On the afternoon/eve of the Mass Effect 3 launch, I had the opportunity to attend the event at EB Games Southgate here in Edmonton. As BioWare is a local company, they had their main launch at the EB Games which is the closest to their studio. I had the opportunity to be first in line, and later into the night there were hundreds of people packed into the mall. I was able to have some great discussions with BioWare employees who I’d been communicating with on Twitter and had talked with before in the past. I also had a chance to meet Ryan Warden, the Project Manager for Mass Effect 3. Him, as well as all the other BioWare employees I got to meet were extremely nice and passionate about their work.
After playing Mass Effect 3, with 100% Galactic Readiness and all side missions completed, I was in awe at how amazing of a game I had experienced. Also, I didn’t even mind the ending, in fact, I thought it was a pretty epic one at that. All the cinematics, the gameplay, and the very feel to the game were dramatically improved from its predecessors, propelling ME3 into the best game of 2012, and my personal favourite of all time. It seems that with each installment of a game, BioWare seems to input a greater depth of story and additional intricacies into every aspect of the game. The artistic integrity and the procedural elements that flow together seamlessly foster a sense inspiration, aiding me in understanding the scope to which games can offer to end users.
Each level I played, I couldn’t help but stare in every direction, admiring the beauty of the environments, the uniqueness to each one, and the background to which it fit within the story. The amount of detail in every area was astounding, so much so that my goal wouldn’t just be to shoot the enemies to progress in story, but to have uninterrupted time to take mental note for future, personal implementation. This would allow me to have something to go off of when designing levels in the UDK, so that my game could share even partial similarity to the complexity of BioWare’s best creation yet. So far, my venture to break into the games industry is going well, and a new game I’m working on is starting to take shape. It’s W.I.P. is Project Blue, but more on that later.
Things were hard the past couple weeks, I’m not going to lie. Debating with myself on differing aspects of my resume, and trying to impress BioWarians without coming across as annoying. Despite the difficulties, I did end up getting my application sent through the couple employees I was in contact with. The people helping me were extremely nice, and I’m super appreciative of every effort they made to talk with me and help to make my ambitions a future reality.
I had learned that in order to get a job at BioWare, due to company policy, you do (unfortunately), need to be 18+. I was disappointed to learn this, and still had a glimmer of hope that maybe I could still acquire a job if my parents were to sign the contracts necessary in my stead. Turns out that contracts were not the only thing that were weighing me down from getting a job at BioWare. There are numerous activities that the employees partake in, both to relieve stress and improve the various qualities of their games. This often involves having dinner, sometimes catering, that involves the company owning a liquor license. And, in order to hold this license, the company cannot have any employees under the age of 18, for obvious reasons. So, due to the many policies (which are really there to make the employee’s life better), I cannot gain a job there until I’m 18.
However, I did end up having a phone call today with BioWare QA Team Lead Chris Buzon. We talked about the various reasons why I can’t get a job until I’m 18 (some of it the whole liquor license thing), and just to talk game development. It was really great, as this was the first time where I got to actually know beforehand that I’d be talking to a game developer and have an actual decent amount of time to talk (rather than on the spot for a couple minutes). It was a really great discussion, and I believe he got the “just” of my thoughts toward the industry. I was also able to compliment him and BioWare on their awesome games and just how much I loved Mass Effect. He said he was “flattered” and that he’d pass my compliments on to the designers. I think it’s only deserved, really, I mean I was absolutely stunned by the vastness of the Mass Effect universe and the absolutely stellar storytelling and balance between linear and open-world gameplay. I also love when people get recognition for their hard work. I’m super happy that I was at least able to make some sort of positive difference in someones day, how little or big it may be.
We also talked about the various things I should do to continue ensuring my application is flagged for viewing the next time I apply. He actually told me that my resume was well done and would meet the criteria for what he looks for in a resume, and the sort of resume he would “put in the good pile” for interview candidates. He said, “As it is, it wouldn’t really need to be changed.”. He said from the looks of it I’m already doing most of what I should be in order to appeal to them as a future employee. That was definitely encouraging! He talked about how when he views a resume, he marks down the ones where people have taken initiative in learning things, whether it be modelling, or learning an engine (and actually creating things of course). He said they’re definitely interested in people who not only are passionate, but interested in learning the things to do better at their job. He said it’s also good that I have a blog/site, because it can help me to understand the views and opinions from others, a skill required for the job. After all, being able to understand critique is essential, especially considering that not not every person will be fond of all elements present in the game, but in the bigger picture, will appeal to a greater audience of players.
