Have you ever wondered what kind of people work in your favorite game companies? What kinds of things they like, where they come from, and what they do? Well, wonder no longer. The KC2 Community Team has sat down and taken a stab at a few of the questions you may be dying to hear the answer to. Well, maybe not dying, but, you know, weíre interesting. Totally!
So without further ado, letís get started with the interviews:
1. What did you do before SEGA, and how did you get here?
LordDullahan: I kicked off my gaming career as a game tester at Vivendi Games. From there I worked my way into an Assistant Community Manager role at Sierra Online and worked on several XBLA/PSN titles, as well as a MMORPG sports game called FreeStyle Street Basketball. Moving on as a Community Manager, I headed up an online MMO for a successful toy property called Bakugan, then went to THQ to head up the MX vs ATV series, and then finally landed at SEGA. Love it here!
Yonanashi: I started in the game industry as an Assistant Manager for EB Games, followed by my first testing job at Konami. Not too long after I started at SEGA, and itís been my home for almost 6 years.
Atavist: Iím actually relatively new to the gaming industry. I moved to California in early 2011, and started working with the Community Team at Paragon Studios, the makers of City of Heroes (and later City of Heroes Freedom). Unfortunately, the studio closed down, and now Iím at SEGA! Before working in gaming, I did some education and volunteer work (sometimes both at the same time) in China, New York (at a prison), and at Science Fiction and Anime conventions.
2. What are your goals, now that youíre at SEGA?
LordDullahan: To take amazing games to market and create dedicated, engaging communities around them. Sure, that may seem like a cookie cutter answer, but Iím quite passionate about community management!
Yonanashi: To simply stay involved in the gaming industry as long as possible, as I canít imagine being in any other field yet.
Atavist: WORLD DOMINATION! Okay probably not (or if so, I wouldnít tell you). Honestly, I just really love games and working on games. I want to work on great games that people love, and that make an impact on their lives. It sounds naÔve and idealistic, I guess, but thatís the truth.
3. What is your perspective on gaming communities, especially those surrounding mobile/digital gaming?
LordDullahan: Honestly, communities surrounding games, whether itís a huge title or a small cult hit, are what fuels a gameís longevity and success. I completely recognize the power and impact loyal players have on a title, and how we need to listen to these groups of people to make a better, more enjoyable experience for the games we produce. Without you guys we wouldnít be here. So, I do everything I can to make you feel valued, appreciated, and integrate your feedback into new updates and promotions.
Yonanashi: Communities are highly valued and powerful; alone they can make or break a franchise. Weíre entering a new era of strong casual gamers and more games on multi-purpose devices, so itíd intriguing to see where the digital road takes gaming.
Atavist: I think communities are what make games great. You can have an awesome game, and awesome developers, and awesome publishers, but if the players arenít there, playing the game, then the game wonít get anywhere. That might sound obvious, but I think that great communities, who are passionate about the games they play and about making those game better, can be the greatest positive motivator for people whose life it is to make games. Even when people are upset about something in a game, I remember what it was like to be ďjust a gamerĒ (as opposed to seeing both sides), and how when I was upset about something, it was really because I cared a great deal about the game and what it was.
4. What exactly is it that each of you do at SEGA?
LordDullahan: Two words Ė Community Manager. What does that mean? In a nutshell, I am the liaison between you, our players, and our development teams, including Marketing, PR, and Operations. I like to think of my role as a two way street. I take all of your feedback and concerns and voice them to our internal teams to make a better game experience. I also relay all game updates, issues, promotions, etc. to you so you are well-versed with whatís going on.
Yonanashi: A little bit of everything- playing/testing games, interacting with the community, assisting with Customer Support and Community related events, and market research- this role allows us to wear many different hats for each title weíre on.
Atavist: All sorts of things! Iím sort of the resident expert on KC2 (although some of you guys definitely put me to shame), and people come to me when they want to know more about whatís going on in the game, or in the community. I work with Marketing, Developers, Localization, and Customer Service to make sure that the game runs smoothly, and that everyone understands what the players want, and what theyíre saying. Basically, Iím a representative of the players inside SEGA.
5. You all work at a game company, and you obviously like games, so what do you think a good game should be like?
Yonanashi: It should have a captivating story with unique, likeable characters that we can somewhat relate to. Also, it should be a game that keeps the player consistently in its own world.
