game, game. repeat.

On the Phone With Craig Alexander

Mon 10 November 2003

Just got back from the gym when I noticed Craig Alexander had left a message. John had told me he was the next person I would talk to at EAP, but I didnt know when I would hear from him. I guess today. :) I just missed him by about 15 minutes so I called back and we started things off with me offering a little background on myself.

Tell Me a Little About Yourself

“I like making things,” is my lead in to tell about how I started programming sometime around 8 years old, I played with Legos, I rewired the electrical in my house, and I’ve helped start 3 companies to date. Craig then tells me about what EAP does, how studio production is different (EAP often gets to see new IP first, for one), and how production might be a better fit for my interests than the DD role, since I want to expand my emphasis on the creative side of things.

He asked what genre I like best and my answer was RPG, with the caveat that what I really love is immersion, a rich story world, a compelling plot, and characters that I care about. While RPG is the genre where these attributes tend to be emphasized, I’ve found immersive games in FPS (System Shock 2, Half-Life, Alice), RTS (Homeworld), and other genreI really am more interested in immersion as a design goal than what genre it’s applied to. Then he asked about what I’m playing now, and which games I’ve finished recently. I’m playing SSX3, Fatal Frame, and Vice City. I recently finished Homeworld 2 and Alice.

So You Said You Like Homeworld

Craig told me that Homeworld didnt sell well, and he asked me why I think that might be the case. Uh…I thought it sold well, it got good reviews, I thought to myself. Hmm. I took a stab and said that there was a bit of a barrier to learning the game, it requires a time investment, so maybe it appealed to the enthusiast more than the mainstream player. And maybe it didnt have the right mix of marketing and promotion? I got the official answer from him later in the conversation: interface was too complicated for the mass market and the sci-fi epic is on a down-cycle. I think he cheated though; he actually has the PC Data reports. ;)

We talked a bunch more–Craig kept me on my toes! I asked him a bunch of question about the industry and he had some really great, informative answers. I can tell I would learn a ton by working with him. He said that he appreciated my enthusiasm for the industry and EA specifically and that he felt I should meet some people on his team in person soon and see how we got along. Yes! I’ve landed my first official in-person interview at EA. :)