We talked some more about various things, and I found I always had so much to say, I nearly had to gasp for breath every time I was finished talking (walking in circles a-midst this may have also played its’ role in that ). In general, I believe it was a really great conversation on both ends. Towards the end, he even said he would be disappointed if I didn’t apply again when I was able. I can’t explain how great him saying that felt. It was a massive boost in confidence and determination to continue my efforts within the games industry. I’m going to be staying in contact with him, and was told I can even ask for help if there’s something I’m stuck with trying to do in the UDK (as he said he has tons of team members who know it in and out). After this long talk, he informed me that he had to head off to a meeting (I also had stuff coming up as well), and I let him know how appreciative I was of everything they did for me. He said “No problem”, and that I can always drop him a line to talk some more. He was really nice, and it was really awesome to talk with him.
Chris Buzon, Derek Larke, and Jessica Merizan were all awesome! The folks at BioWare are like no others. They’re a special bunch of talented and creative individuals, who’re working as a team to create the best games known to date, constantly raising the bar with each and every release. I can’t wait to hopefully work for them when the time comes. I understand why the policies disallow anyone below 18, (even myself at less than a year younger than that), and I hope that once I apply in the future, they’ll see everything I have to offer. My journey to enter the game industry is a small step closer!
And with that, here’s my Steam signature! 65.5 hours of Mass effect in the past couple days, hehe.
So I just recently sent an email with my application for BioWare. Funnily enough, I actually had to resend my cover letter right afterwards as I accidentally sent a copy with a grammatically incorrect sentence. I forgot to include the word “to” in its’ respective position. Feel like an idiot for it, but it is what it is. On the flip side of things, I’m really eager to convey my ambitions with the folks at BioWare. I REALLY hope they’ll get back to me, and ask me for an interview. I think that if I get to the stage of an interview that I’ll do well in displaying my skills and aspirations.
Other than that, I don’t really have much to say. All there is at this point is to remain hopeful. I know for sure that sending a resume through a BioWarian will definitely make it noticed easier than if it were any other random application. I’m starting to replay the Mass Effect games so that it’s fresh in my mind if I were to get questions about it. I’m a fan of BioWare’s games, but I don’t know everything of the massive universe surrounding the ME series. If I get asked a bunch of questions about it, this will be my weak spot, but I believe in all other aspects of an interview I’m able to prove my worth.
But, this is all hypothetical on me getting an interview. I hope I do!
So today was the release of Gears of War 3, a highly anticipated title that any gamer in their right mind should know of. Last night, however, I happened to be lucky enough (after requesting), to get a shift for the midnight release of the game, working an 8 hour shift from 6PM – 2AM. Because I’m awake until this time on any normal day regardless, I thought it would be super cool to do the release. I’d done it for a couple games in the past, such as WOW: Cataclysm and COD: Black Ops. Each time it rocked.
Last nights was no different, as NOS + Amp + Rockstar = Super awesome rush. It was also great to see just how much energy there was in the crowd. Everyone, even after awaiting hours outside in the cool temperatures, were all super excited and joyful at their chance to get their hands on GOW 3. It was super fun to work the event, but the highlight of my night was meeting and talking with 1 customer. This guy came up to my till buying the sweet new Gears Xbox and happened to be wearing a beloved N7 hoodie. I commented on it, saying “Oh, nice sweatshirt!” He said “thanks” happily and I mentioned how I was actually hoping to get a job at BioWare soon. He asked what area I wanted to get a job in, and I replied “As a Quality Assurance Tester”. It was then that he mentioned, “Yeah, I work at BioWare.” I was like “Wow, awesome!” I mentioned how extremely passionate I was for games, and when I was wondering about getting in contact with, say, a QA Lead (so I wouldn’t be annoying calling the main line), he asked for my email.
