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.Read More
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!
It’s a strange thing, standing in front of a class almost immediately after graduating. It felt odd, since all of my colleges were at least ten years older and had way more experience in their work. They just kicked me in front of a combined class, assuming I would explain those thirty-or-so people how to design a game. I never followed any sort of didactic training, neither did I have a masters diploma like all my colleges have. And what made it even weirder is that I look super young, being just five years older than most of my students. I could see them looking at me, asking themselves whether if I was really their teacher or not. Of course I was nervous. But I just did it. And who needs a didactic training anyways, when you simply love teaching? I became less nervous. My class learned. I loved it, and so did they (I hope).
It’s been half a year already since I last updated my blog. I’ve been very busy working at Digital Dreams for the last five months. And in less than a month time I will be graduated with my bachelor’s degree. It’s weird to realize that I won’t be a student anymore. But on the other side, it feels like I’m already past the student phase in a way. Not because of the lack of parties (there is no such thing) but as a side effect of doing my graduation within a game company I guess. It’s like living the student life and being professional at the same time.
I wish I could stay at Digital Dreams for a bit longer. I’ve learned so much there and worked on two awesome projects. I also wish I could put all my work online that I did there, but there are some strict NDA’s that prevent me from doing that just yet. Since it’s a bit unclear how long I can stay at the company, I should keep my eyes open for work. (Disclaimer: the image on the right is a screenshot from Metrico, previously developed by Digital Dreams) Read More