I joined for another Guerrilla live stream this week, this time to talk about the content that I worked on for the Burning Shores DLC of Horizon Forbidden West. I was joined by Senior Writer Emil Cholich, Senior Community Manager Narae Lee and the lovely Horizon fan community over Twitch. We talked about the collaboration between design and writing for the Relic Ruin and Side Quest and had a lot of fun messing around in the game while doing so. The stream might be a bit more chaotic than the previous one, but we do again share some interesting insights in the development of the content (and reveal eater eggs!), so I hope you enjoy watching.
Even though there are still terrible things going on in the world, 2022 also brought us a glimmer of hope. The pandemic has seemingly come to a halt in Europe, which gave me the opportunity to partially return to an office environment and work alongside very talented people in person again. Without lockdowns in place, I was also able to attend concerts again and even fall in love with a lovely young lady who I met at a Foals gig. She introduced me to the wonderful world of boardgame conventions, where I bought some new stuff (see picture) that snowballed my hobby even further out of hand. And speaking of games, we’ve released Horizon Forbidden West this year; the biggest title that I’ve worked on in my career so far. I’m very proud of the puzzles that I designed for the game, which also resulted in my promotion to a senior game designer at Guerrilla. And last but not least, I hosted a small music festival in my back yard and started learning to drive a car this year, a skill that I thought might be useful after ignoring it for 32 years. And it’s going pretty well so far!
Summarizing it all, makes me realize that 2022 was actually a great year for me. And I’m sure that 2023 will be another one! With the recent announcement of the Burning Shores DLC for Horizon Forbidden West, I’m sure you can imagine my excitement for what’s to come. But before looking forward, let’s keep my tradition in place and look back with a couple of top lists for 2022.
I participated in Guerrilla’s live stream last week, and played through the Relic Ruins that I’ve designed for Horizon Forbidden West. I was joined by Guerrilla community manager Annie Lee and the Horizon fan community over Twitch, who asked me very interesting questions. It was so much fun to publicly talk about the design process, the challenges and the little Easter eggs that I’ve put in the game during the past four years of development. I hope you enjoy this playthrough and the behind-the-scenes commentary as much as I did giving it.
The internet is a fascinating place. Gaming with friends, ordering products online, connecting with family via social media, navigating the streets on your phone and searching the internet are just some of the things we do every day without thinking too much about it. You might hear a story in the news one day about a data breach or how Facebook needs to stand trial and you might have heard the name Edward Snowden pop up once or twice. Typically in the context of internet privacy or the lack thereof. But despite the dangers of online privacy, most people tend to stick with the comfortable and ignore those dangers.
The same goes for me, I’ve been using some of Facebook and Google’s comfortable products for over 15 years now without hesitation. But after reading more and more about how modern online advertising and big data collection works on the internet (I can highly recommend this Dutch book) and watching movies like The Social Dilemma and The Creepy Line (and in a way also the Snowden movie), I finally decided to change things. This is a story about why and how I’m achieving digital privacy. A story that might be relevant to you too.
2021 is coming to an end. Despite it being another year in a global pandemic where nothing really changes, some things actually have changed. I guess self-isolation triggers contemplation, which made me realize a two things. First of all, I decided to become a vegetarian (or at least call myself that; I was practically already eating plant-based food every day) after realizing how messed up we as human beings deal with out planet nowadays. And secondly, I decided to become more privacy-aware on the internet, after realizing how messed up we as human beings deal with out data nowadays. This is actually a very recent subject for everyone who works with computers or uses the internet in general, so I decided to write a blog post (or short thesis if you will) about it, which you might find interesting.
