter (Lumberjack Man) and game writer who has worked on over fifty video games for publishers such as Disney Interactive, Paramount Digital, Vivendi/Universal and Ubisoft.
Hacking Kickstarter to Fund Your Game, with Lorne Lanning Part 2 of 2
May 10, 2017 • 43 MIN
Lorne Lanning is an American game designer, director, writer and voice actor. He is also co-founder of Oddworld Inhabitants. He is best known for creating the Oddworld series including Abe's Abe's Exoddus, Munch's Oddysee, Stranger's Wrath and Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! He is currently working on Oddworld: Soulstorm.
Designing Games that Stand the Test of Time, with Lorne Lanning Part 1 of 2
May 9, 2017 • 50 MIN
Lorne Lanning is an American game designer, director, writer and voice actor. He is the co-founder of Oddworld Inhabitants and is best known for creating the Oddworld series including Abe's Oddysee, Abe's Exoddus, Munch's Oddysee, Stranger's Wrath and Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!. He is currently working on Oddworld: Soulstorm.
How to Use Hollywood Talent in your Game, with Lev Chapelsky
May 6, 2017 • 40 MIN
Lev Chapelsky is a founding partner and general manager for Blindlight, a Hollywood-based production company that has been operating at the nexus of the videogame and Hollywood industries for the past 12 years. Leading game producers from all of the global top 20 game companies have turned to Blindlight when they want creative contributions from Hollywood, or when they need help navigating the murky waters between these two industries.
One Million Downloads in One Week: The Power of Rapid Prototyping, with Mike Mika
May 6, 2017 • 36 MIN
Mike Mika has 20+ years game development experience. He helped launch NGMoco, pioneering some of the first free-to-play games for iPhone. He's run studios and played a major role in the shift to digital content distribution with Xbox Live and PSN. He has shipped over 190 games on every platform since the Game Boy, his most recent title, #IDARB was downloaded by over a million people in the first week of its release.
An Introduction from Your Host Jordan Blackman
May 6, 2017 • 4 MIN
In this short intro, host Jordan Blackman explains the genesis of the podcast, discusses who will get the most out its programming, and briefly outlines his own game industry experience.
Venture Funding for Game Studios, with Jason Della Rocca
May 5, 2017 • 57 MIN
Jason Della Rocca is the co-founder of Execution Labs, a hands-on early stage investor for independent game developers. Prior, he served as the executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) for nearly nine years.