Welcome to the third edition of our Publishing blog! This month, the Pub team took time from the rigors of our jobs to enjoy a lovely holiday break – but it wasn’t all turkey and cranberry sauce. To compensate for the time off, we had to work hard to get all of our ducks in a row! Check out the fruits of our labors below:
Steve – Head of Publishing
I am so proud of what our little team tasked with building a publisher has done so far in just a couple of years. I love working with these people every day, and I’m really excited for 2018.
This month I spent a lot of time talking with even more potential partners around the world to help get our future games to as many gamers as possible. I also spent a lot of time talking to game makers about publishing their titles. It’s pretty much a never-ending cycle and a really fun one. We’ve got a lot more to learn as a young publisher and, man, do the complications of international commerce always seem to change.
Hello Neighbor, which launches December 8th worldwide, will be in more stores than we’ve ever been before and better communicated around the world. Looking towards 2018 and our announcements coming in 2018… it might just be a big year. Who could say?
Meredith – Community Coordinator
Hail and well met, y’all!
My November schedule was jam packed, thanks to the days lost during Thanksgiving (not that I’m complaining). I had my fingers in several different pies this month, and I mean that literally!
My big social project for November involved developing and kitchen-testing recipes for our We Happy Few channels! These four recipes – Victory Meat Pies, Twice-Baked Holy Yams, Earl Gray Tea Cuppa Cakes, and Joy Milkshakes – were inspired by edibles in the game, and they did not disappoint!
Elisa, Nicole, and I spent a Saturday afternoon cooking up these tasty treats and capturing photos, Gifs, and videos to use in the resulting blog posts. Of course, once we got the footage we needed, we stuffed our faces with our creations. All-in-all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday.
*Italian chef kiss*
Outside of We Happy Few, I spent some time writing up the metadata for a little game called Desert Bus VR. Metadata is a collection of information and assets (game descriptions, screenshots, trailers, game specs, etc.) needed to make a game’s product page. The game description is typically written with a concise, professional tone. Because Desert Bus VR is a satirical game that’s meant to be maddening in its mundanity, I got to get creative with the metadata. So, if you read the description on the Desert Bus VR Steam page and get a laugh out of it, know that it was me who wrote it. And if you don’t find it funny, well, it’s all Jeff’s fault.
See you next month!
Elisa – New Media Manager
‘Sup, Pub fam! It’s ya girl, ElisaRockDoc coming atcha’ with a hot new Pub blog from the New Media side!!! Be sure to SMASH. THAT. LIKE. button –
*cough* Whoa. Sorry about that – got carried away there. Where were we? Right! November was a fun month from a Publishing perspective, and it showcased the range of the more…interesting things I get to do as part of the gig.
The first was filming and taking pictures for the We Happy Few holiday recipe guides. One of the perks of being the photographer and videographer of this festive social media project was getting to eat the amazing recipes afterwards! The cool thing about it was that I was able to use my phone to create all the assets—no lugging around our DSLR or lighting or other bulky equipment, just my iPhone X!
After taking videos of the various steps (mixing ingredients, sautéing, decorating, etc.), I used the GIPHY Cam app to make Gifs for use in the blog post. It’s way easier to do while on the road than cracking open an editing program on my laptop, and you can add funky filters like this:
Speaking of trips, we partnered with the Desert Bus for Hope charity event on the release of Desert Bus VR—which features eight hours of blisteringly monotonous radio*, sweet-ish graphics, the ability to boop the air freshener, and MULTIPLAYER. Yep. This game’s pretty baller.
I coordinated with the dev team and the Desert Bus for Hope folks on a couple of other new features that ended up being donation incentives, such as adding stickers to the inside of the bus and picking the game’s release date! I also ended up joining Randy Pitchford and Penn Jillette (live via my iPad) during the Desert Bus VR livestream to help answer questions (yes, you can play the game in non-VR!):
Desert Bus hype!
Overall, the stream raised over $650,000, and I’m proud to have played a role in that, albeit a tiny one.
It’s that time of year where we take a look at what we’re thankful for, so I’ll leave you with a few of mine: a dream job with some of my favorite people, family, friends, bullet journaling, performing music, and this picture of Meredith’s cat, Sabine, headbutting my laptop:
*Except for hour 6-ish, which features a sweet rock track from Crimson, which may or may not be my band.
Austin – PR Manager
On top of talking to media about considering our games for their end of year lists (Top Games to Buy This Holiday; Games we’re excited for in 2018; etc.) and Desert Bus VR, I worked with our team to set up an awesome presentation for a local middle school career day.
