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.

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