Developer Pop Quiz is a weekly interview series in which we ask developers from around the industry the same 10 questions and post their responses.
From selling games to making them, “Mafia 2” Senior Producer Denby Grace has come a long way in the games industry, and has finally landed in a place full of inspiration. Find out where that is, and why he thinks being an ass**** is a good thing in this week’s Developer Pop Quiz.
Name: Denby Grace
Title: Senior Producer
Company: 2K Games
Job Description: I am responsible for overseeing a game franchise at the publishing label, working with external developers and contractors to ensure we deliver our projects to spec. I dabble a little in quality review and also speaking to press and pimping the games but primarily my focus is production… jack of all trades master of nothing, except talking, is the way I like to see it (smile)
First title worked on: “Hidden and Dangerous” PC and “GTA” Game Boy Color
Most recent title worked on: “Mafia 2”
What game has most influenced you, and why?
Can I have two? Good… so “Flashback” on the Amiga… I loved that game… so much so that I played through a copy in French… and the greatest game of all time, “GoldenEye” N64… both gave me a great sense of escapism and I really connected with the world that they were in. I liked “GoldenEye” for the 4 player multiplayer… my buddy Mono to this day is still a massive cheating bastard for looking at your screen.
What are you playing right now?
“Alan Wake.” Really liking it… love the chapter based format…
What was your first break in the games industry?
I worked in a GAME store in the UK then out of nowhere Take 2, who at the time had just published “GTA,” opened a testing suite at a small game developer in my home town… 500 people applied for 10 jobs… I was very fortunate to get a position.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Recently actually from one of my bosses. “Keep being an ass****, you’re good at it.” He meant it in a nice way (I think). You have to be a little tough in my role, and sometimes break some hearts to make games.
Where do you look for inspiration?
At the people I work directly with. My peers are some of the most talented people I have ever met.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about game development?
If it’s easy, and you can phone it in, it’s probably not worth working on. The greatest stuff I have worked on has been super challenging requiring me to push myself to limits I didn’t know I had.
Who do you think will come out on top this console generation?
Nintendo DS. Was that a copout answer? (smile)
What do you think is the biggest problem current games suffer from?
It’s a very good question and maybe a little general for a concise answer. An obsession with gay space marines.
What is the most important thing that has happened to gaming in the last 10 years?
For me gaming in the last few years has changed from a bedroom geek hobby to being a high-def Dolby 5.1 surround sound living room movie experience… this for me is the most important thing in games. Oh and also “ICO” the video game… or this is the wrong section to mention that?
Where do you see gaming in 5 years?
Bigger, shinier… and hopefully more innovative with better and better writers and narrative in our medium.