What Powerful Video Game Developers Dream Of — Literally

Does “Rock Band” mastermind Alex Rigopulos see a cascade of colored lights in his sleep?

Does “Gears of War” creator Cliff Bleszinski hear snoring that makes him dream he’s wielding a Lancer chainsaw?

Does “Burnout” architect Alex Ward dream that his car has flipped?

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Patrick and I asked a few game developers how their work in the gaming industry affects their dreams. We heard back from creators behind “Fable II,” “Mirror’s Edge” and “Alone In The Dark” as well as from one game-crazy p.r. man.

Here are their gaming-affected dreams. Brace yourself:

The gaming dreams of Tom Farrer, producer of EA’s “Mirror’s Edge” [via phone]

“… And then comes the dreaming. When you’re working on something for years and years, it sort of works its way into your subconscious and pops up in your dreams all the time.

“I’m going to regret this, aren’t I? I did have one dream where I woke up and was heading out to work — I hadn’t left the apartment — and I was dressed as [’Mirror’s Edge’ heroine] Faith. I think that’s the weirdest one that I have. I remember on ’Battlefield’ dreaming that I was in one of the maps and under fire from snipers — which is probably where the project was at at the time.”


The gaming dreams of Peter Molyneux, head of Lionhead Studios, makers of “Fable II” [via e-mail]

“During the time we were developing ’Fable 2′ I had quite a lot of dreams. Some about the lower moral characters in Albion — probably best not to go into details! Quite a lot about being lost in Albion which is probably more about development process I suspect and one where I had a pet Balverine!”


The early-90’s gaming dreams of Chris Kramer, current public relations manager at Capcom, U.S.A. [via instant message]

“I played a lot of the original ’Warcraft.’ It got to the point where I would have these dreams where my town was being attacked and my peons were being slaughtered, but I was unable to control my units. Very stressful! I’d actually wake up from these dreams talking out loud, which would either wake me up or (more importantly) the very, very patient woman who is now my wife. After the third or fourth time this happened, there were some rules made in the house about length of time spent playing ’WC’ and what time it had to be shut off.”


The gaming dreams of Emile Morel, game designer at Eden Games for Atari’s “Alone In The Dark” [via e-mail]

“When you work on a video game you start having a lot of weird dreams, especially in crunch period, when you literally work all day. Sleep becomes the only moment you have for yourself, away from work. The problem is that when you work a lot, sleep sometimes loses its relaxing abilities, and you basically end up working even when you sleep, your brain just can’t stop working.

“That happened to me on ’Alone in the Dark’ when I was working on the monsters of the game. I spent a lot of time working on all the monsters in the game, setting and tuning them, to make sure they would always behave correctly. Before placing them inside the game, I had a test scene in the shape of a big arena where I could place all the monsters to test them.

“While I was working on those monsters, many times [I was still working on them] even in my sleep. In my dreams I was making new settings in the monsters and then I was watching them in the test scene to see if they were behaving correctly.

“But one time, this dream got weirder, I found myself literally inside the test arena, just as if I was inside the game, only it all seemed very real! I was surrounded by all the monsters of the game, but they were all very nice to me, I was the mean one. I was like the mean coach of a sport team, always yelling at the monsters because they were not doing what I was asking them to do, ’You guys don’t get it, this is not the way you should react when you hear a noise, that doesn’t work,’ or things like that. And the monsters were very nice, doing their best to try to please me, but every time they were just doing the exact opposite of what I was asking them to do.

“I don’t remember how this dream ended, but I can tell you that after a dream like that, when you come back to work, it just feels like you never left work and that you never went to sleep…”


If working on video games has affected your dreams, please let us know. We’re ready for anything.