How was your March? Ours was pretty busy, especially for those of us who traveled to San Francisco for the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC). For those of us who didn’t (and were seething with jealousy back at home base), there was still plenty to do. Read on to find out what we got up to!
Steve – Head of Publishing
So far so good! We’re probably going to be picking up another 2-4 titles for 2018, it seems, and I think we’ll be ready to announce at least one more of those before the next monthly update!
Really excited about bringing Hello Neighbor to Switch, and my six year old daughter asked me if we could get the game last week. So… that was awkward. I, of course, told her video games are not welcome in our home.
All in all, it was a great March. I got to see a ton of games not yet announced at GDC and learned a bunch more about global box distribution. At least one of those two things was super fascinating to me.
Meredith – Community Coordinator
What’s up, y’all?
Phew! After the speeding train that was February, March felt like it went on forever!
For our We Happy Few channels, Naila from Compulsion Games and I worked together to make content for some of March’s social holidays, like The Ides of March and International Happiness Day. Taking advantage of these hashtags can be really helpful in increasing the engagement of a post, and, as with everything on social media, it pays to be relevant.
— We Happy Few (@wehappyfewgame) March 20, 2018
A couple of our posts this month were inspired by in-game lore, and meant to give the player a small glimpse into life in Wellington Wells. This Royal Rose Society gardening club flyer (with art by the incredible Nicole, see below) is a window into the pretentious attitudes of upper-class Wellies, and a timely piece based around the oncoming of spring in the real world!
Outside of We Happy Few, we worked together with tinyBuild and Sony to announce Hello Neighbor for the PlayStation 4! The news was broken on the official PlayStation blog, and that helped quite a bit to get the message out. Be sure to keep checking back here for updates on release dates and whatnot!
Elisa – New Media Manager
[Achievement Unlocked]: Survived the Ides of March
Hey, everyone! March was a whirlwind month that went by too quickly—and I mostly spent it traveling and doing a lot of behind-the-scenes planning for cool video content you’ll be seeing in the upcoming months!
One of these projects is an upcoming video series called “Inside the Box” where we introduce you to various members of the team and give insight on the kinds of roles people have at Gearbox—think of it as a snackable video version of this blog! What kinds of game industry job questions do you have? Let me know (@elisarockdoc)! I’d love to have us try and answer them.
As mentioned in last month’s Pub blog, I defended my doctoral dissertation this month—and I passed! It was a half-hour presentation where I showed off my research and findings, followed by a question and answer session from my professors and the audience. If you’re interested in what a dissertation defense might look like, I was able to livestream the whole thing here!
After I graduate in May, it’ll be time to order new business cards that say “Dr.” on them—unfortunately, I’m not the awesome kind that saves lives or anything, but it’s still pretty cool!
Austin – PR Manager
Knowing that the next few months are going to get busy, I took some much-needed time off by traveling with friends. Outside of celebrating a med school graduation in Houston and a very civil, work-appropriate bachelor party in Denver, the rest of my time was at the office, building out the upcoming marketing plans for our various titles.
Also this month, we officially signed with Petrol Advertising and WePlay Events to ensure our digital and event presence, respectively, are of the highest quality for We Happy Few. I’m really excited for what we have coming down the pipeline, but at the moment, it’s too early to show you all any juicy images and details. Stay tuned later this year, as it will be fun to show y’all some of the early advertising visuals that we all ideated on.
Kat – Project Manager
I spent a lot of this month gearing up for GDC (Game Developers Conference) and making sure that everything that was squared away before I was out of the office for a week. At the conference, I focused on the Producer Bootcamp on Tuesday, as I do a lot of the art producer duties for my team and it was great to learn from talented people in the industry.
GDC was very interesting because a lot of the time I have found talks to focus on the successful way to accomplish a goal, and don’t go through all the ways that failed that you can learn from. GDC seemed to have a good balance of this is what worked and this is what didn’t. I’ve personally found the best learning to be found with projects where things haven’t gone perfectly.
