An Audience With…
We trace a line through one of the most eclectic ectic careers in all of videogames with Brenda Romero
Brenda Romero’s games have covered almost every genre and audience, from resolutely commercial to arthouse; fantasy to shlocky; thoughtful to cute. She’s lead and built studios, developed and run academic courses, and explored in a personal series of boardgames ways in which game design can express difficult human themes. There’s pretty much no area of game development she hasn’t had a hand in at some point or other. Here, on the eve of receiving the BAFTA Special Award for her contributions to the industry, she discusses her recent move to Galway, her experiences with Silicon Valley culture, why she designed a game about slavery for her daughter, and her fascination with chefs.
How are you enjoying living in Ireland? Oh, jeez, well, we love it! We came to Ireland in 2014. There was a time when if you wanted to make games you needed to be in one of the centres where they’re made, but increasingly that’s just not the case. And there’s a great indie-game scene happening here in Ireland, and EA’s got 400 people here as well. So we just made a decision; we could be anywhere we want to be, so why not here?
What’s your day-to-day life in Galway like? I teach at the University of Limerick in the game development programme where I’ve just started up a Masters in game design, so I might be teaching, but most days I’m working on a new game. Every day is different and it depends on where you are in the project, but right now I’m in pre-production. Most of the day is working with the team, setting up the architecture and answering the design questions that need to be answered. It’s absolutely the most fun part of making a game.
What can you tell us about the game? [Laughs] I can tell you it’s a game! All I can really say is that it’s a game I’ve been looking forward to make. I don’t think anyone will be surprised about it. It’s about a topic I’ve wanted to make a game about since I was, geez, I don’t know, probably in my 20s, so a long time.