F84 Games’ Sean McNamara on why teamwork matters, where passion can take you and how he ended up pitching to comic book legend Stan Lee
What is your job role?
I oversee the creation of games from concept to release. It is my responsibility to ensure that every aspect of our games that players come into contact with aligns with the overall vision for the project and to communicate this vision to the rest of the team.
Working in an indie studio like F84 means that I also do a lot of the hands-on design work and make a majority of the choices regarding how our games will look and play.
What qualifications do you need?
For game design in particular, an understanding of what makes a game fun for your target audience is important.
Great writing and communication skills are necessary too, as the job often requires creating documentation that clearly defines the different rules and mechanics that will be in the game.
In addition, the ability to work in a team environment is critical. You are required to constantly collaborate with every department on the dev team as the game goes through production.
How would someone come to be in your position?
There are a number of ways to pursue a career in game design.
In my case I went to art school, worked relentlessly to build my portfolio, and eventually landed an internship working on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
From there, I worked on an Unreal 3 mod at school that I was able to showcase at my portfolio show.
My boss and CEO of F84, Jeff Hardy, got to play the mod. A week later, Jeff offered me a position working on Man vs. Wild, and I have been working here at the studio ever since.
"Game design is awesome. You get to think up whole worlds in your head and then realise them."
Sean McNamara, F84 Games
If you were interviewing someone, what would you look for?
Someone who is confident in his knowledge of all things game-related; can the applicant clearly articulate what their favourite mechanic of their favourite game is?
Someone who can fit into our team environment is vital as well, as the work space here at F84 is fast-paced and extremely demanding.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
Design can also lead to different departments such as production or even engineering. It really comes down to what you are passionate about.
Why choose to follow a career in your field?
Game design is awesome. You get to think up whole worlds in your head and then realise them.
For Stan Lee’s Hero Command, I got to help develop a brand new hero adventure featuring three original hero characters – and then pitch the idea to the legendary comic book icon himself.