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June 16, 2021

Turning Ideas Into Hundreds of Hours of Fun

Turning Ideas Into Hundreds of Hours of Fun

Any college degree can be helpful to get into the gaming industry; every professional will be handy in any gaming company. But to Erik Willis, the best thing those interested in creating a game can do is create a game themselves. We can find online and free the same tools triple-A studios use, Unreal Engine and Unity, for instance. He believes that it doesn't need to be a big game; it can be a simple one. But someone that can show they have what it needs to build a game from scratch has many chances of getting hired for a gaming company. 

Erik Willis is an Associate Producer at Funcom. He holds an A.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Central Community Piedmont College, a B.S. and B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a Master's Degree in Arts, Entertainment and Media Management from the University of Utah. He worked on many cool projects like Disney Infinity, Looney Toons Dash, and he also worked at React Games on PC, Mobile, VR, and Console projects. 

In this episode, we discussed his role as a project manager in Funcom, what happens when a project goes beyond its budget, and how he manages to turn what game creatives think into what game developers create. We also talked about his favorite games and what project he enjoyed the most. He spoke about the massive importance of game testing and how boring and challenging it can be. He also shared his view on the future of VR, consoles, and the gaming industry as a whole. 

Tune in to find out what it means to create a video game from a producer's standpoint.

Some Questions I Ask:

  • Is it hard to stick to the original budget? Have you ever gone off the budget? (2:25)
  • How do you start managing a team of artists to get everything done on time and on the budget? (6:25)
  • What was your favorite game to playtest? (15:08)
  • How did you get into this career of being a game producer? (17:17)
  • Do you think that VR games will eventually replace console games? (33:35)

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • What happens when a game exceeds its budget (3:25)
  • What is an Art Pipeline, and its role in the creation of a game (8:17)
  • Why playtesting is so critical, and why most testers don't last long in their positions (16:21)
  • The difference between being passionate to play videogames and being devoted to making them (21:52)
  • Where Erik believes the gaming industry is heading (43:09)


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