Presenting at a career day was a really fun opportunity, and it was definitely a priority for our team. We feel students should be exposed to a wide array of career opportunities and general advice from industry professionals. Some kids, and most adults, don’t think video games make for viable careers. Obviously, we don’t feel that’s true, and we gave a presentation on how students can apply a wide variety of interests and skills to video games. Our goal wasn’t just to educate about the industry, but to also motivate everyone in the room to find, or continue pursuing, their passions.
Also, since I started this, here’s another embarrassing tweet of me…
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) September 2, 2015
Kat – Project Manager
This month has been tremendously busy, what with Thanksgiving taking up some of the middle there. I hope everyone had a good one! I ate so much that I had to roll back to my computer afterwards.
I’m still working on the We Happy Few Time Capsule, and it’s really cool seeing all the items come to life as we receive and review the prototypes. Here’s a photo of the We Happy Few soundtrack record prototype, with one of our artists acting as Vanna White::
I won’t lie, I might have sat there and spinned it on a pen-tip for a solid minute, watching the swirling pattern. But I mean, look how cool it looks! It’s hypnotizing.
Kelly – Art Director
Let me think, what all did we do this last month? Well, we finalized and approved all the pieces for the We Happy Few Time Capsule, for one. I’m really excited for this one. I think fans of the game are going to be quite surprised at just how much is being crammed into the box. Also, it’s going to be a big box, so you may want to clear a space for it, okay?
Let’s see, what else? With the holidays right around the corner, the art team has been helping prepare for our annual Gearbox holiday party. Each year, the festivities (and the preparations) become larger and more insane than the last. Nicole, our marketing artist, has been creating some amazing designs for the event. We’ll have some pictures of the party to share with you next month!
Nicole – Marketing Artist
Happy post-turkey coma!
This month, I have been mostly dedicated to creating a variety of neat social assets. I worked with Meredith and Elisa on the We Happy Few recipes and fawned over Meredith’s cat while baking and eating delicious thematic foods. We took lots of photos during this process, several of which I turned into stylish title cards for the recipe blog posts.
Other than that, I helped make assets for autumn sale promotions and holiday-inspired visuals for various social posts.
Have a fun holiday!
Sean – Chief Bro/Web Designer:
So of the stuff that I’ve been doing recently has been to help make our lives easier and faster here in the world of Publishing. This includes designing packaging templates for whenever first party makes updates to their files (which happens somewhat regularly, and way more often than I ever expected as a consumer), developing systems that do a lot of automation for us, and also developing systems which help remove as much room for human error as possible – making sure that you get the best possible product whenever these games hit store shelves.
Packaging alone takes up a decent amount of time as you have to make sure that you’re adhering to the requirements and constraints of each platform as well as accounting for differences and rules on a per-region/country basis. WAYYYYY more goes into packaging than you might initially think.
Beyond this, of work was done again on content that we can’t really talk about just yet (we’re all turbo-stoked about it though, and we can’t wait to let people see what we’ve got coming).
What I can say is that I helped to bring in a few new members of the publishing department:
BLUB BLUB BRO!
Not pictured: Three neon-tetras – Fluffy, Steve (yes, named after Head of Gearbox Publishing – THAT Steve), and Maya – that couldn’t even, and weren’t ’bout that Publishing life* **.
*Real-Talk: Neon Tetra are probably the dying-est fish I’ve ever seen…especially the blue ones.
**RIP In Peace Publishing Fish Friends
Simon – QA Manager
Hi everyone! This is Simon on behalf of Gearbox Publishing’s Quality Assurance (QA) Team. Our goal is to support Gearbox Publishing’s various partners/developers through a team of objective testers. We offer functional, first party certification, localization and compatibility test services to ensure that the player will have a smooth experience when the games reach their hands.
An efficient QA department needs to stay up to date with the games they are testing, so we are working very closely with We Happy Few developer Compulsion Games to support their needs. They are keeping us informed of the various features and content they added to the latest versions and we make sure to test around those to keep them busy with a steady flow of bugs!
A recent example of this is the rearrangement of the order you will be visiting the multiple islands of Wellington Wells. While it provides a better experience for you all, it may introduce technical issues. Our job is to hunt for any bugs that this change may have caused and make sure that the narrative of all the quests remain coherent. It’s important for us to be flexible and always adapt to what is being sent to us for testing!
While we always enjoy providing player feedback whenever developers request it (we are gamers too!), our main job is to offer an objective view of the current state of the game through bug filing and various reports. We are here to help our partners deliver great games, and we are thrilled to be involved!
Jon – User Research Manager Michelle – User Research Analyst Kyle – Senior User Research Analyst
This past month we worked with our partners at Compulsion to conduct another user test in our lab here in Frisco. The focus of this test was on how new We Happy Few players learned the game’s mechanics over the course of two hours of gameplay. We have had some great discussions with the Compulsion team about the results of this test, and we are looking forward to another round of data collection after the holidays.
-Your Friendly Neighborhood User Research Team