Today’s Non Breaking Space Show guest is Sean Vanaman. Sean is a video game designer, writer, and podcast host. He was the co-project leader and lead writer of The Walking Dead,and Puzzle Agent 2. He also wrote the third episode of Tales of Monkey Island, and was the designer of Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures, and the writer of the third episode, Muzzled. He is one of the regular hosts of the Idle Thumbs podcast.
Sean co-founded the new video game company, Campos Santo, and their first game, Firewatch, is an emotional first person adventure game that centers around the character, Henry, a man whose love life is in free fall. He takes a job as fire lookout in the Shoshone National Forest as a way to isolate himself and numb him from his problems. His only contact with the outside world is through a walkie talkie to his supervisor, Deliah, another lookout on a tower many, many miles away. Within the lush, stytlized, and expansive forest they unravel mysteries that could endanger their very lives.
Topics discussed with Sean Vanaman:
- 3:50 → How should the game be labeled and promoted to potential customers?
- 5:00 → We decided to market the game like a movie, to promote the story and the world
- 5:40 → The benefits of being a genre-less game?
- 9:00 → What is it like as a creator to sit down with people who are playing your game?
- 10:20 → Working as a team lessens self-consciousness regarding project.
- 11:40 → What was launch week like?
- 14:00 → How was the game’s setting was influenced by the Shoshone National Forest?
- 17:01 → Feeling of loneliness and isolation in Firewatch.
- 21:05 → Visiting real lookout towers.
- 22:30 → Visiting locations in England vs. the U.S.
- 23:10 → About Olly Moss’ artwork and posters
- 26:30 → About the game development process
- 29:20 → What comes next after Firewatch?
- 30:15 → Building a video game development company.
- 32:00 → Casting voices for the video game character
- 34:00 → Casting the wrong person for episode 1 of The Walking Dead
- 37:35 → The man voice actor auditions
- 43:30 → What did you wish you knew before leaving another company to work for an game-making independent studio?
- 51:00 → About that “all text” game intro
- 53:30 → Why some of the marketing is different from what is seen in the game.
- 56:45 → The possibility of making more games similar to Firewatch,
- 1:02:01 → About the podcast and podcasting network, Idle Thumbs: How does it fit into the schedule? How does it keep the creative fires going?
- 1:05:02 → What are you excited about now?
Nothing Compares 2 U and that’s why the Non Breaking Space Show is still free of charge along with show notes and resources: Non Breaking Space Show № 76: Sean Vanaman — Making of Firewatch