Senior Technical Animator
Core Memory: A memory that keeps coming back to me was raiding in Everquest, the collaboration, the competition between guilds, achieving something not many others could, discovering strategies for boss fights without the vast knowledge available online back then.
Sr. Principal Gameplay Engineer
Core Memory: One of my friends in high-school challenged me and another good friend of ours to an Unreal Tournament match, the two of us against him. The challenge was to see if we could kill him once in 15 minutes, just once. I thought he was out of his mind, I had played every single game you could think of and I was darn good at playing games! Sure, I had never played Unreal Tournament but how hard could it be to kill him just once? Turns out he was ranked 5th in Spain… we never managed to kill him once, in fact we ended up with a negative score because we accidentally killed ourselves multiple times in an attempt to catch him. I could not believe how someone could become so good at it, I had never seen anything like it. Years later and after many hours of practice, my competitive spirit led me to be ranked top 10!
Core Memory: Playing Diablo 1 as a 10-year old kid alone on my uncle’s PC. I encountered the Butcher who proceeded to yell “Ahhhhhhhh, fresh meat!” and frantically chased me around the dungeon for 10 minutes. I finally beat him by closing a gate behind me and firing countless arrows into him. Good times!
Core Memory: In first grade, one of my friends had the Dungeon! board game. We didn’t know how to play, so we made up the rules. I eventually moved away and, forgetting what the game was called, made my own elaborate version from cardboard and paper. Twenty years later, I got to work on the game’s reprint.
Associate Game Director
Core Memory: While playing Vanilla WoW as an introverted college student, I learned how to overcome my shyness and connect with others. Together, a bunch of internet friends took down difficult raid bosses and made precious memories, and I realized that games can make the world better. That epiphany kickstarted my career in game development and gave me a passion that I still pursue to this day.
Vice President, R&D Tech
Core Memory: During summer 1996 I was doing an internship in an R&D lab at the university with my buddy. We were analyzing the propagation of sound waves in different materials… But 80% of our time was actually spent improving our skills at Duke Nukem 3D. Yes research is fun!
Principal Technical Artist
Core Memory: Playing Star Wars Galaxies in HS, you were able to place PvP bases in the world that could be attacked and destroyed by other players a few times a week. As a huge PvPer in that game, I put an Imperial base as close to the biggest Rebel PvP city as the game would let me. This spawned gigantic, possibly 100 vs. 100 PvP battles every time it was vulnerable. I’ve never seen anything like it. There were jedi, bounty hunters, smuggers, every class possible. The most amazing part to me is I could write five stories about SWG of this nature. To this day, there’s still not a game that’s nailed so many different gameplay loops.
Core Memory: When I was 12, I attended a Magic: the Gathering event with a prebuilt deck. My first opponent noticed I was new and taught me how to actually play the game, then gave me some cards to improve my deck. I’ve wanted to be that warm welcome to the community for others ever since.
Senior Game Designer
Core Memory: I didn’t grow up owning video games and could only play them in short bursts at friends’ houses.
My understanding of games was limited to fun moment to moment gameplay like Mario and Crash Bandicoot. I still remember clearly the day I played at a friend’s house Final Fantasy IX for the first time. I felt transported to another world where gameplay, story and presentation threw me through a whirlwind of emotions. This made me understand that games can be a vector for strong personal emotions and I now work everyday in the hopes of providing that feeling to new players.
Chief Executive Officer
Core Memory: In 1997, heartbroken and weeping, I lay Aerith’s body to rest in the waters under the Forgotten City.
In 2020, two decades later, I met her once more, in an achingly beautiful church in the Slums of Sector 5. I wept again.
Character Art Director
Core Memory: I started playing MUDs, the original MMOs, back in college (Gemstone 3, Achaea, Astaria) with my friends. Later, it would be late-night Quake and Diablo with my co-workers at Square. But it wasn’t until Elder Scrolls Online that I realized the awesomeness of competitive co-op play when I joined a dedicated PVP/PVE guild that did trials, dungeons and alliance-based PVP!
Senior Systems Engineer
Core Memory: Surfing the web as a pre-teen, I stumbled across RPGToolkit, RPGMaker’s lesser-well known cousin, and realized I could make my own games for myself. The ‘aha’ moment when I grokked variables while scripting a treasure chest is a feeling that resonated so deeply I wound up accidentally making a career out of chasing it.
