ZackBellGains #11

Hello world,

I hope that you are making the most of your day! If you are reading this, you have likely been waiting for this entry for a few weeks. Perhaps you have even heard a few rumors about me going to work for this or that studio. I want to take a few minutes to discuss what I have been going through over the past ~two months and then conclude with my decision(s) regarding work moving forward. Thank you all so much for your patience and support!

I drove back up to Washington a month or so back because I was approached by a few directors of teams that I admire, as well as a recruiter. I signed a ton of NDAs involving the interview material and the offers that were made, so instead I will speak only about companies that either I had contacted or that had contacted me. I won’t directly say whether or not they made offers or what those offers were. You can presume that yes, I had offers to work at/with one or more of the following businesses: Microsoft, Amazon, Bungie, Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch, Gearbox, Pokemon Company, Sketchfab, and YoYo Games. I have spoken to at least one employee from each of these entities over the past few months and I was quite excited by the result of some of them!

The idea of transitioning from an indie to a AAA developer isn’t something that I had serious considered in the past, but the more that I ponderedĀ the opportunities that had arrived, the more excited I was by the prospect. Hell, this journey even got me back into playing games again. I don’t play games too often these days, but I played A LOT of Destiny during the past month or so. I played through Uncharted 4 again, and explored the multiplayer content for the first time. I had a lot of fun and it sort of revitalized my love of games. If anything, this was opening my eyes to new ideas, creative combinations of genres, and away from my typical knee jerk to begin another 2D platformer.

However, there’s a catch. There’s always a catch. Most of these job offers come at the price of a strong-arm non-compete clause and your soul. During the first few weeks, that was ok with me. I would have been more than happy to jump into a big project with a big team and let Spaceboy Games fall out behind me, but this application process had me playing games and had me excited about games again. I have new ideas and I want to make them!

On the other hand, I have my ongoing collaboration with Amazon. I am soon going to be announcing some written content that is being funded by my pals at Amazon. I am incredibly happy to be doing that work, but some of the non-competes would have prevented it! The more I work and the more we discuss details, the more it seems like this collaboration will be lasting much longer than this initial project.

The bottom line is that my current set of collaborators will likely be enough to keep me afloat for 6+ months rather than the initial 1-2 months that I had signed up for. This means that I will likely be able to continue with my independent games work throughout the next year or so. Longer if any of the projects released during that time span perform well!

So what does all of this mean for today? Not a lot, to be honest, and it isn’t quite as exciting as revealing that I am going to be working on a AAA franchise or a household name. It does mean that I am back. It means that I am going to be pouring all of my time into content. It means that I am going to be preparing Patreon content. It means that I am going to be scripting assets for the GameMaker Marketplace. It means that I am going to be practicing and showcasing my pixel art and animation progress. It means that I am going to be writing books about my development process and past projects. It means that I am going to be making games. It means that things are good.

Thank you,

ZackBellGains #11

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