Get Ready for Black Friday: Fall’s Biggest Game Releases Feature Dozens of Full Sail Grads

Fall is the busiest time of year for new video game releases, with studios saving many of their most anticipated titles for the holiday shopping season. 2011 has certainly been no exception, with one of the most impressive lineups of blockbuster games in recent memory – many of which feature the work of Full Sail graduates.

Kicking off the wave of releases on October 4 was Rage, the latest first person shooter from id Software. The game has been hailed for its unique blend of gameplay styles, and was developed with the help of eight Full Sail grads, who recently spoke on campus about their work. During the event Grant Shonkweiler (technical producer) explained “To be a part of a project this massive and see people really enjoy it, and the critical reception, is really cool. I’m extremely proud of what the team did.”

Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 launched a month later on November 8, and set a one-day sales record of $400 million. Five grads worked on the smash hit, including Dustin Davis (senior character artist), who told us, “I have worked on some great projects over the years but nothing on the scale of this. To see fans lining up at midnight on opening night just to get their hands on our game is truly an amazing experience.”

Another first person hit followed on November 11, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the latest chapter in Bethesda Softworks’ long-running role-playing series. The game features a massive open environment for players to explore, which was created in part by 2003 Computer Animation grad Milton “Trey” Sharp as a world artist.

Two very different games hit stores on November 15, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Saint’s Row: The Third. Halo is a lovingly remastered version of the original 2001 Xbox game that launched Microsoft’s influential franchise, and was realized under the guidance of Computer Animation grad Nicholas Madonna as associate producer.

Saint’s Row: The Third received critical acclaim for its over-the-top sense of humor, which we learned more about when 12 grads from Volition Inc.  came back to campus during our 2011 Hall of Fame celebration to speak with students. Clay Matthews (animator) explained their design philosophy during production, saying “The question we ask is usually ‘why not’ instead of ‘why’ when it comes to our ideas.”

Considering that this is only a sampling of high profile games released as the year winds down – with other titles like Dark Souls, Batman: Arkham City, Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3, and Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword also in stores – it’s definitely a great time to be a gamer. Now we just have to find the time (and money) to play through the season’s biggest titles before the first wave of new games hits in 2012.