The newsmakers of Central Florida’s video game scene have some deep stories to tell. Not only does it include those who build the games here. There are also alumni of schools that now work on some of the biggest titles in the industry.
Kate Edwards has made a name for herself advising some of the biggest video game titles to make sure they are culturally sensitive.
It’s a challenge that video games face more frequently as storylines become more realistic and set in actual societies – or even made-up ones.
“Not everyone will interpret a historical event in a game the same way, especially when dealing with historical events,” said Edwards, who has consulted on games like “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” “Dragon Age” and “Mass Effect” to make sure the storylines were sensitive. “There are different sensitivities in different markets. I help them walk through some decisions.”
Legendary video game designer David Crane said he probably should have seen the rise of esports way back in the 1980s.
While building games for Atari, a long hallway ended in a sort-of makeshift game room, where programmers would play the latest titles.
These often impromptu sessions would often draw six to eight people watching the gameplay.
“We, of course, looked at games differently than the average person – concentrating on design issues and technical implementation,” he told The OVG in an email interview. “But it could be entertaining nonetheless. It showed the value of watching an expertly played game.”
Crane would move on to Activision, where he would be the brains behind the legendary Atari 2600 game “Pitfall!,” and “Ghostbusters” for the Commodore 64.
This weekend, Crane will be in Orlando for Free Play Florida, an annual showcase of arcade games that serves as an homage to that classical video game period.
A lot has changed in the 18 years that Shaun McCabe has worked in the video game industry, having contributed to AAA games like Ratchet & Clank and Spider-Man while at Insomniac Games.
More people play.
Many play for money.
And the tools available for video game developers to build have grown in both number and sophistication.
But as tech advances the industry, one very important aspect of the industry remains unchanged.
“At their core, video games seek to engage players with compelling fantasies that allow them to experience the impossible,” he told The OVG. “That’s the same today as it was when I started my career 18 years ago.”