Senior Gameplay Engineer
Core Memory: Playing Star Wars Galaxies and seeing a rare and powerful Jedi show up in Mos Eisley for the first time. The Jedi was then hunted by everyone in the town trying to take him down. I’m still seeking that thrill of immersion and emergent storytelling to this day.
Senior Character Concept Artist
Core Memory: When I was a kid, my best friend and I would squeeze into a singular computer chair every sleepover to co-op and speedrun King’s Quest VII for the millionth time. Co-op wasn’t really a thing back then, but we would play games all day like that, taking turns each chapter until we knew every secret and easter egg – from games like Super Bubsy to Myst.
When we finally got consoles, the tradition continued. We’d pass the controller back and forth and take turns completing each level and cheering each other on. These were some of the best memories I had when I was younger. Spending time with my best friends enjoying stories through games that felt like only we could write. Experiencing worlds that felt so beautiful and impossible and thinking, games must truly be magic.
Core Memory: When the Quake multiplayer demo came out, everyone in my shared office played all afternoon. Despite not getting the sound working, and also dying a lot, I had never experienced anything like it. Later someone told me that I was an easy target, because I couldn’t hear people respawning in behind me! It didn’t matter; I was experiencing the future.
Director of Communications
I was about 5 years old, sitting on my dad’s lap as he played the original Sid Meier’s Civilization on our family PC. I wanted to give it a try, so he plopped me on the chair. That was the last moment he was ever better than me at Civilization. My family always showed our love through play, and I have my dad to thank for making me a gamer. He and I have played many video games together since then, but I’ll always remember two lessons I learned that day: 1) The Romans are S-tier; and 2) I can kick my dad’s ass at any 4X game, anytime.
Matthew “Coho” Gross
Director, Backend Engineering
Core Memory: Spending hours farming materials in Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite to forge the Wailing Cleaver. After many attempts to slay Green Plesioth and running out of time being too defensive with a ranged approach, I finally slew the fish with that rad sword.
Chief Marketing Officer/Director of IP Development
Core Memory: I’ve always loved simulation games where you can play out alternate histories, imagining what world might exist if things had unfolded differently, like when I gathered my Viking warriors, sailing to Rome, kidnapping the Pope, and sacrificing him to the All-Father in Crusader Kings 2. For Odin!
Senior Character Concept Artist
Core Memory: The time travel mechanic in “Majora’s Mask” (LoZ) was really hard to grasp for my younger self. So I triumphantly beat the game, Fierce Deity and all, with a little time traveling of my own – by turning off the game at age 10 then reawakening my N64 game file at age 22. I committed to your time puzzle, Nintendo; I AM your unconventional “Hero of Time!”
Senior Gameplay Engineer
Core Memory: At summer camp I would use an Action Replay to hack everyone’s favorite Pokemon into their save. While trading over a fresh Lugia, I was showing off and used a cheat to go behind the counter in the Pokemon center which had a different location header called the “Mystery Zone”. I started the trade process beside the nurse, which saved my game there. After the trade, I found myself stuck in the Mystery Zone! Without any means to flash more tricks into the cheat device, I had to abandon my hacked living dex but got to spend the summer replaying Pearl with the other campers.
Chief Operating Officer
Core Memory: AQ40 in vanilla World of Warcraft. I was in a friends & family guild that was progression-minded, but more there to have fun and hang out within our social circles. One of my friends, a guild officer, was on record that we would not beat it, so when we took down C’Thun for the first time it felt amazing.
Core Memory: I have a vivid memory of playing World of Warcraft and seeing the name of “Tonks” pop-up while summoning a Mage Table before the battle in Alterac Valley. “Tonks” is someone I met through a mutual friend a few months prior at BlizzCon and discovered we played on the same server but lost contact after BlizzCon. That small moment led to us reconnecting, adventuring together in & out of game, and eventually getting married. Let’s be honest – she had me at Mage Table!
Associate Director, Recruiting
Core Memory: I discovered my love of gaming when I was young, thanks to my dad and his work computer. As he interacted with customers, I sat in his office, engrossed in action/platform video games, immersing myself in different worlds. Whenever he had a break, he’d hurry in, and I’d enthusiastically tell him about my advancements and any new in-game discoveries. Playing alone was fun, but sharing the experience was magical. Now I love the opportunity to utilize video games as a means of connecting with those I care about.
Vice President of Design
Core Memory: Playing Zelda: A Link to the Past at 6 years old, I threw my Boomerang into the Wishing Waterfall and a Faerie came out with a shinier, golden one. She asked if that was my Boomerang. I was a child so I said yes, she caught me in the lie and I lost the opportunity to get it. Incredible to learn a real lesson about integrity from a video game so early on!
