Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Blum Developer and Project Leader for the game Insurgency 2
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Well first of all introduce yourself to our readers who don’t know who you are?
My name’s Jeremy Blum. I’m a 24-year-old game developer and project lead on Insurgency 2. I’m mostly self-taught. I started with level design, went on to 3d art and eventually to character animation and user interface design. I did this over the scope of two projects that I played an instrumental role in – Red Orchestra and Insurgency. After working at THQ’s Kaos Studios in New York the summer before college I knew I wanted to start my own company and had a bunch of talented people that wanted to work for me if I did. I went on to study Computer Science and History at the University of Vermont, mastering my game design skills and world knowledge while allowing the others to rack on years of experience at top game studios. It’s quite natural that New World Interactive is what happened as soon as I graduated. Since then I’ve been playing the role as founder and chief connector of the dots.
Its very nice to meet you Jeremy, can you tell us what made you want to get into the gaming industry, was there a particular game you played growing up that made you decide this is what I want to do for a living or maybe you enjoy working on computers?
I think “universe-creation” is such a complex and amazing thing. You can do so much with it, and it combines so many art forms. I wouldn’t say there was any particular game that made me want to work in the gaming industry. I think it was my experience working at THQ that made me realize working onsite with people in a creative environment much more appealing than for instance working at home in your grandma’s basement. The gratification of creating something that people like is what drives every game developer, small-time or big-time.
I would have to agree, working on site with a bunch of creative individuals is a lot better than having to work at home. So tell us a little bit of a background about your company New World Interactive; what was the motivation behind setting it up, how have you developed as a company since your launch and how did you come up with the company name?
I just wanted to create cool games that compete, and I knew I could put together a talented team capable of doing this. So I took out some loans and made it happen to the best of my ability. We started in New York but we later found ourselves migrating half way across the country. We made good friends with the IllFonic (http://www.illfonic.com) guys in Denver, and seeing as I used to live in Colorado and always wanted to move back, when Chuck Brungardt (CEO) offered us cheap studio space in their Denver office I jumped at the opportunity. I found myself driving across the country a few months later, ready to lay the foundation for NWI. Here we are a year later with a fun game and a great team, not to mention our own studio in downtown Denver.
The company name is a juxtaposition of how rapidly our world and markets are changing but how few are actually embracing it. We hope to keep our games relevant and conscious to the world around us.
I think a lot of game developers have the same passion as you,well I hope so or what is the point in going into such a creative industry that is the Games Industry, I would expect anyone that has the passion in creating any game would go that extra mile to achieve their goal. So on that note what’s a typical day in the office like?
We have two weekly meetings, but the rest of the week I encourage developers to work when they feel most creative or inspired. For some of us this is the normal 9-5 while others have demonstrated slightly nocturnal tendencies. The typical workday is 4-5 highly focused individuals in a big room, semi-frequent discussion, the occasional uproar of laughter, the random friend dropping by, and at least an hour of gaming whether it’s our game or studying others.
That sounds like a really relaxed environment and fun a perfect way to get your team inspired and get their creative juices flowing perfect. I understand that having worked on the scenes behind Insurgency, you are now designing Insurgency 2 from the ground up. How about giving us a little bit more info about Insurgency 2, what can gamers who back the game expect?
They can expect a really strong multiplayer experience. What we got is something that defies all odds in the sense that it feels realistic but it’s also fast paced and direct enough that it remains action-packed and highly competitive. We have a few cool game modes in the works including a head-on King of the Hill as well as a Convoy escort/ambush mode which will allow a nice contrast in game styles for different types of players.
Thats great to hear the followers of the original will love Insurgency 2 with all the new Multiplayer options you will be adding, but most of all, I hope you will intend on keeping the game updated with new DLC to keep gamers interested. So what have been your biggest challenges so far in building the game from the ground up?
Probably just how under-staffed we are. It’s been about 11 months now and we’ve made great progress, but there are only so many environments you can create with one level designer and one environment artist. We’ve just recently added on another one of each to the team and it’s already made a huge difference. It makes me wonder how far along we’d be if we had more staff earlier on.
Well I hope you still achieve your goals and bring to light the game we all expect, Please in one sentence say why you think visitors to our site should go out and fund the game’s Kickstarter.
You should help fund Insurgency 2 because it’s the reincarnation of a popular Half-Life 2 mod that was developed by passionate mod developers in their spare time without any pay. Our team all has this background, of doing things in our spare time for nothing at all, just the mere gratification of people playing what we create. You can’t do this forever though when you’re trying to support yourself, have a family, or whatever.
So basiclly if you loved Insurgency the Popular half Life 2 mod and you wish to see a reincarnation the go and pledge you money. So what your plans after finishing this project, what’s going to be next for yourself and New World Interactive? Do you have more work lined up for the future or will you be taking a break?
We hope to make many subsequent games. We hope to go back and forth between smaller Source Engine games and more expansive CryENGINE ones.
I have tom admit for me I would love to see a game developed on the CryENGINE, I am a huge fan of Crysis, so keep us updated. Also as you may or may not know, Invision Game Community is powered by students and they’re a big part of our audience, so what advice would you give to budding young students wanting to get into the industry?
Don’t let the textbooks guide you. When you’re applying to a job in the industry it’s all about how you apply your skills. Portfolio is much more important than resume.
There you have it another bit of advice from another accomplished games developer, Now for the final question; if you could eat dinner with one computer game character who would it be?
I wouldn’t even know where to start.