Title: Development Director
Organization: Worldwide Studios
Location: Los Angeles
Growing up, I enjoyed playing games, but only had access to what my mom can install and hack for me on her test computer at work. When my family immigrated to US, we got our own home computer and I spent a lot of time playing everything I can get my hands on. My mom was a programmer, so she taught me everything I needed to install and troubleshoot the games running on the older operating system, like finding the right codecs, drivers and troubleshooting issue in MS-DOS.
When I was in grade school I kept presenting video game development and VFX at all the “what do you want to be when you grow up” fairs at school. Finally, one of my classmates recommended I take Computer Science as an elective at neighboring school, where part of our assignments would be working on creating games. I ended up loving programming and majored in Computer Science in college. During college, I landed an internship at Microsoft that led to a 2nd internship at Microsoft Game Studios. After graduation, I joined that team full time and got to do what I dreamed of as a kid!!! Wooop!
Getting Your Start with DICE LA
After 4 years at Microsoft, I got an itch to travel and work abroad. EA was starting a new studio in Gothenburg, Sweden and announced plans to hire at GDC, I pressed a recruiter to forward my resume to the studio and 4 months later started at EA Gothenburg which is now Ghost Games. After almost 4 years at Ghost, and 8 years of car games, I wanted to work on a different genre. I met the DD team from DICE LA at a DD Summit in Stockholm, where they presented their culture and way of working. I loved their energy, what they stood for, and the games they were working on. Timing wise it worked out and I ended up transferring to a position at DICE LA with support of HR, recruiting, and my former and future managers.
Working at DICE LA
This year has been challenging and exciting, we were part of Battlefield 1 development, and working on our own project, so we were simultaneously in pre-prod and final-ing at the same time. Battlefield 1 was a HUGE achievement for EA, it is the 1st time our team tackled single player levels in addition to multiplayer features. The single player campaign got a lot of praise from fans and the press. Even though I was not around for all the development, I still feel a lot of pride on behalf of our studio.
Day to day, the challenges at DICE LA are different compared to my previous experience. Our production team is quite small so everyone has a lot of responsibility, which is challenging and empowering. There is a big focus on empowerment and ownership in teams and individuals, and every day we focus on helping everyone succeed and thrive in this culture.
DICE LA’s Impact
I have relocated to Los Angeles, and for the 1st time in my life I am living somewhere that is not rainy or snowy for a large part of the year, which is fantastic. I currently live in Silicon Beach and am surrounded by people trying to change the world one app/ tech innovation at a time. I feed off that energy every day on my walk to work. I spend a lot more time on introspective analysis, since I get a lot more freedom and responsibility on the production team, I am constantly aligning my actions, goals, values and studio priorities to try to be as effective as I can be as a team member.
Any Thoughts to Those Seeking a Career at EA?
I started at the studio with 3 interns, 2 of whom are now my coworkers. Going to careers fairs and connecting with EA about internships is a great possibility for those who are finishing up college and starting out. We have a broad range of experience and expertise on the team, from EA and DICE veterans, to top local talent from all over the world, and people starting out that got hired on their passion and knowledge of DICE games. I would say demonstrating passion, drive for quality, and connecting to our culture of self-empowerment and responsibility is a great way to pass the DD part of the interview!