Alumni on Fall’s Biggest Video Game Releases

2014 has already brought us memorable games like Titanfall and Destiny, and the year is set to wrap with an equally impressive mix of sequels and original titles across consoles and PC. Four of these upcoming games will feature the talent of Full Sail alumni, who helped with the audio, graphics, gameplay, and level design for some of the fall’s most talked about releases.

October 24 will deliver the visually impressive Sunset Overdrive, an Xbox One exclusive from developer Insomniac Games – creators of the Spyro the Dragon, Resistance, and Ratchet & Clank series. Game Development graduate Shaun McCabe has been at the studio for over a decade working on their popular franchises, and was production director on this new action game. 2006 Recording Arts grad David Yingling also contributed as audio designer, helping to create the robust soundtrack to match its presentation.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare drops on November 4, and is the latest in a series that Full Sail alumni have had a long history with, including franchise founding member Chance Glasco. This year’s iteration of the first person shooter was developed by Sledgehammer Games, where five grads were on its production – Ben Freed (Game Design, 2013; quality assurance tester), Stephen Jenkins (Computer Animation, 2008; senior lighting artist), Justin Miller (Computer Animation 2003; level designer), Jason Neifeld (Film, 2002; project manager – consumer technology), and Andre Tiran (Computer Animation, 2007; associate designer.

“The game was a blast to work on thanks to everyone on the team,” says Ben Freed. “I was able to learn a whole lot about the Call of Duty brand, and to see the inner workings in action and then be able to help the process was an excellent experience. This game allowed me to partake in endless hours of an interesting new gameplay style as I helped evolve it into what you’ll see.”

Another long-running series returns a week later, with Assassin’s Creed Unity releasing on November 11. This follow up to last year’s hit Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is set in Paris during the French Revolution and features a strong multiplayer component, with four players able to team up for the campaign. Two grads helped to develop the game’s sound effects and character animations, with Richie Nieto (Recording Arts, 2000) as team lead audio and Ryan Watson (Computer Animation, 2001) as team lead animation – cinematics.

The seventh main entry in the series since its 2007 debut, Ryan is excited to see how players enjoy the new mechanics that help evolve the classic Assassin’s Creed gameplay. “Unity is offering something to fans that we hadn’t done before, the four player co-op,” he says. “Running around Paris during the French Revolution with your friends, finding all the nooks and crannies of the vast city, figuring out the multiple ways to complete missions – I think that is something that people will really enjoy and sink their teeth into.”

Finally, the Far Cry series gets a new sequel for its tenth anniversary with Far Cry 4 coming on November 18. Its been two years since the last chapter of this open world shooter, and the fourth game drops players into a fictional Nepal to battle the elements and a fierce civil war. Game Development grads Derek Ehrman (senior game systems engineer) and Rob Newns (designer) helped develop how players will interact with this exotic world, while TJ Dumser (Recording Arts, 2006) contributed to the audio and music as sound designer/composer/mixer.

These releases look to deliver a strong ending to a big year for gaming, and are only a portion of the exciting lineup expected to hit stores through December 31. Titles like Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bayonetta 2Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, and Super Smash Bros for Wii U will also help give players plenty of options to keep busy with until 2015’s games start rolling out.

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