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Laralyn McWillams's Blog   Expert Blogs


Laralyn McWilliams has designed and helped build award-winning social, strategy, simulation, platform, brawler, FPS, and massively multiplayer online games. She was Creative Director for the ground-breaking MMO Free Realms at Sony Online Entertainment, which the New York Times called “a triumph of the company’s own reinvention.” She was also lead designer for the critically acclaimed Full Spectrum Warrior, which was the most nominated game of E3 2003.

She shared the top spot in Massive Online Gaming’s 2010 list of the Top 20 Most Influential People in MMOs. She was also on Beckett’s list of the top women in MMOs for 2010, and one of Gamasutra’s 20 most influential women in games in 2008. She’s a frequent speaker on systems design, casual game progression, the use of metrics in the design and operation of live game services, and the importance of considering the player's experience.

She's currently Chief Creative Officer at The Workshop Entertainment.


Expert Blogs

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 01:15:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet
What does turning fifty in game development mean to me? I canít imagine a life that doesnít involve making games. Over the years, Iíve grown and changed--and Iím nowhere near done yet. As an industry, we can grow and change too.

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Wed, 11 Feb 2015 03:39:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
Diversity helps contribute to the success of our games and to the success of our studios. It helps build more creative teams, able to more efficiently solve more complex and varied problems. This isn't speculation: it's backed by research.

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Fri, 19 Dec 2014 01:27:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Design, Indie
I think every game designer who's been around for a while gets the hitmaker urge. We swim in the commercial sea--our careers can easily become all about surviving wave after wave of "progress." Sometimes we lose sight of the simple joy in creation.

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Wed, 17 Dec 2014 02:16:00 EST in Design, Console/PC
In no particular order, here are my top five favorite games for 2014!

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Fri, 05 Dec 2014 02:54:00 EST in
We can all change. Sometimes it takes an event we'd never want and pain we wouldn't wish on anyone to drive that change.

Posted by Laralyn McWillams on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 02:24:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Design, Production, Console/PC, Social/Online
It's World of Warcraft's tenth anniversary! The game has remained so popular (and profitable) not just because the team working on it is talented and dedicated, but also because they're not afraid of change.

Laralyn McWillams's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 02/11/2015 - 03:39]

I would give an all-woman ...

I would give an all-woman dev team the same advice: aim for diversity because it drives success. r n r nThe success of any team is a combination of its team members. I 'm sure there are all-women teams who can out-perform teams that are all men. I 'm sure ...

Comment In: [Blog - 10/30/2014 - 03:49]

As the writer of the ...

As the writer of the blog post, and also the person who wrote the title, I can assure you it isn 't flame bait. It reflects discussions I 've been having with my colleagues for several years now. I 'm not a journalist--I 'm a developer.

Comment In: [Blog - 12/19/2014 - 01:27]

Yes, extremely rare. Most I ...

Yes, extremely rare. Most I used to think ALL game companies put employees under both an IP ownership agreement meaning they own all your ideas and creations, often even those created away from work and a broad non-compete agreement during employment meaning you can 't publish anything game-related .

Comment In: [News - 12/16/2014 - 04:04]

There are some differentiating categories ...

There are some differentiating categories to be sure: sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, etc. It 's difficult for someone not in the situation to assess what 's a casual remark and what 's not, just like it 's difficult for someone not in the situation to understand the context of the ...

Comment In: [News - 12/11/2014 - 05:23]

Are you saying that about ...

Are you saying that about Brianna and Zoe, or about the women mentioned in this article

Comment In: [Feature - 03/11/2013 - 09:35]

Yes, it is. Head and ...

Yes, it is. Head and neck radiation has other long-term effects too, like changing the structure of the jaw bone so it no longer heals itself. The side effects are manageable, though, and far better than the alternative treatment because there isn 't one... yet . :-