Sunday, October 24, 2010

From 'Spank to Shank

If you happened to miss my announcement on Twitter, Friday was my last day at Hothead Games. It was a very amicable parting and I'm definitely going to miss my Hothead comrades. But they've got a tremendous amount of talent (believe me, Swarm is already fantastic and is only going to get better between now and its release early next year), so I think they're going to be alright.

What lured me away from the awesomeness of Hothead? I had accepted a position as Technical Designer at Klei Entertainment! For those unfamiliar, Klei most recently released Shank. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you've noticed I spend a lot of time thinking about design and creating novel experiences. I accepted the position with Klei because doing that is basically my mandate and I'll be leveraging my technical background to do so effectively.

This isn't the first time I've worked for Klei either. I actually worked for them in late '08 to early '09. But Klei has changed a lot as an organization since I was last there. When I was there initially, they were working on Sugar Rush, a free-to-play brawler for Nexon (the closure of Nexon's Vancouver studio is what precipitated having to leave Klei for Hothead originally). Now they've just released a digitally distributed game based on original IP they created and own. And the plan is to keep doing that. This is exactly the space I want to work in and the kind of organization I want to work with. I'm really excited about coming back to Klei and the kinds of things we'll be able to do together.

Coincidentally, exactly two years ago, I was doing this exact same thing: taking a week off to play the newest Fallout before starting a job at Klei. I think I'll probably make some time to make a game and do some reading, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to see much of the Mojave Wasteland this week. I haven't had any proper time off since my honeymoon in August '09, so I'm looking forward to a week of fewer obligations.

Finally, both DeathSpank and Shank are coming out on Steam tomorrow! If you haven't played either, there's a 15% off Steam package deal for both that should still be live if you're reading this early enough. I obviously can't speak for Shank, but we put a *lot* of work (way more than I thought we'd need to, honestly) into making the PC version of DeathSpank feel good. Genuinely native, not like some knock-off port. And the game looks damn good too, in my rather bias opinion. The pallet really pops at PC monitor resolution and the characters/environments scale up real nicely. I'm glad we can finally show off our awesome artist's work at the resolution it deserves. That's enough shilling (although it's not like I get any kickbacks now), but if you haven't had a chance to play DeathSpank yet, this is the version I'd recommend.

Thanks again to anyone who has taken the time to read this and I'm looking forward to putting some of these mad ramblings into action at Klei.

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Blogger Brett Douville said...

Good luck! I've enjoyed all the Hothead games thus far and look forward to your work at Klei.

October 25, 2010 at 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish you the best at Klei, and I hope both DeathSpank and Shank are released on PC in Europe soon!

October 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM  
Blogger Jason T said...

Congrats and good luck!

October 25, 2010 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Nels Anderson said...

@Brett Thank you! And needless to say, I'm looking forward to whatever you Maryland folks are brewing up now.

@Hugo Thanks! I believe both games should be available on Steam worldwide today =)

@Jason Thanks again!

October 26, 2010 at 11:12 PM  

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