Dan Pearce is a BAFTA YGD winner, Breakthrough Brit and now a Games Awards nominee. In this interview he talks about his career so far and his BAFTA journey.
How did you feel when you got the nomination?
Surprised and confused. I found out when I’d been woken up early by a phone call from my bank. I was trying to juggle talking to them with figuring out where all the congratulatory messages on my Twitter were coming from. When I found out who the other nominees were, I pretty much lost it. I’ve met a few of the developers before, and Gone Home (also a Debut Game nominee) is literally my favourite game of all time. Being alongside it is incredibly encouraging.
What would it mean to you to win a BAFTA?
It would be huge for us as a studio, and I know Jack (the other half of The Tall Trees) and I would be over the moon if we did win. That said, I’d be kind of upset if Gone Home didn’t get it.
For those who haven't played the game, talk us through the concept of Castles in the Sky.
Castles in the Sky is a bedtime story in game form. You control a small child going on an adventure in the sky, jumping from cloud to cloud, while a kind of lullaby is read to you. It’s a very passive little thing.
Is there a particular element of the game you are most proud of?
I’m personally very proud of this one moment in the middle of the game involving a hot air balloon. I love working with Jack, because it’s very natural and iterative and close. The way we work allows us to really bring different parts of the game together, the sound, the gameplay, the music. To me, that moment is the point in the game where the way we work probably pays off the most for the player.
How much time do you spend playing games for leisure and what sort of games do you enjoy?
Not as much as I’d like, but I do get to binge from time to time. Recently I’ve been playing a lot of Minecraft. I’m in the process of bug fixing another game that I’ve been developing, and I’ve been using Minecraft as a creative outlet. I’ve also, bizarrely, been playing a lot of Remember Me recently, which is also nominated. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting a word with the development team and asking some questions.
Is there any one game developer you admire / look up to?
Oh yeah, a whole bunch. More than I can count. Jenova Chen, Mike Bithell, Steve Gaynor (again, super weird to be nominated alongside Gone Home), and many others. There are so many brilliant people in the games industry, it’s kind of intimidating.
What advice would you give to aspiring game developers?
Talk to people. Find developers, ask questions, see what they do, and make sure you’re doing so with a wide range of people. You’re going to learn so much more from seeing how other people treat their work than a lot of game development courses can teach you.
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