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Satirizing game development proves therapeutic for ex-AAA indies
Satirizing game development proves therapeutic for ex-AAA indies
August 20, 2014 | By Alex Wawro




"It's therapeutic in that there's a designer and a writer that live in my head, and they actually wanna throttle each other on a daily basis. And the idea of letting those voices be embodied by different characters it's liberating."
- Jordan Thomas explains the appeal of making a game that satirizes game development.

Back in 2013, Bioshock 2 creative lead Jordan Thomas left 2K Marin to found the indie studio Question, LLC. with fellow Irrational expat Stephen Alexander.

They've since added Dishonored AI programmer Kain Shin to the team, and in a new Polygon feature Thomas shares some interesting insight into the development of their debut game -- The Magic Circle.

The game contains "stylized versions of experiences all of us have had across the many studios we've worked for," says Thomas, and that offers players a window into what it's like to be a game developer.

"Every single day I wonder how much of this game is strangely osmotic with journalism," Thomas told Polygon. "I hope that people who know very little about the game industry will come out the other side knowing more of what it might be like to make one."

The Magic Circle is a game about the experience of being trapped inside a game that is itself trapped in development hell. Thomas claims it's meant to lampoon game development in general and his own failings at it, rather than any of his former projects or comrades.

"BioShock 2 is definitely where I earned my right to pen a script about failure," said Thomas. "There were many, many things I wanted that didn't happen; many, many regrets I had, certainly, about the way that I managed as a rookie director. And if I imagine that multiplied over 20 years, it gets to a comic place."

The full story is worth reading on Polygon's website, as it includes more intriguing anecdotes from Thomas about his work at Irrational and his experience entering indie development.

If you'd like to learn more about the design and development of The Magic Circle, check out the interview with Thomas and Alexander that we ran back in June.


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