Now, Maybe this is my chance. Maybe this could be the start of my dream career. Derek, you are awesome! It’s sure a small world, but hey, I guess I can never walk away from this city ever saying there was nothing good about it. BioWare is that Oasis within this frigid desert that is Edmonton, AB, and within that Oasis lies some of the worlds most creative and talented individuals, succeeding in spreading that piece of their Oasis all across this Earth. And with that, I couldn’t end it without a video, so once it’s finished uploading, I’ll show the super-awesome castle-esque design we had with the GOW 3 launch product. It was my idea to set it up this way.
Hello, my name is Michael. After many years of being here and there across the internet, and running various sites that appealed to my interest, I decided that I should start something that’s about me. After all, with writing up on gaming, and trying to stay active throughout a forum, it makes it somewhat difficult to talk about myself and my interests. I thought it would be interesting to have a sort of archive about myself, something I can look back upon in years and see, “huh, that’s what I was like.”
Now, while I may not be a complete robot, I don’t plan on having this as a site for me to vent everything bad that happens within my life. Sure, I can post some interesting things that happen to me, but I’d like to take the negatives and transform them into an entertaining tale with a hint of comedic value. I’ve decided that I’d like to “start afresh” as it will be, to actually create something where I can post videos that I make or ones that I stumble across. I could do written and/or video reviews and post them to here. Basically, I want something that both friends (internet and real), and randoms can read for their entertainment, or just, in general, to find out more about me.
So, now that we’ve got the just of what I plan to do with this blog, I think I’ll actually start writing about myself. I am a 17 year old Canadian from Edmonton, Alberta. My name is Michael Paton, and half of my family (everyone on my dads side) live in Australia [my dad excluded]. My greatest passions involve video games. Whether it be on Console, or on PC, I love them. I’m not a typical gamer, though. I hold a deep understanding and appreciation for the time and effort put into creating these games, these pieces of art that were so painstakingly created for the end user. It is my aspiration to work in this field, to be a part of this closed, and rewarding industry. For many years I have owned websites that have talked about them. I have loved developer and user-created content. The passion and determination I hold to get into this industry is unprecedented in terms of others my age. I may not be God, but I aspire to be, through creating that which remains stagnant with emptiness.
Part of my fascination with the industry is what it means to be a part of it. It’s about being in a group of like-minds; others who understand what it is to feel this connection with an innate energy towards a common goal. It’s about combining all entertainment mediums into a singular precipice to the deep and infinite world of the imagination. The stories that are told, the characters that are envisioned; the visceral and revitalizing feelings of emotion. All of this, and more, everything and anything that can be created into a masterpiece of awe-inspiring uniqueness. It is the love for visuals, audio, story, and interactivity, culminated into the #1 entertainment medium. The thought process for creating the underlying design, the physical process of turning that thought into a reality. This is but a few things that makes my thoughts spiral in every direction; that can help you to grasp my desire to be a part of it all.
The only place I could see myself working is within the games industry. And it is for that reason, in part, that I aim to share my journey of trials and tribulations, from aspirations – to hopeful employment within the games industry.
Now, all this is fine and dandy, but, “what about the hardware?”, you ask. I have worked and worked hard for my items. They have not been free tributes to my raw passion for the games industry. That being said, I am pretty content with what I currently have, and it is as follows:
Xbox 360 (along with an Xbox 360 Kinect Sensor)
Macbook Pro (for browsing on the go)
iPhone 4 (for being an expensive paperweight, that ALSO takes calls!)
White iPad 2 (in case I lose my other paperweight)
PC with an Intel i7 Core 950, Nvidia Geforce GTX 480 1.5GB card, 20GB DDR3 RAM (excessive, I know), 40GB SSD (for the OS), 1TB Primary HDD, 2TB Secondary HDD, running Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on a 27 inch 1920 x 1080 Asus Monitor;
using a Razer Lycosa Keyboard and DeathAddar mouse for my peripherals.
When it comes down to it, I’m a PC gamer at heart. If I can get it on PC, I do. But, there is also fun in playing on 360 or PS3 with friends who do not have the same capabilities that I have with my PC. And with the end of that mini novel, and short story about me, I’m off to go see Horrible Bosses with people for my friend’s birthday. However, for getting through my first post (or skipping, you jerk), I’ll leave you with a goodie of pure, extracted awesome. Enjoy.