Besides becoming super woke on these subjects, nothing changed too much luckily. Me and my loved ones are still healthy and at work we are prepping an upcoming game release. That’s right, Horizon Forbidden West will be out on the 18th of February. This means 2022 will become a VERY exciting year. I’m very proud of it and can’t wait to see what everybody thinks of the work that me and my colleagues at Guerrilla put into it in the past four (and for some even more) years. But before we look forward too much, let’s look back one last time and see what cool stuff I’ve played and listened to in the past year. It’s a short one this time, but I don’t want to break traditions, so here are my top lists from 2021…Read More
Although 2021 already kicked off about a month ago, I thought it would still be worth it to write a blog post about what happened last year. 2020 was a tough one for most of us, with the covid-19 pandemic affecting everybody’s lives in one way or another. Luckily me and most of my loved ones managed to stay healthy thus far in the pandemic, but it still affected our everyday lives. Not seeing my family and friends in person for months and working from home for almost an entire calendar year are two main examples. And while I was always very skeptical about working remotely in the video game industry before, this pandemic actually taught me that it is not that bad at all. In some cases it’s even better than working in an office, especially regarding (the lack of) commute times, and I honestly hope (partially) working from home becomes a more common option in the industry post-pandemic.
All those video calls and less travelling even allowed me to start on a hobby project that has been in my mind for a while: an audio-driven exploration board game! Together with a good friend of mine, who happens to be a housemate who’s doing all the audio work, we spent four months (five hours a week) in this project already and 2021 will be the year were we get to playtest the game and see if we can get people excited about it. And it’s not the only new game with my name on it that will find it’s way to player’s hands, because Guerrilla is releasing the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn this year, which will be the third console title that I worked on that hits the shelves this year! That, and we’re going to beat this pandemic, I’m sure… Yeah 2021 is going to be very exciting!
Now let’s look at the best games, music and other things that got released in 2020…
I guess it’s really easy to forget that I have a hobby blog when I’m busy with life. The last time I’ve posted here was almost three years ago, back in January 2017. Today, I logged in to do the same thing as I did three years ago: recap on my year. But I guess I have a little bit more to write about now, since quite a lot has happened since the last time that I’ve logged in here. I basically switched jobs to Kucheza, an applied games company to train farmers in third world countries, and then switched back to working at Guerrilla Games after 1,5 years, since I missed working in the entertainment industry.
I learned a lot about setting up a framework for the Kucheza game in 2017 (I guess I could write a whole blog post about that, maybe I should do so one day) and had the chance to pitch my own design ideas for the upcoming Guerrilla project back in pre-production. I grew as a designer for sure, but I guess I cannot go in too much details yet, since the Guerrilla project is still unannounced at the time of writing this. Also, we’ve been talking to publishers for a new String Theory game (which is still being developed in secret) after the original String Theory webgames have been played over 1M+ times online. I’ve visted beautiful places like Bonaire, made a lot of friends and I met a very sweet girl who is now my girlfriend. Also, I’ve listed to a shitton of music, both live as well as on record.
Yeah I guess that’s kind of it. Now onto that 2019 recap.
We’ve just entered the new year. And here I am looking back at 2016. Yeah, I know, I’m late with my retrospective, since everybody already posted their top 10 lists, but I wanted to take some time to write this down. And there’s a good reason for it, because despite 2016 killing off quite some of our favorite actors and singers, last year also brought a lot of joy and cool stuff. So before looking ahead of the awesome things that 2017 will bring, I want to take a brief moment to look back at the highlights of 2016, since so much happened for me, Morphweasel and gaming in general.
Read more about these events and see my top 10 lists after the break.
Last year, I’ve been working with the talented guys from Digital Dreams to make amazing puzzles for Metrico+, an abstract puzzle adventure. And I’m delighted to share with you that Metrico+ is out NOW on both PlayStation 4 and Steam! The Xbox One release will follow shortly. You’ll find the release trailer and links to the PlayStation Store and Steam page below.
I’m honored to announce that I’ll be joining Guerrilla Games to work on Horizon: Zero Dawn, starting January. I’ve landed a job there as a game designer, were I’ll be working on my very first triple-A title coming exclusively for PlayStation 4. Exciting times!