Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice
Three Under 30

Max Steele | 29 Aug 2006 08:01
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Arundel is sanguine about his accomplishments at Introversion. "You don't need a huge amount of capital to start a game company. You just need a lot of time and a lot of inspiration. But you have to be able to live on the edge. There's no safe bets." Except, perhaps, a bet on Arundel.

The Revolutionary: Scott Foe
Ask Scott Foe what his favorite project is, and he'll tell you "whatever's next." Often outrageous, always funny, the 29-year-old producer has made a career of staying on the forefront of industry trends - sometimes too far ahead, but always looking to the future. He got his start at age 21 at Sega, which recruited the Japanese-fluent Foe straight out of Antioch College.

"When I came on to Sega, it was before the launch of the Dreamcast and the plan was to have this big consumer-facing gaming network. The vision was not unlike what Xbox Live eventually became," Foe explains. "But we were right out there on the precipice, looking forward."

Foe created the first game that used the Dreamcast Network SDKs, then went on to work as a senior-level production consultant on projects like Phantasy Star Online, Bomberman Online and NFL 2K1. "It was a tremendous amount of responsibility for a 22-year-old," he adds. When the Dreamcast era ended, he led the team that assembled the various network projects that had been created for the console into the unified Sega Network Application Package (SNAP). When Sega abandoned online, his SNAP technology was sold to Nokia, and Foe followed his creation to make it mobile.

"The idea that you could be walking down the street and whip out your phone and play a game with someone in Thailand - that was the Wild Wild West of the videogaming industry. I got to make that idea reality. I was the product manager on N-Gage Arena, the visionary for that project."

After laying out the design for N-Gage Arena, Foe had the opportunity to produce Sega's Pocket Kingdom: Own the World, a massively multiplayer mobile game that won the game of the year for the N-Gage platform and even a nod from notoriously un-N-Gaged Penny Arcade. "Pocket Kingdom was played after launch an average of 7.3 hours per month per user, making it possibly the most popular online mobile game in the world at that time," says Foe.

At just short of 30, Foe has already been a coder, designer and producer for two mega-brand companies. The polymathic Foe is also well-respected in the marketing community, speaking at conferences worldwide on viral tactics. "Salable product is a producer's primary responsibility. On-time, under-budget is the fallacy of production. You could go to the bathroom for less time and money than you ever thought possible, but all you've made is a piece of shit."

So, what's next? "I want to bring things into this world that cut the edge into little pieces that could cut further still. And it's not graphics. We've already reached a point of diminishing returns in graphics horsepower. Fun is no longer proportional to polygons. There was this great leap from 2-D to 3-D. And there was another great leap when we took it online; that was a new dimension. But it's not any more. Now what I see the next dimension as being is passive entertainment - games that are fun for other people to watch. One future of gaming will be entertainment that can be enjoyed by the non-player, creating as a byproduct of your own entertainment something for the masses to enjoy." He takes a breath. "That's how we'll escape Hollywood's shadow."

The Photorealist: Sam McGrath
Twenty-seven-year-old game engine prodigy Sam McGrath is entirely self-taught. "I've been programming ever since I can remember, since I was maybe 6 years old. It's something I've always had a passion for. I read a few books here and there, but the rest is trial and error."

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