Senior Environment Artist
Core Memory: Playing Vanilla WoW on launch day with all my friends in highschool. They all brought their PCs over and we all stayed up all night playing it in my parents’ basement. We grabbed late night burgers when the servers were down for maintenance, and I made it to Westfall before I had to go to sleep, it was amazing.
Staff Machine Learning Research Engineer
Core Memory: During the pandemic and the curfews, a group of friends and I started playing Phasmophobia together every evening. It was a great opportunity to socialize, have a drink and, above all, be scared together in the game! It’s still a great memory and made me an avid multiplayer games player. Before that, I was very much a solo player!
VP, Game Engineering
Core Memory: I was the only kid in my neighborhood with a PC and a huge Civ/XCom fan. In the morning waiting for the bus, I’d tell stories to my friends of last night’s brave agents’ fights or national conquests, letting my imagination fill in the motivations and seeing the power games had to let us tell our own adventures.
Senior Staff Game Designer
Core Memory: In the world of Everquest, on our Xegony server, I led a rag-tag team of players. We united for the Test of Tactics, a competitive 6v6 PvP event. Despite our varied backgrounds and limited gear, we were committed and trained tirelessly for the competition.
Our final match in the server’s tournament was against the uber guild of our server, boasting best in slot gear across the board. Against the odds, our teamwork and strategy saw us triumph, allowing us to represent Xegony against other server winners.
Our first inter-server match was against the renowned guild, Fires of Heaven. The victory we earned over them, against expectations, was one of our proudest moments. Although we didn’t win the overall championship, our achievements were remarkable, especially given our initial circumstances.
The memory of defeating two prestigious guilds with our modest resources has remained one of my fondest and proudest gaming experiences.
Principal R&D Engineer
Core Memory: The first multiplayer game I played was in a dream in 1982. I had spent hours playing Battle Zone at an arcade in Santa Cruz. That night I dreamed all the arcade machines were magically connected in a giant space battle. I woke up ablaze, knowing this dream would come true. It did.
Sr. Animation Director
Core Memory: One of my most memorable gaming experiences is from my favorite game of all time – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The ending of this epic adventure was a true celebration of your accomplishments and it was clearly executed with love and consideration.
SPOILER ALERT: Whilst the credits rolled, the camera journeys across many of the locations your adventures took you, culminating with a bonfire party on Hyrule plains and Link returning the Master Sword (a super powerful moment). All accompanied by the magnificent orchestral score that continues to pull at my heart strings, to this day.
Then just when you think you’ve witnessed the most awesome ending to any video-game, ever… you witness Link meeting Princess Zelda again, as a boy. The moment is then paused whilst the image transitions to sepia. GOLD DUST!
Senior Concept Artist
Core Memory: When I was six, I borrowed a friend’s copy of Donkey Kong ’94 (GB) for the weekend because he had already beat the only four levels. By accident I discovered that if you remove all the boxes in level 0-4, you unlock the rest of the whopping 97 levels! As you can imagine, he was shocked and immediately wanted his cartridge back. This small discovery opened my eyes to the hidden secrets and ability to playfully discover new worlds in video games. Also shout out to my parents who scoured Los Angeles for a copy of my own.
Director, IT and Security
Core Memory: I love stories. Growing up, I was always drawn to books and the fantastical worlds they created. It wasn’t until I discovered Dungeons and Dragons that I truly realized the power of interactive storytelling. As a Moon Elf ranger, I fought alongside my friends against a half-dragon that threatened to destroy a small village. As I lay on the ground, singed and bleeding, I started plotting my revenge. I barely escaped, but the thrill of having direct control over the story and to shape the world I was exploring was unparalleled. It was then that I knew I was hooked on games, and the incredible stories and friendships they could help me create.
Staff DevOps Engineer
Core Memory: I’ve spent my lifetime learning how to play games. Early on I spent my time putting quarters into game machines. I learned to stretch those quarters into hours. Later I started renting games and playing at home. The challenge became fighting sleep and distraction, to get as much playtime in before the rental was due back. When my daughter came along, I was taught how to play fast and save often. As she grew older and started gaming I learned to enjoy games I would’ve never picked up otherwise. 10/10, I hope they always keep teaching me.
