On April 20, 2018, the first AAA video game I have ever worked on was released to the public. Though I was not working for Sony Santa Monica Studios anymore the sense of pride and excitement was still there. I wanted this game to succeed and receive a perfect score from the critics. I fell in love with the narrative, design, and story from day one. Luckily the critics didn’t let me down most gave it a perfect score and on Metacritic, it received a 97.
On the first day of my internship, my manager Todd sat with me and said, “What do you want to do with your career?” I replied, “I love designing games and telling stories.” Todd nodded, got up from his seat and said, “Come with me, we’re going to go to the narrative sprint meeting and add you to the daily meetings. I want you to get a better grasp of how things happen within the narrative department.” After that day I would attend the daily narrative sprint and hear what Matt Sophos and Richard Zangrande Gaubert were working on. Matt and Richard shared an office and if you ever wonder what a writer’s office was like imagine a room with thousands and thousands of index cards covered in storyboard drawings. They would be constantly moving cards around for pacing reasons or changes.
At Santa Monica Todd would often introduce me to other team members they would show me what they were working on. My daily job was a Game Designer – Audio Implementor, basically, I had the duties of adding audio to the game; which ranged from leaves blowing in the wind, to Kratos opening a chest, to enemies attacking, to birds chirping in the forest.
This was a challenge at first since I did not know anything about coding in LUA and the wiki was not updated, but I quickly got the hang of it and started creating custom scripts. This was where I developed the concept for “Uniqueness of Play” aka “UOP”. Cory Barlog liked the idea and asked me to work on it, so I did. It’s even used within the game. I’ll expand on “UOP” in another blog post.
My internship was coming to an end and Todd wanted me to create a puzzle in the game so I could show it off to the level designers. I created a puzzle where Kratos needed to save Atreus who had been trapped behind a gate by activating certain pressure switches spelling out a word in Norse. A few of the designers played it and liked the idea but felt it could not be used as it had too much of an Uncharted feel to it. It was a great experience and I got a lot of useful feedback.
The internship was over and it was off to my next adventure. Sony Santa Monica Studios was an amazing place to work and it will always have a place in my heart.