Friday, February 3, 2017

GJG Blog Interview #9: Mat Kraemer

(Pictured Left) Mat Kraemer of Sanzaru Games
The Gaming Journalist Gazette would like to present to its readers a special interview with one game dev whom I personally find to be an inspiration of mine when it comes to getting involved in game development. Mat Kraemer has seen a lot in his time as a game dev, and currently working as the Creative Director at Sanzaru Games, he is looking to make more fun games for gamers to play in the future. In fact, Sanzaru is said to be experimenting with VR (Virtual Reality) gaming technology, so keep watching those developments!

Mat was on my list of game devs I really wanted to interview, and I'm so happy to receive these answers! Now with further ado, here is my interview with Mat!

Steven Vitte: 
1) You have been in the Gaming Industry for a while. In your time how much have you learned about game development? How much have you had to change game development ideas and strategies?   

Mat Kraemer: Lots have changed over the years, but the core foundation for making games is the same.  Now we just have better tools, better pipe lines and overall faster technology.  Concepts and design principles used on Turok for N64 are still true today on the more complicated contemporary game designs. 
2) What was the moment (or who were the people) that encouraged you to enter the Gaming Industry as a developer?   

Mat: This was a true passion for me and I have always wanted to make games.  My mentor and friend Jools Watsham was a great influence and help get me into the business of making games and become the designer I am today.  It’s not an easy road, but sticking with it and being positive helps.    

3) How do you feel about employment opportunities in the Gaming Industry? How do you feel about job application processes, first-time workers and autistic workers in the industry?    
Mat: I think there are many opportunities for first time employment.  We hire many new out of school students that have a good portfolio and drive to make games.  I think there is room for all types of game industry contributions from autism to all spectrums of game developers. Again anyone can have success with the will and passion to make creative games.   

4) You are the Creative Director at Sanzaru Games. When discussing how to develop a game in meetings, what usually happens at Sanzaru? 

Mat: This really depends on the content at hand.  But for the most part we start out with a simple concept and build it up, change and modify it until it’s in the final state.  Also lots and lots of iteration!  We have had full playable items and tore them down to make it better.    

5) You have been involved with the Sly Cooper series and you have seen how Sly has progressed through 4 games. What has been the most rewarding part of Sly Cooper's success, in your opinion?   

Mat: I have only been part of Sly Cooper collection, Sly Cooper Thieves in Time and Bentley’s hack pack.  I love Sly Cooper!  It’s this passion that brought the team together to pitch continuing the story of Sly Cooper.  The most rewarding for thing to see is player’s happy faces enjoying the story and the world that we built.  Even now years later people still come up to us with fond memories of the game.  That makes me and our team happy.  

6) What are your thoughts on the upcoming animated Sly Cooper movie?  
Mat: Looks great and I hope it finally comes out!  More Sly Cooper the better! 

7) This could be an interesting question, but I have to ask this; Would you like to see more installments to the Sly Cooper game series? Do you think we will see more of Sly?   

Mat: I would LOVE to see more Sly Cooper!  Better yet, I would love that Sanzaru works on MORE Sly Cooper.  I feel the story is not over yet and we have more to tell so we will see what the future holds.  We can’t leave him in Egypt can we? 

8) Sanzaru also made Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice for the Nintendo 3DS. How was that game dev experience? Would you like to make more Sonic games in the future?  

Mat: I really enjoyed making the Sonic games.  They are fun to work on and it was a pleasure to work with SEGA Japan.  For me this was an honor and I enjoyed every min of working with these iconic characters.    

9) How do you feel about video game characters with certain interesting traits? (Examples: characters on the Autism Spectrum, characters with health issues, amnesia, etc.)   

Mat: I always like characters with interesting traits.  It makes for interesting story telling and cool ways to come up with fun colorful scenarios. 
10) Finally, what advice would you give aspiring game devs (writers, programmers, voice actors, etc.) wanting to make a splash in the Gaming Industry?   

Mat: Stay at It and don’t give up!  Be positive.  Persistence pays off and we all want the same thing to make great games, just stick with it.   

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