Q: Hey Ryan, what's your title and what do you do at Snowblind Studios?
A: My title is the Studio Head of Snowblind. In the past (before acquisition) I had various jobs depending on when in the company's history you are talking about, from doing game programming, level and game design on Dark Alliance, to pitching projects to publishers and helping grow the company. Currently I'm settling into my new role within WB Games as Studio Head. Traditionally, I've had more of an interest in the creative side of the business, I like focusing on the nitty gritty of game design rather than process & management, and that is an area I hope to focus on in the future.
Q. Can you tell us how Snowblind Studios got started?
A: We started Snowblind in 1997. Many of the initial core people had worked together at two local companies: BOSS Game Studios and Lobotomy Software. This initial group of six people first developed some racing titles for KEMCO in the Top Gear series. The first one was developed in 8 months from scratch!
After finishing two racing games we got the chance to develop something that was far more up our alley. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance was developed by a team that ranged from 9-12 people over an 18 month period. Since that time we've been developing a series of cooperative action RPG's set in various licensed universes. The action RPG genre on console is what Snowblind has come to be known for. We feel it's very important to always have a cooperative element to our games. It's something we want to continue going forward in all of our games.
Q. What have been the biggest challenges for the company over the years?
A. The biggest challenge for the company over the years was staying in business! Independent developers are always pitching games to publishers. It's quite a struggle to be in crunch finishing a game but also have to be coming up with the concept for your next project as well as pitching it. As next generation team sizes increased and production budgets skyrocketed it became extremely difficult to stay independent. Your company is always one missed milestone from going out of business. Now as a part Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, we have a much stronger structure and we're able to grow in new ways. This is critical when you have a big team.