My favorite line that came out of GDC was “Grow your producer backbone” from Andie Nordgren, which basically meant that you were hired for a reason, because you had some abilities that were recognized. It’s helped me have a lot of confidence in the last few days as I’m working through some scheduling issues.
On the last day at GDC I woke up super early for the night owl that I am to take a trolly out by Lombard street to the waterfront and see the harbor and the seals.
Since then, I’ve been carving my way through Final Fantasy 9 as I’m going back to play some of the older RPGs that I missed and remembering what I loved about the series. Feel free to drop your favorite Final Fantasy game in the comments.
Mike – Creative Director
Time flew by this month. We have several assets in flight right now, all of which still need to be kept under wraps. I’m proud of the team and their amazing work, and am really excited for things to come!
Nicole – Marketing Artist
This month has been pretty interesting. I helped Meredith with some social assets for We Happy Few, such as the Rose Society poster. Fun fact: the style of this poster is based off the cartoons produced by the United Productions of America.
I’ve also been working on developing some nice screenshots for We Happy Few, and looking around their wonderful environments to see what can really highlight what an interesting world it contains.
I hope everyone is having a nice Spring. See you next time!
Sean – Chief Bro/Web Designer
So I’ve been pretty busy, to say the least, doing a lot of stuff that I can’t really talk about, along with some stuff that I CAN talk about.
So first – still keeping it onehunnid on the automation and quality of life front. This includes standardizing file structures for projects, creating base/starting templates for all of our projects so that we can get going with as little ramp up time as possible, and overall standardizing our workflow proceeses (brocesses).
The main reason for this is that a lot of the “get going” part of arting/wording/boxing/etc’ing is some garbage, so, I’m doing what I can to try to eliminate as much of that as possible. Prime example – whenever we have to show what’s called a “Pack Shot Mockup” (ie this is what the game box is basically going to look like in the different game cases), we’ve had to manually create all of those. This includes placing the background art correctly, publisher and developer logos correctly, making sure we have the right rating, etc. We then have to take it for the 3d/perspective version for each platform and make sure that it looks correct and that all of the platform versions all look like they’re in the same space, same perspective, etc. It’s a bit involved to say the least, however in order to help speed things up I’ve gone through and made it so that we have a set of templates pulling from a single front and spine image, and all of the sizing/perspectiving just…happens. It’s things like this that help us to spend as little time on the small stuff that isn’t REALLY art or creative, so that we CAN spend more time on the creative.
I’ve also gone ahead and spent quite a lot of time working in VR, learning the learnings as Steve puts it, for our Penn and Teller VR project. I’m looking forward to everyone getting a chance to see everything that we’re working on with that – it’s a really unique project, and as someone who geeks out over Magic and VR, it’s a lot of fun to play around with all of that.
Jon – User Research Manager Michelle – User Research Analyst Kyle – Senior User Research Analyst
Hi, everyone! The User Research Team has had a very busy month! We tested multiple projects this month in our User Research Facility (i.e. the lab), including We Happy Few. In addition, we attended the annual Games User Research Summit in San Francisco.
Our We Happy Few playtest this month focused on new player onboarding during the first few hours of gameplay, as opposed to the much longer testing we conducted back in February (more on that kind of testing in a moment). The test itself went very well, and we collected a great deal of data from our participants about the introductory sections of the game. The team compiled a report, and we discussed the results from this user test with our partners at Compulsion earlier this week.
Last week the team traveled to San Francisco (cue the Full House theme song and plenty of references to The Room) for the annual Games User Research (GUR) Summit; our colleagues from studios across the world gather each year to discuss issues and topics related to user testing and games research.
The summit’s theme this year was on building a larger community within Games User Research; indie games, board games, mobile, and PC games were given a nice share of the presentation landscape this year. We are looking forward to submitting a presentation proposal regarding user research on We Happy Few for next year’s summit! (You can watch our 2017 Summit presentation – given jointly with our colleague at id Software – here)
The team is now gearing up for more long-form intern playtesting scheduled for the middle of April. We are working with Compulsion to finalize details regarding the scope of content for these playtests. More on that next month!
Gearbox Publishing User Research Team