Chief Technical Officer
Core Memory: At a very young age I taught myself binary and hexadecimal so I could crack open games and figure out how they worked… and to hand edit my RPG characters. When I figured out endianness sitting in a room all by myself, I thought I had decoded some deep mystery of the universe. Of course I didn’t know until many years later that’s what it was called. I was equally excited when my characters emerged invincible with maximum XP (after about 100 tries).
Core Memory: Playing Minecraft with my son when he was just a little kid. He’d sit on my lap and could only use the arrow keys to move or press the spacebar to jump, not both. As we played, we’d talk about what we saw in the world and wanted to build. The world held so much joy and potential for him. His perspective is always with me now.
Senior Gameplay Engineer
Core Memory: My dad bought me my first PC in 1997. I initially played a bunch of DOS games that were on a couple of game collection CDs it came with. After getting bored with them, I begged my dad to get us on the internet which he agreed to eventually. We got connected on the blazing fast 28.8 Kbps modem which the computer came with. Soon after I downloaded Quake shareware and my core memory is the first time I played with other people online. I had played lots of couch co-op before this, but this was very different and immediately something I recognized as incredible and special. I remember being amazed as I saw other people play in ways I had never thought of like rocket jumping to get to unreachable areas and I also remember following someone as I tried to kill them and they went into a hidden area in the map by getting a biosuit, jumping into toxic sludge below and swimming through it constantly grunting in pain from the sludge damage as they swam to a secret room with health and gold armor. I died following them but now knew to try that myself once the biosuit respawned.
Director of Operations
Core Memory: Stumbling upon a random, precious corner of the internet called Kingdom of Loathing, and timing all of my Adventures correctly with the day turnover so I could spend as much time as a Pastamancer as possible in one sitting.
Core Memory: Getting carried all the way to the championship in Riot Rumble, the internal company tournament, on three separate occasions. Morgana mid for life.
Staff Dev Workflow Engineer
Core Memory: Mario Party 6 on the GameCube had this wild microphone attachment, and there was a minigame where someone would call out fruit names using the mic. I remember staying at a friend’s house overnight and playing until 2am, but we were trying to not wake anyone up so we had to whisper – “orange… orange… banana… apple”. It was so ridiculous.
Associate Gameplay Engineer
Core Memory: My initial character on my father’s World of Warcraft account was a blood elf mage (we exclusively played as Horde). I’d explore the world, defeating enemies to claim their huts and visiting places beyond my level just because they were new to me. I engaged in solo roleplay since I wasn’t allowed to use chat, but I never grew tired of simply existing in the game.
Environment Art Director
Core Memory: L.A.N. PARTIES in the dial up era — My friends and I would take turns hosting in high school. Imagine 10-15 TOTALLY COOL KIDS dragging their gaming rigs, all the cables, LIGHT WEIGHT(~20lbs) top of the line CRT monitors across the neighborhood to hook them up and blast each other for a solid, caffeine fueled, 48 hours of gaming over weekends! Naps in 9am physics class on Monday morning allowed.
Chief Product Officer
Core Memory: Back in 1995 I was working for GT Interactive Software out of New Jersey in their technical support group. There was this group that would run LAN parties all through the North East. I remember going to “The Fray”. It was amazing! 250 people all at this hotel. The organizers had to set up multiple diesel generators in the parking lot to support all the PCs. There were some press celebrities like Loonyboi and Blue from BluesNews. We all played Quake for three days. I’d never felt so connected to a group of people before. I still love going to LAN parties today. Happy to get duct taped to the ceiling if there’s not enough floor space!
Andres Ramirez Jr.
IT Solutions Engineer
Core Memory: I remember first discovering Dragon Ball Z: Budokai and the endless joysticks that were broken trying to beat Raditz (IYKYK). More importantly it was one of the first fighting games that I was able to play with friends. We spent the better part of a year battling each other and I learned that a community can take a game to a whole new level.
Senior Game Designer
Core Memory: Growing up, I fell in love with Pokémon and the joy of collecting virtual creatures and exploring a world. I began posting and sharing online, and found other fans. Realizing the power of games to connect me to people made me even more passionate and excited about playing them!
Chief Creative Officer
Core Memory: When I worked at Disney, my team was located in the animation building in Florida. A group of us would stay after normal working hours, order pizza, and play Quake 3 Arena on the connected office machines until the early morning hours. It was ridiculously loud, and even though we were in individual offices, we all screamed up and down the hallway every time someone made a great play. Every once in a while, the security guard would peek his head around the corner but not say anything. We later found out he thought we were just really getting into our work and didn’t want to bother us.