Atavist: I think the best games are the ones that make you think. Whether itís because you need to come up with strategies in KC2, or dealing with philosophical and moral/ethical questions in a Role-Playing Game, itís another form of art to me, and I think the best art is the art that makes you question your assumptions, and learn something new or think of something youíve never thought of before.
LordDullahan: I love how Yonanashiís and Atavistís answers are so proper, haha. My ultimate game would consist of the following: devastating firearms, fast exotic cars, mega explosions, babes, incredible soundtrack consisting of metal, hip hop, punk, and other angsty genres, and a game mechanic that allows me to own my friends and talk trash while doing it. Wait, there are a tons of games out there like thatÖ
6. Whatís your favorite video game, and why? Letís leave SEGA games aside, for now, since we know all your real favorite games are SEGA games.
LordDullahan: Iím a huge gear head, so anything racing usually does the trick. However, I have a huge knack for Excitebike on NES. I grew up riding dirt bikes, still ride regularly. This game pays homage to the culture!
Yonanashi: My favorite franchise is Phoenix Wright, including Apollo Justice and Ace Attorney Investigations. Itís such a quirky genre- who knew it could be so much fun being a defense lawyer? All of the characters are crazy and lovable in their own ways, and it was superbly localized for us westerners.
Atavist: My favorite game? Gosh, thatís a hard one. Itís probably a toss-up between Mass Effect and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Iím a big sci-fi fan, always have been, and Cyberpunk is a similar genre that I really enjoy. I think these games really capture what I think a game should be. Sleeping Dogs is also a really great game. While it isnít Science Fiction, I think it takes story-telling very seriously, and really does justice to the Hong Kong action cinema to boot.
7. Outside of gaming and work, what do you like to do?
LordDullahan: Outside of barking at my TV over a game and throwing down crazy hours at SEGA, I love to be outdoors Ė motocross, camping, survivalism, hiking, mountain biking. I also like to play my acoustic guitar at open mic nights. Itís great to get a good jam in!
Yonanashi: Cosplay, play with my cat, and take naps.
Atavist: I like playing Ultimate Frisbee and riding my bike. I live right by the San Francisco Bay, and I love riding along that path, or just sitting on a bench and looking at the water and the birds. Iím also a big fan of reading. Mostly Science Fiction, but oddly enough my favorite book is Pride & Prejudice.
8. If you could play hookie and do anything in the world, what would you be?
LordDullahan: Hmm, if I could play hookie from the responsibilities of life I would travel the world. No, not in some lame touristy fashion, but rather visit each country and stay several weeks in a remote town to really capture the various lifestyles and cultures.
Yonanashi: I would make my way to Odaiba island and attempt to pilot the 1:1 scale Gundam.
Atavist: Iíd be a space explorer. Itíd probably be boring a lot, but Iíd love to see what the universe is like, and what kinds of worlds are out there. Hm, I guess thatís not really ďanything in the worldĒ, but I donít care.
9. Whatís the meaning of life? (42 doesnít count as an answer!)
LordDullahan: Video games, music, dirt bikes, and food. Thatís all I need. Done.
Yonanashi: To accept the things you cannot change; courage to change the things you can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Atavist: To have fun and be happy. Do the things you love doing, and be with the people you love, and then I donít think youíll have much to regret in life. Also, 42.
10. Favorite KC2 Monster Card and Class?
LordDullahan: If you havenít figured it out already, I like me some Dullahan. He is one bad dude! I dominate with him. Class, Iím a fan of Ninja Ė sheís nimble and deadly.
Yonanashi: My favorite Monster Card is Lorelei, because she greatly resembles Ariel from The Little Mermaid. For battle, I like Manticore for its strong Attacks. It also resembles Mufasa from The Lion King, so there is still a running theme. My favorite Class to play is Warrior, as his offense is the strongest. Heís pretty slow, but once you get the hang of blocking attacks at the right time, heís great in the Dungeons.
Atavist: So far, I think Sabertooth Tiger is my favorite Monster Card. I think the art is really cool, itís got pretty good stats, and its ability is great. As far as my favorite class is concerned, Iíd say it has to be the Saint. I really enjoy playing support roles in games, so if you give me healing spells, Iíll be totally set. On top of that, sheís got some really good utility damage spells. Sheís just a joy to play as.
We hope youíve enjoyed learning about the team that mans the frontlines and provides regular updates with whatís going on with Kingdom Conquest 2. Game on!
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